“I don’t remember going to sleep. All I remember is waking up here – a place as familiar as my own face.
At least, it should be.
But there’s a problem. The once-green carpet is gray. The classical-music posters lining the walls are bleached, their brittle corners curling where the tacks are missing. My first-place ribbons are pale blue instead of royal. My sundresses are drained of colour. And my bed. I sit on the edge of a bare, sun-bleached mattress, a mattress covered with dirt and twigs and mouse droppings.”
When Fiona wakes up in her bedroom she doesn’t understand the changes within her personal space, she doesn’t understand the tattoo on the back of her hand on upon wandering into the bathroom she doesn’t understand why her older sisters face is looking back at her in the mirror.
She was once the future, one of the first children to take in the anti-virus. But that time has long since passed and not Fiona’s life means nothing. The tattoo was once the sign for a cure for a different virus, but it created another and has branded her a violent beast. Yet Fiona is anything but violent, she is completely normal, and now she has to fight for survival on the wrong side of the wall.
I am intrigued by the idea of the bee population dying out, I know its a very real possibility that can see our survival come into question and so when I heard about Stung I was very much intrigued by the idea of a book set after this had happened. I was very much looking forward to the book and now that I’ve read it I have to say my intrigue about bees hasn’t gone but this book didn’t hit on a lot of the stuff I was hoping for.
The story was good and I liked the build up of the world but it did fall a little flat for me. You don’t find out much about why Fiona’s world is the way it is until quite far into the book and I found it slow going. There was a lot more about Fiona herself and the romance element of the book than I had hoped and there was a fair bit of gender stereotyping going on which bugged me a little. I liked the world building that was there and I think that its possible that the focus went too much on the characters and this is why it didn’t hit all the right spots.
The characters were a bit meh. The romance felt rushed and a bit soppy and kinda pathetic at times. I liked Bowden enough but Fiona felt a little bit of a let down, she was pretty tragic where I was hoping for a bit more badass about her and she needed saving a lot. The only other characters that really stood out for me other than these two were Arrin, who turned out to be a completely different let down which I can’t go into for spoiler-y reasons, and Jonah who I was really intrigued by but who wasn’t in the book or explained fully enough for me.
The idea of the virus and the cure breeding beasts was fascinating and I really enjoyed it, the whole reveal about what happened to Fiona, and thus the brief explanation of what happened to the world, was a little rushed but I really like the idea of it. The politics involved both before the events of the book and those within the book, were what kept me reading because I needed to know the full extent of the different people.
The book is the first in a series, I am not sure how many there’ll be and I really hope the second one will be better. The blurb for the second one explains it is following Jacqui, one of Fiona’s friends from before the virus who we see very briefly early on in Stung. The meeting didn’t make much sense to me so I am hoping that is explained more in the second book and as I think its possible my main problems were Fiona in this book I think I probably will give it a try.
Stung was published on July 4th by Bloomsbury Children’s Books. My copy was sent to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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