Review: Orleans by Sherri L. Smith

March 13, 2013 Review 3 ★★★

Review: Orleans by Sherri L. SmithOrleans  by Sherri L. Smith
Series: Orleans #1
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult
Published by Putnam Juvenile on 3/7/2013
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: NetGalley
Cover Artist: Michael Heath
Reviewed by: Chris
3 Stars
First came the storms.
Then came the Fever.
And the Wall.

After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct…but in reality, a new primitive society has been born.

Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader’s newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans. In the end, they are each other’s last hope for survival.

Sherri L. Smith delivers an expertly crafted story about a fierce heroine whose powerful voice and firm determination will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.

ORLEANS took me far longer to finish than I thought it would. A lot longer. The reason why probably makes me sound like a horrible person (I'm not. I swear!), but it really, really made the book a struggle for me to get through. Before I get to that though let's talk about the good stuff.

I love me some post-apocalyptic fiction and ORLEANS didn't disappoint on that front. The world-building is great and the setting feels like something that could actually happen. Smith's attention to the little details when describing the situations and places the characters find themselves in does a great job of making you feel like you're there.

Or at least it should have, cause I'm sad to say the characterization was a bit lacking. The main character - Fen - came across as emotionless for a good part of the book. It also didn't help (and this is what I was referring to at the opening of my review) that the patois Fen speaks with drove me nuts. I've been to New Orleans and I've heard people speak in a similar way to Fen. It's awesome in person. On the page it's just annoying. And since the book is also in first person you can't get away from it when the chapter is told from Fen's point of view. I am sad to admit that I almost gave up on this book a few chapters in because of it. I'm glad I didn't, because the story itself is worth reading. The language issues with Fen and the Daniel chapters just feeling like they serve no real purpose have kept me from rating this book any higher.

Series Titles

<a href="http://yareview.net/2013/02/orleans-carnivale/">0.5 Orleans: Carnivale</a>
1. Orleans

Similar Titles

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
The Giver by Lois Lowry

3 Responses to “Review: Orleans by Sherri L. Smith”

  1. Angela

    I’ve read some quotes on this, and I’m trying to decide if I can deal with the dialect that’s printed in here. I have a huge problem with dialect being printed out constantly. It’s part of the reason I can’t deal with the Downside Ghosts series though I know so many people that love it. I think I might have the same issues you did, so I’m going to wait until the library gets it…

    • Chris

      Amazon has the first chapter available to read. I highly recommend giving that a try if you don’t want to wait on your library to see if you’ll be able to handle the writing style. :-)