Series: Fetch, #1
Published by Scholastic Press on September 24, 2013
Pages: 384 pages
Sexual Content: some kissing
Reviewed by: Kristina
In a world ravaged by mutation, a teenage girl must travel into the forbidden Savage Zone to recover lost artifacts or her father’s life is forfeit.
America has been ravaged by a war that has left the eastern half of the country riddled with mutation. Many of the people there exhibit varying degrees of animal traits. Even the plantlife has gone feral.
Crossing from west to east is supposed to be forbidden, but sometimes it’s necessary. Some enter the Savage Zone to provide humanitarian relief. Sixteen-year-old Lane’s father goes there to retrieve lost artifacts—he is a Fetch. It’s a dangerous life, but rewarding—until he’s caught.
Desperate to save her father, Lane agrees to complete his latest job. That means leaving behind her life of comfort and risking life and limb—and her very DNA—in the Savage Zone. But she’s not alone. In order to complete her objective, Lane strikes a deal with handsome, roguish Rafe. In exchange for his help as a guide, Lane is supposed to sneak him back west. But though Rafe doesn’t exhibit any signs of “manimal” mutation, he’s hardly civilized . . . and he may not be trustworthy.
I really enjoyed the whole viral outbreak concept in INHUMAN which had great world building and was a quick action filled read. The idea of a virus that wiped out the eastern half of the U.S. leaving the survivors to live behind a giant wall in the west was a fascinating idea. While viral outbreak in a dystopian novel tends to mean zombies rampaging the earth, INHUMAN spins this idea around creates feral hybrids.
These hybrids are victims of the virus who in the late stages have mutated to become human/animal or animal/animal creatures who become super feral and dangerous (think rabies-like symptoms). There were some pretty cool and scary combinations of animals and people in the Savage Zone beyond the wall where the feral hybrids live. This hybridization created an “Island of Dr. Moreau” feel with the humans in the earlier stages of the virus being able to retain their humanity and talk while looking part-animal. While I liked the mutating virus, the idea that a virus could be held back by only a wall with hardly anyone trying to find a cure is a tad far fetched even for a fictional story. Logical mishaps of the plot aside the characters beyond the wall were varied and well fleshed out helping to make this world come alive.
Lane is a fun character who is incredibly smart, self-reliant and able to adapt to new situations very quickly and her adaptability is probably the trait I liked the most as she is thrown out beyond the wall with little to no preparation or guidance which is insanely admirable especially for a sixteen year old. The logic behind sending her out beyond the wall didn’t make too much sense considering there were a many other easier and fool proof methods to retrieve the object she needed to get in the Savage Zone. Aside from her adaptability there were many other traits Lane had that we were simply told she had with no examples. For instance she has martial arts training and some survival skills which she barely demonstrates and I would have loved to see. Most of the time she ends up being saved by other people…mainly the love interests, Rafe and Emerson.
I am not a huge fan of love triangles especially ones in dystopian novels where survival is a tad more important than who the main character is going to kiss. Luckily the triangle between Lane Rafe, and Emerson was kept to the background and Lane was smart enough to actually reprimand herself for crushing on these two in order to concentrate on surviving in a desolate wasteland surrounded by mutated, feral hybrids. Both guys are put into the stereotypical categories with ‘good guy’ traits and ‘bad boy’ traits and they pretty much stick to their specified love interest descriptions which made me even more thankful that this bland love triangle was not emphasized too much.
Some of the plot points seemed to be wrapped up a bit to conveniently and I felt like the last part of the story was too rushed especially when the characters barely get a chance to reflect on what they went through. INHUMAN had some logic flaws and a pretty lackluster love triangle but aside those quibbles it was a decent action filled dystopian YA novel that has a different spin on the viral outbreak idea used in many dystopian novels.
1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
2. Divergent by Veronica Roth