Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Review: Virals

Virals by Kathy Reichs
3.5 stars

Reason for reading: Okra Picks Challenge

Description: "Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage "sci-philes" who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever. As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot--if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer's scent. Fortunately, they are now more than friends--they're a pack. They are Virals."

First line: "A gunshot is the loudest sound in the universe."

My thoughts: I'm so behind, I actually read this last month! I've never read Kathy Reichs before, but have seen Bones, so I was glad to get the chance to read one of her books, even if it wasn't about Temperance. How Temperance and Tory were related was a bit confusing, Tory is something like her great-niece and Tory had only met her once or twice, though several characters point out how alike they are. Perhaps Tempe will show up in later books.

The story reminded me a fair bit of James Patterson's Maximum Ride books, with kids being turned into animal mutations by evil people. I liked the South Carolina setting - it was cool that it was set not only in Charleston but also on the outer-lying islands. The descriptions of the city and its landmarks as well as the islands and their beaches, make it obvious why it was chosen as an Okra Pick. The book didn't totally blow me away, but I'd recommend it to younger teen readers looking for adventure. It was an action-packed story and Tory is a feisty, super-intelligent (maybe a bit too crazy-smart, really, although I suppose that's another way she's like her great-aunt), dog-loving heroine.