My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication Date: August 30th, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 9+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Mystery, Friendship
As a lethal plague sweeps through the land, Ani Mells is shocked when she is unexpectedly captured by the governor’s wardens and forced to submit to a test for the deadly Scourge. She is even more surprised when the test results come back positive, and she is sent to Attic Island, a former prison turned refuge — and quarantine colony — for the ill. The Scourge’s victims, Ani now among them, can only expect to live out short, painful lives there. However, Ani quickly discovers that she doesn’t know the whole truth about the Scourge or the Colony. She’s been caught in a devious plot, and, with the help of her best friend, Weevil, Ani means to uncover just what is actually going on.
But will she and Weevil survive long enough to do so?
Forgive me for delaying this review, but I’m just so darn befuddled right about now. How on earth is this a standalone fantasy novel? From the very beginning, I, as a reader, received signals that the ending was nowhere near (as in two books away). It is so, so rushed.
Well now. Let’s forget about this. I think I’m out of my stupor. (But really, what the hell?)
The Scourge is pretty entertaining. That has to do a lot with its set of characters, whom are nothing short of a courageous law-breaking group. The main character herself is fearless, snarky and hella fun to see fall down traps.
The story is very simple (to my regret). It goes like this: there is a deadly plague in the land and everyone who tests positive for it is forcefully sent to the Colony to die. Ani Mells wasn’t supposed to test positive for it… But she does. However, as she arrives to the Colony, Ani smells something fishy going on and makes it her quest to discover the truth about the Scourge.
What I liked best was the theme of friendship. It’s thoroughly explored through dangerous, precarious situations. This is a theme I always welcome in my reads, especially the middle grade ones. It’s a form of love that binds characters in a lovely way.
But oh, the world-building. What world-building, may I ask? I don’t think The Scourge knows this word. So yes, there are two countries with two different names, and different names for populations living in different places and a few herbs here and there and undeveloped politic conflicts. In short, it’s pretty bleak in that department.
I had fun with this book nonetheless. It could have been better, that’s for sure, but Jennifer A. Nielsen’s writing is gripping and I had a good time with Ani.
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