BLACK RIVER FALLSAuthor: Jeff Hirsch
Source: eARC via the Publisher
Publisher: Clarion Books
Publication Date: July 5, 2016
Rating: 2/5 stars
Seventeen-year-old Cardinal has escaped the virus that ravaged his town, leaving its victims alive but without their memories. He chooses to remain in the quarantined zone, caring for a group of orphaned kids in a mountain camp with the help of the former brutal school bully, now transformed by the virus into his best friend. But then a strong-willed and mysterious young woman appears, and the closed-off world Cardinal has created begins to crumble.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Well, that was a little disappointing. This book and I got off on the wrong foot from the beginning and it picked up a bit but then crashed back down. I thought the premise was so interesting but the execution was lacking SOMETHING (like a more defined plot). I would suggest this one to people who don't mind following someone around without much purpose.
I requested this one based on premise because hello, science fiction, virus, mysterious girl who shakes things up!! but none of those things really mattered in the grand scheme of things? It was more about how Cardinal lived now? And I mean, that would have been interesting if he wasn't such a Debbie Downer and actually did things. But he wandered and didn't interact with too many people because he didn't want to get infected. It was just a bit of an awkward story because it felt like the plot of figuring out what caused the virus and finding a cure were vastly overshadowed by Card just moping. I wanted him to be more active in helping people and stuff since that is how the story STARTED, but he kinda just became a hermit.
I also anticipated there would be more about the girl, whose name in the story is Hannah. She comes in and it "changes" things, according to the premise, but really she is just another addition to the story served to be Card's love interest. She doesn't even have an interesting story when I thought she would feature heavily. Like there is mystery surrounding her presence but it dwindles after like 20 pages of her being on screen so it was a bit disappointing.
I had a hard time connecting to the story at the beginning because of how it was written (as a letter to ME who is actually Card's brother Tennant) because until around 50% of the novel, I had no emotional connection to Card so I felt really disconnected from the story. It was difficult because there were stories about their (our?) shared past being told in this story but because I had no connection to them and had no idea what they were, they just clogged up the story for me until the night of the 16th was discussed. I also didn't like that there were some like dream sequences? thrown in because I had a hard time figuring out what was really happening and what Cardinal was just imagining happening.
I liked the conclusion though! I would have liked more from this conclusion and storyline because I think it was really interesting. The plot that should have been (i.e. virus and cure discussion) happened in like 20 pages. The last 20 pages. I feel like there was way too much time spent on Cardinal being whiny and not enough time spent on Cardinal DOING something so he wouldn't be as whiny anymore.
Overall, interesting premise but lack of execution really ruined this for me. As well, I was hoping for more discussion about the virus rather than the brief snippets we got about it. It seemed like this book was a mish-mash of three different ideas that didn't perfectly overlap. And that makes me sad.