I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Scourge by A.G. Henley
Series: Brilliant Darkness #1
on January 31st 2012
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Seventeen-year-old Groundling, Fennel, is Sightless. She's never been able to see her lush forest home, but she knows its secrets. She knows how the shadows shift when she passes under a canopy of trees. She knows how to hide in the cool, damp caves when the Scourge comes. She knows how devious and arrogant the Groundlings' tree-dwelling neighbors, the Lofties, can be.
And she's always known this day would come—the day she faces the Scourge alone.
The Sightless, like Fenn, are mysteriously protected from the Scourge, the gruesome creatures roaming the forests, reeking of festering flesh and consuming anything—and anyone—living. A Sightless Groundling must brave the Scourge and bring fresh water to the people of the forest. Today, that task becomes Fenn's.
Fenn will have a Lofty Keeper, Peree, as her companion. Everyone knows the Lofties wouldn’t hesitate to shoot an arrow through the back of an unsuspecting Groundling like Fenn, but Peree seems different. A boy with warm, rough hands who smells like summer, he is surprisingly kind and thoughtful. Although Fenn knows his people are treacherous, she finds herself wanting to trust him.
As their forest community teeters on the brink of war, Fenn and Peree must learn to work together to survive the Scourge and ensure their people’s survival. But when Fenn uncovers a secret that shatters her truths, she’s forced to decide who and what to protect—her people, her growing love for Peree, or the elusive dream of lasting peace in the forest.
Zombies are my bread and butter. They are what make the world go ’round. I have read so many zombie books and graphic novels, not to mention watching movies and shows. I had started to believe that I had seen it all. Then, along comes A.G. Henley, and I can freely admit that I didn’t see her twist coming. YAY! It takes a lot to surprise me, and it’s always so nice to find this quality in a book. Obviously, it would be a huge spoiler if I told you what the twist was, so I won’t even hint at it. All I will say is that these are not your typical, run-of-the-mill, walking corpses!
Fennel, Fen, is such an interesting character to me. She’s blind, which can obviously cause some problems. Most obviously, she’s wandering around in a zombie infested forest! She is forced to use her ears and sense of smell to maneuver around the living dead (good things those things moan and stink, right?), memorizing her path to prevent getting lost and separated from her loved ones. It can also create an interesting scenario for the author, who is now forced to describe scents, sounds and how everything feels to the touch, as opposed to what they actually look like. I thought Henley did a phenomenal job of it, and I often found myself imagining what she must see in her mind’s eye.
Fen is her village’s water bearer. It is her job to bring water for her own people, the Groundlings, and for the group of people who live in the trees, the Lofties. It is Peree’s job, as her Keeper, to protect her from the Scourge while she makes the trip to the water each day. While this seems like a symbiotic relationship, of sorts, it is quite political. Normally, politics grate on me, but in this case, it adds a complex level of tension to the story line. So many characters seem to be working for their own personal agendas, and it’s anyone’s guess who is being honest.
As Fen and Peree are forced to work together, they inevitably grow closer. While I didn’t feel a lot of passion between them, I definitely bought into their companionship. They have a great dialogue, and I can sense their need to lean on, as well as protect, each other. I have a very bad feeling, though, that there is a love triangle looming in the sequel. *potential ugh*
So it took me a really long time to finish The Scourge. Do you ever read a book as slowly as possible, dreading every page turn? This book did that for me, because every new page brought me closer to the end, and every fiber of my being didn’t want to reach that last page. I kept one eye on the progression bar, wondering how everything could possibly turn out alright. There was going to be cliffhanger, for sure, and I hate cliffhangers! (and by hate, I mean secretly love…) After all was said and done, I was actually pretty happy with how it wrapped up. Now, how long will it be before I break down and get the sequel??