Infected by Tara Ellis
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publishing Info: Self-published May 2016 (first published 2013)
Star Rating: 3/5
Back Cover Summary:
An alien plague. A sixteen-year-old girl. A fight to save the world.
When a rare meteor shower unleashes a mind-altering infection, the people Alex loves begin to change. They’re smarter, faster, emotionless, and they have a plan. One that doesn’t include her.
Guided by cryptic clues left behind by her deceased father, Alex follows a trail of increasingly shocking discoveries. Earth’s history isn’t what she learned in school, and a new hive mind threatens to rewrite the future.
Alex is a fighter, but pursued by both friends and an unknown enemy, it will take everything she has to fulfill her destiny. Desperate to save her little brother, she flees to the mountains surrounding her home, where the only chance for humanity has lain hidden for thousands of years
Infected, The Shiners is book one in the Forgotten Origins Trilogy.
I read this as part of a book club. Although I wasn’t sure about it at the beginning, it got much better as it went on. The start has far too much info dumping about Alex’s past which took me out of the present story and made me lose interest. I got pretty bored of all the recap about her life. If it hadn’t been for the book club, that really would have put me off and I might not have carried on reading. Fortunately, I did carry on and things picked up. The first half was quite slow but I was intrigued, especially when it started getting creepy. The latter half of the book is much faster and I finished it quite quickly once I got to that point as the pace was full on. Although I like that it got really intense and fast paced, I think the first half could have been paced better so there wasn’t such a dramatic shift.
There’s not much I can say about the plot without giving away spoilers! It reminded me of a strange mix of The Host, National Treasure and Indiana Jones. I liked the mystery and adventure element – I do love a good hidden clue. There isn’t really an explanation for the infection and how or why it came to Earth in a meteor shower, but I’m guessing that’s something that will be dealt with more in the next books in the series. The middle section was particularly creepy once people started changing as a result of the infection, and the author did this suspenseful aspect really well.
I liked Alex’s character and the relationship with her brother was shown really well. Their faithful dog companion was also adorable. I thought Chris’s character was great, and I liked that the author didn’t ignore religion. Most YA literature I’ve read, especially science fiction, just seems to ignore religion, but Chris is religious. It just made a nice change for it to be featured in a story, not for any particular plot reason, but just as part of the characterisation.
The first few chapters were more like a 2 star, but it picked up, especially in the second half (which I would have given a 4 star), and I found myself really gripped. The quality of the writing also improved. Overall I enjoyed it but the pacing of the book and the opening few chapters were weak in comparison to other aspects of the book.