Friday, August 31, 2012

Review: The Eleventh Plague

The Eleventh Plague
By Jeff Hirsch, read by Dan Bittner
Published 2011 by Scholastic Audio

Stephen and his family have become salvagers, roaming the devastated American landscape and trying to survive. But after his grandfather dies and his father has an accident, Stephen finds himself in Settler's Landing, a place that seems too good to be true. And when he meets the mysterious Jenny, he might just be proven right.

I had heard good things about this book and it sounded like something I would enjoy so when the audiobook was available as a free download, I happily downloaded it. I am not entirely sure how I feel about this book. I think ultimately I come down right in the middle. There are some really great things about this book. It manages to be post-apocalyptic without being based on too unbelievable a premise - the world is basically destroyed by chemical warfare. This is something that could actually happen, making the book all the more unsettling and raising some excellent questions for discussion. Additionally, this book doesn't have tons of bad language, violence, or sex, making it a good read for kids who want to join in the post-apocalyptic trend but find some of the other entries too harsh and graphic for their tastes or, alternately, for kids who want to read The Hunger Games but their parents don't want them to. However, this book was not as exciting or action-packed as others in the genre. This is much more about Stephen and the people he meets at Settler's Landing and his quest to figure out what the future will hold. This isn't a bad thing - a good character-driven novel is still a good novel. But for me, it just moved a little too slowly and lacked a little too much action. I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did but I can definitely see its appeal to tweens and teens.

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