author’s website: author site / Virals website
release date: November 2, 2010
appeals to: YA
length: 464 pages
overall rating: 5 stars
*synopsis* (from Virals website)
Adventure has always been in fourteen-year-old Tory Brennan’s blood. After all, she is the niece of world-famous forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. So when she moves to middle of nowhere Morris Island, South Carolina, to live with a marine biologist dad she’s never known, Tory does the best she can to adjust to her new life.
There she meets a group of local kids who are just as “Sci-Phile” as she is—science geeks who’ve grown up exploring the backwoods marsh-lands of nearby Loggerhead Island. But there’s something strange going on at the Loggerhead Research Institute… maybe even something deadly. After rescuing a stray wolfdog pup from a top-secret lab, Tory and her friends are exposed to a rare strain of canine parvovirus, changing them—and their DNA—forever.
Now, with newly heightened senses and canine-quick reflexes, they’ll have to solve a cold-case murder that’s suddenly become very hot … that is, if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer’s scent.
Fortunately, they are now more than friends.
They are a pack.
They are VIRALS.
I initially picked up Virals because I saw that it was written by Kathy Reichs. As an absolute addict to the show Bones (which is based on the life and books of Kathy Reichs), I thought that I’d like to try one of her books. Then, I read the inside flap and realized that it has a paranormal ingredient, and I was even more excited!
The first line of Virals is fabulous. It draws you in, and creates a great hook to keep you interested. From there, the story is filled with suspense, friendship, mystery-solving, crime fighting teenagers, and the science fiction/paranormal aspect that will intrigue fans of those genres. The plot if this story is pretty complex, but it never felt heavy. The action moves quickly and the actual writing is very easy to read. In fact, it’s difficult to put down.
The main character in this book - Tory - is only 14 years old, but she is definitely wise beyond her years. She (and her three cohorts in crime) are so much more mature than most fourteen year olds that I have met (no offense) that is was often easy to forget that they were so young. In addition to the increased maturity, the characters were incredibly intelligent. All four of the teens are the children of professors working at the Loggerhead Research Institute, which may account for the increased interest in science and learning. Even with the extreme intelligence, the characters were all pretty down to earth, and seemed easy to relate to.
While I really enjoyed this book, there is a lot of language used. Since the main character is fourteen, that may be offensive to some younger readers (or their parents). However, I thought it was a pretty realistic portrayal of teenagers. Even though there is a lot of language, it always felt realistic rather than excessive.
*short and snappy*
writing: Quick and easy to read, but it still provides a lot of detail!
plot: Fast moving, but with a lot of twists and turns that keep it quite suspenseful
characters: The four main characters are all well developed and easy to relate to, but it is the amount of detail given to the minor characters that adds to the story
memorable line: A gunshot is the loudest sound in the universe. Especially if the bullet is coming at you. (p. 1)
judging by the cover: a great cover with details that I didn’t understand until I read the book
miscellaneous: An excerpt of the prologue to Virals is available here (and it includes that memorable line).