Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction
Published by Walker Childrens on 4/2/2013
Reviewed by: Chris
Threats of rape.
Fiona doesn't remember going to sleep. But when she opens her eyes, she discovers her entire world has been altered-her house is abandoned and broken, and the entire neighborhood is barren and dead. Even stranger is the tattoo on her right wrist-a black oval with five marks on either side-that she doesn't remember getting but somehow knows she must cover at any cost. And she's right. When the honeybee population collapsed, a worldwide pandemic occurred and the government tried to bio-engineer a cure. Only the solution was deadlier than the original problem-the vaccination turned people into ferocious, deadly beasts who were branded as a warning to un-vaccinated survivors. Key people needed to rebuild society are protected from disease and beasts inside a fortress-like wall. But Fiona has awakened branded, alone-and on the wrong side of the wall . . .
I don't even know where to start with this review. I knew that STUNG was a work of YA fiction when I selected it for review, but I didn't expect to be childish. Does that make sense? Probably not, so let me explain a little further.
So the book starts with Fiona waking up and not remembering anything past the age of 13. Since she's now 17 this poses a bit of a problem. I was as confused as Fiona was throughout most of the book because the world building is, uh, sparse to say the least. I know that the bees died and there's something making people in to super strong killer thingamajigs. That's about all that's clear for almost the entirety of the book - which mostly consists of Fiona and some guy (who was so dull that I've honestly forgotten his name even though he's the second main character in the book) running through the woods. There's little to no sense of space or description or anything during these scenes. I had no idea if they were miles away from the city compound, a dozen feet or what. It felt like a low budget movie where they only had the money for one set and had to keep reusing it in every single scene.
Then there's Fiona. Fiona is everything I hate in bad YA fiction. Absolutely every single choice she made in the book was stupid and annoying. She gets captured, boring lead male takes pity on her (Because, duh, they're already falling in love. Gag.) and let's her sleep unshackled. He then falls asleep. He's about to take her somewhere where she'll be killed or worse. What would you do? If you're Fiona you lay there all night staring at his face and thinking about how cute he is. Ugh. Then there's the scene where they find a safe place that has changes of clothes. Does she choose something practical for fleeing for her life through the woods? Nope. She picks a fucking sun dress so she looks cute for boring male lead. God dammit.
The whole book is like this. I realize that Fiona is a teenage girl and I have no problem with characters that make bad decisions, but c'mon. Every single decision she makes is stupid and makes no sense in the context of the scene. Then there's the ever present threat of rape that is mentioned about every three paragraphs. Why, you ask? Because apparently there are seven guys to every girl (this is never explained) and instead of, you know, prizing the female population they just rape and kill them and stuff. Cause that's what you do when you want to repopulate.
Save yourself some time, dear reader, and find something better to read. It shouldn't be hard.