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Review: Viral Nation

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I’ve been really excited to read Viral Nation because it has been a while since I’ve read a dystopian book. I do have to say, though, that I was a bit disappointed with how it turned out. The problem with dystopian books is that they all start sounded very similar. I had figured out most of what was going to happen in Viral Nation pretty early on, which made me somewhat hesitant to continue reading.

The plot, though I found it predictable, had a lot going on and I was interested enough to keep reading the book. However, at times I felt that there were too many things happening, things that just didn’t make sense as I was reading. The problem with this was that it was like I was being told multiple stories at once. Viral Nation had that dystopian, evil-government thing going on, but there was also a virus, a revolution, conspiracies, bullies, and time traveling. I wasn’t sure what I should be focusing on more.

While the plot seemed to pull me in all directions, the characters were quite grounded and I really enjoyed them. They remained constant in their personalities and behaviors throughout the book. My favorite character, Clover, was an autistic genius and I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with an autistic protagonist before. I found this really inspiring, because Clover was a very strong and determined character, who never let her “disability” get in the way. Clover’s brother, West, was yet another great character. I liked that he always thought of his sister and put her before himself, a very commendable quality. I would have liked to have been given more of a backstory on the supporting characters, though. They were a little “distant” in that I just couldn’t really form an opinion on them. They were just there and they helped the story moved forward.

I was able to really get into Viral Nation towards the end. A lot of the questions I had at the beginning were getting answered and I found that just about everything finally made sense. I was able to understand why some things were included in the book, when at the beginning I thought them unnecessary. Viral Nation, however, didn’t finish on a strong enough note for me, I would have liked to have been given a bit more. I do think the the ending paved the way for a very promising sequel, so I might just have to read it.

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