Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes

15985355Expected publication: July 2nd 2013 by Berkley Trade

Hell, this book is a ride on a wild horse. In this complex dystopian novel you have it all: a deadly virus that took out most of mankind, chilling villains that seized the opportunity and 16 years later control every aspect of life, young freaks and homeless kids that grow up to be the resistance and time travel. Well there’s that and then some more.

All I can say about this novel is that it is masterfully done. You have a complex world, with fascinating characters, a suspenseful and fast paced story full of friendship, family and love. Clover is not your typical heroine. She is far from being badass; she is small on the verge of seeming childlike. Shaunta Grimes did pull it off to make Clover not only believable and realistic with all her autistic disability but also to make her utterly likable and unique. Her different way of thinking and behaving is refreshing.

Back to the setting: There’s only so much that can befall mankind and lead to it’s almost extinction. In case of Viral Nations there was a virus that killed a lot of people, there was a vaccine but almost too late, there’s The Company who since control everything and everybody by any means. But the author doesn’t stop at this almost cliché dystopian scenario but drops interesting twists and turns throughout the story. Time travelling has me hooked since “Back to the Future”. And I found it rather fascinating to follow the thoughts of a 16 year old autistic girl who tries to understand it. They were not very far from my own. I loved the steampunk concept of time travelling with a very old-fashioned submarine exactly two years in to the future. Those time travels gather information from the future to apprehend criminals in the present based on the gathered foreknowledge. It reminded me very much of the movie Minority Report.

There is so much that sets this novel apart from other dystopian fiction: The autistic heroine with her bulldog “Mango”, the time traveling, the retro-futuristic inventions and steampunk approach fit all wonderfully together and create an overall very entertaining read.

With thanks to Netgalley for providing me with the ARC of this book.

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