Omnibus published in 2012
“I celebrated my fifteenth birthday by burying my headmaster and emptying my bladder in the freshly turned earth.”
How’s that for a first sentence? This book. Holy wow. I had a serious book hangover after finishing it. (For those of you who don’t know what a book hangover is, it’s the inability to start a new book because you can’t stop thinking about the previous one.)
Nutshell blurb: A virus has swept across the globe killing everyone who does not have O-negative blood type. This is the story of the survivors who take shelter at a private boy’s school in Kent.
I feel that I need to start of by saying that even though this book is mainly about children and teenagers, it’s definitely not a YA book. It certainly isn’t for the faint of heart.
So, why would anyone want to read a book that features children who must kill in order to survive? There’s an interview with the author at the end of the book and he’s asked the question of why he features children in the post apocalyptic tale of survival. His response:
“Because they’re far more vicious than adults. Crueller, nastier, less predictable and more morally flexible…kids are not fully formed personalities yet, they’re still pushing the boundaries of social conventions and trying to define themselves, so they do the most awful things sometimes. And the most wonderful, of course.”
This omnibus is made up of three short novels and a short story. The first book is from the point of view of a fifteen year old boy named Lee. The second and third books toggle back and forth between various characters.
There were a few times when I had to suspend my disbelief a bit more than I’m comfortable with, such as when one of the teenagers flies a plane from Kent to Iraq by himself, refueling at various military bases along the way. I also felt as though Lee’s voice/thoughts were a bit more mature than a fifteen year old’s would be. It’s been way more than fifteen years since I was fifteen years old, so I can honestly say that I don’t remember what my thought processes were like back then. I’m willing to push my belief to the boundaries if the writing is good, and the writing in this book is excellent. The characters are engaging and realistic and the action was non-stop.
No one is safe in this book, which gave me the thrilling feeling of fear for the characters I liked as well as the desire for the villains to get their comeuppance, which sometimes didn’t happen. It was difficult to predict and that made it stressful, heart-rending and fun at the same time.
I seldom recommend books to people as we all have different tastes and I don’t want the responsibility of my recommendation if you don’t like it, so I will refrain from doing so now. What I will say, however, is that this book was brutal and it took my breath away.