Friday, August 29, 2014

*Gizmos Book Reviews* Rebel Nation (Viral Nation #2) by Shaunta Grimes

**I received this book for free from NetGalley/Berkley Trade in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**


Clover Donovan didn’t set out to start a revolution—quiet, autistic, and brilliant, she’s always followed the rules. But that was before they forced her into service for the Time Mariners. Before they condemned her brother to death, compelling him to flee the city to survive. Before she discovered terrifying secrets about The Company.

Clover and the Freaks, her ragtag resistance group, are doing their best to spread the rebellion and stay under The Company’s radar. But when their hideout is discovered, they are forced, once again, to run. Only this time, The Company has special plans for Clover, plans that could risk her life and stop the uprising in its tracks.

*My Thoughts*

Shaunta Grimes has created a world that is interesting as well as dangerous. It is a world where a major plague nearly destroyed humanity. Now, the survivors, who live mostly within the confines of walled cities like Reno, are expected to get a daily dosages of a suppressant that is said to control the return of the plague.

The Viral Nation series uses Time Travel as a way to control the populations safety, a kind of Minority Report, if you will. While the Viral Nation series is NOT filled with zombies, or maddening creatures that attack humans willy nilly, it does have a wonderful cast of characters that you can lean on in times of heart break and trouble.  

Rebel Nation picks up several months after the end of Viral Nation. Rebel Nation has less time traveling, but with more emphasis on the growing rebellion against the Waverly-Stead Company, and the determination of one man to keep what he believes is his. In Viral Nation, readers learned the real truth behind the suppressant the Company created, the cost to society, and how it there is an alternative. But, the question remains why The Company is so focused on 16-year old Clover Donovan that they would stop at nothing to control her, and keep her as one of the Time Messengers. 

One of the best things about the Viral Nation series is that Shaunta Grimes has focused a lot of her attention on Clover, a girl who is autistic. Grimes doesn't bury or smooth over the bad things. There are times that Clover is fully functional, while other times, she needs the help of her trusty dog Mango, as well as Jude Degas's calming influence on her. I fully support Grimes in this endeavor, and hope that others take notice that even kids with disabilities, can be strong, loving, kickass characters to read about.

Clover is definitely not your average heroine who rages against the machine, and then battles from the trenches against the villains with guns blazing, and swords as her back-up. Clover uses her intellect, logic, and her mind to figure things out before anyone else does. She speaks up, and doesn't waffle in her determination to find the secret behind The Company. She's the main focus point of several factions, but we really haven't uncovered the reasoning behind it even after TWO books.  

It is hard, at times, not to want to scream at self-sacrificing characters, and in this case, Clover's choice in the end was not something I would agree with or imagined it would go that way. I feel as though she is clearly heading in a direction that needs more explaining, and understandably, I am hoping that Grimes enlightens us in the next installment, and doesn't leave us hanging for another year. One could also say that I am over-examining the situation, and that because this is Clover we are talking about, everything will be fine in the end.

Rebel Nation is told in the third person POV by Clover, Jude Degas, James Donovan, West Donovan, and Langston Bennett. James has some issues that needs to be resolved, and I hope that when all is said and done, he can find peace once again with his kids. His lived with a major regret for 16 years, and I can't imagine what I would have done in his place. If anyone needs a moment, it is West Donovan. At 20, he's become the de facto leader of the Freaks, while trying really hard to keep his sister away from Langston Bennett. West is under so much stress, and pressure, that I am encouraged by the fact that he hasn't walked away, and threw up his arms in frustration.

I knew Bennett was a hard case from reading Viral Nation, but this time out, Wow, he may have gone even deeper to the dark side. I can't imagine any place where Clover would consider herself safe. But, being around and under Bennett's control is like bringing the sheep to the slaughter. Jude is an interesting character. I think the best thing I can say about Jude is that he keeps Cover calm, and their relationship is a bit on the adorable side. Jude and the Foster City kids perhaps don't get enough attention, but when they do, it counts and it matters.  

As a reader, I am always on the look out for new and exciting stories to read. I am interested in world building that astounds, fascinating characters who aren't overly selfish and boring, and a story that is driven by a well drawn out plot that doesn't leave me wanting to run away screaming in agony upon finishing the book. Mission Accomplished. Rebel Nation expands on Viral Nation by adding depth, gravity, and mystery to the storyline. I am definitely on board for the next installment!

Title - Rebel Nation (Viral Nation # 2)
Author - Shaunta Grimes
Published by Penguin/Berkley Trade
Released: July 1, 2014
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic
Format: E-Book 320 pages

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