Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Inhuman by Kat Falls (Fetch #1)

2013, Scholastic

The United States is divided...not by politics or beliefs, but by those infected and those that test clean...

Lane lives on the western side of the Wall, where she and her friends wonder about the other side, known as the Feral Zone.  There is all kinds of speculation about it and more rumors than truth.  It's also not only hers, but everyone's, greatest fear to become infected. 

The Ferae Naturae virus starts slowly, with fever and the body going hot.  The second phase is the slow evolution of into a feral, a creature that is both human and animal.  This phase could last quite awhile but the third phase, and the most deadliest, can happen at any time.  It's when the animal side overtakes the human side and the infected  becomes a monster where there is no cure, only banishment into the Feral Zone...

Lane knows that to become infected, the body has to be exposed to blood or saliva for the virus to start attacking, but rarely does this happen inside the Wall.  She feels safe...until the the biohaz agents come knocking on the door and she is taken to the lab...

And it's there that Lane realizes that politics do play into both worlds. Director Spurling tells Lane the truth about her father and forces Lane to get what she wants outside of the Wall or her father faces death.  The only option Lane has is to venture into the dangerous Feral Zone and become a fetch...bringing back precious artifacts left behind by people during the mass exodus to the West. 

Lane realizes her father has been preparing her for this, but in the Feral Zone, nothing is off limits and humans become prey.  Can she trust the military and their politics or the scraps of humanity left in the Zone and their lack of trust in anyone that comes from behind the Wall?  Most importantly, will Lane survive, knowing there is a killer out there, preying on humans?

Kat Falls introduces YA readers into a different world in dystopian literature; one that revolves around man vs. nature, not just survival of the fittest.  There are no tests to take, just fighting the danger that is lurking in the undergrowth.  Fall's characters come alive, especially those minor characters that are in Phase Two of the virus, through her physical description coupled by the human personality that still exists.  Lane may start out weak, but she becomes a strong character through experiences, which are balanced instead of forced.  Falls also weaves two male characters into the novel that are polar opposites but ones that again reinforce the main character's (Lane's) strengths and imperfections when it comes to survival.  Chicago seems to have become the main setting of many dystopian novels, but this one has teeth of the vibrant and brutish world it has become through the descriptive writing Falls uses throughout her book.  Readers will watch and wait for the second book to be published.  Recommended for JH/HS. 

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