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.
If love triangles where at least one of the dudes is an über-douche don’t bother you, you might be fine reading this book.
I hate triangles. I frigging hate them. I want to kill all of them with fire. This is one of the ones that I’d like to kill slowly with fire. I’m not exaggerating when I say that Rafe, one of the love interests, ruined a lot of this book for me. More specifically, I should say that it was our MC, Lane, and her interest in him that ruined this book for me.
The guy is an ASSHOLE. And not even a loveable one like Jericho Barrons (does everything come back to that series?!). Nope, Rafe’s the irredeemable kind. The first time he and the MC meet, he tells her that he’ll help her if she sleeps with him (not the only time he asks her to prostitute herself for him, btw). Then he stabs her. Then he abandons her to a creature that could kill her. And then he turns her over to people who want to capture her in exchange for his freedom. This is all within the first third of the book. But Lane (bless her heart) still feels butterflies for him because he’s, you guessed it, HOT.
Oh, and he’s not just a bastard to her, but to everyone. Charming, eh? By the time he started to show some sort of humane behavior, ¾ of the book had gone by and he was still a monumental douche in between rare spots of real emotion. Sorry, too late to save him. Actually, there’s no way to save him.
If you know nothing about wilderness survival or self-defense, you might be fine reading this book.
My father is a survivalist. No really, that’s what he does, teaches people how not to die if they get lost in the woods. You could drop him into the middle of the wild and he’d walk out fat and happy two weeks later wearing the pelt of a bear he killed using a spear he fashioned out of a stick, a sharpened river stone, and vines, all held together with pinesap. Yeah, I grew up with that. I’ve also taken martial arts and self defense on and off for 20 years, and can fire/throw most weapons known to man. So again…yeah.
This MC allegedly took a lot of survival courses and self defense classes. She’ll tell you this so many times that you might just start believing her. And that’s one of my biggest issues with this book, she told me but didn’t show me. There wasn’t a single moment that I thought, “Oh, nicely done”. She didn’t rig up a snare to catch dinner, she didn’t kick the ever living shit out of ANYONE, and most of the time she flailed around like any other city girl would in her situation, and had to be saved by…you guessed it, men. Once I almost thought she’d done something worthy of an approving nod but then she ruined it by revealing that she’d used their only drinking water to cook her and her friends a dinner they didn’t need to eat due to the abundance of other readily available food in their vicinity. Le sigh.
If shock and awe campaigns don’t bother you, you might be fine reading this book.
The end of this book was…rough. It was like the story was trying to one-up itself. No one likes one-uppers. The last fifty pages or so was one thing after another after another. One dimensional villain acting evil, followed by one dimensional villain acting evil, followed by “shocking” plot twist, followed by one dimensional villain acting evil, followed by death, followed by “shocking” plot twist, followed by another death, followed by…you get the picture. And no, I am not exaggerating. That is literally the last 50 pages, sans spoilers.
I think the reason that my review is so critical is because I really liked some aspects of this book, and so mostly, I’m disappointed.
I loved the beginning. I thought the world building was phenomenal, the cause of the plague and the various strains of the virus that infected both humans and animals were fascinating, the writing was strong, and I liked where I thought it was all going. But then it started to fall apart for me about halfway through and continued to unravel until the end.
By the last page I actually hated Lane as much as I did Rafe. She blamed herself for everything, all the time. It got old. She was TSTL. It got old. She chose the WRONG FUCKING GUY. It pissed me the hell off. Also, you know those scenes where someone will risk the rest of the world to save one person and it’s supposed to be romantic but really you just end up thinking “Fuck it, let em die”? Yeah, that.
Oh and let’s not forget, when the boy you’d sacrifice the world for no longer seems like an option, there’s always the other one.