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Silver Hardcover – March 25, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up—Orphaned when his parents die in a plane crash, Paul Camber opts to go to Mortingham Academy, rather than live with his childless aunt and uncle. Arriving midyear, he keeps to himself, until the boarding school finds itself in a science-fiction nightmare that begins with an unusual find during a biology-lab outing. Andrew and Graham become ill after being bitten by two unusually large silvery beetles covered with circuitlike lines. The school nurse asks Paul to go for help when a storm causes a power outage, and he soon realizes that the beetles aren't the only creatures on campus morphing into aggressive, silver nano-machines. Under the direction of a favorite teacher, Paul and a loner named Mark herd healthy students into the science block, boarding up windows and doors to keep out the Infected. In a fast-paced series of battles, Mr. Sutton is killed and the students, who once disliked each other (fleshed out in separate point-of-view chapters at the start), must find common ground in order to survive. Individual strengths, such as leadership skills and science knowledge, are utilized to produce weapons, such as molotov cocktails, to stall off the rabid attackers. Tension is maintained to an uncertain end and the probability of a dystopian world in which Paul and his friends feel confident to navigate. The imaginative details of a virus that turns organic matter into circuitry will appeal to middle-grade science-fiction and horror fans as well as reluctant readers.—Vicki Reutter, State University of New York at Cortland

From Booklist

*Starred Review* A couple of boys on a biology field trip uncover a silver creature with chitin markings eerily like a computer chip. But it is only the first of many horrible creatures whose scratches turn humans into silver insects called the Infected. It’s a biological-weapon experiment gone awry, a horrifying precursor to an evil world bent on destroying itself. The challenge for a lucky (?) few Mortingham Boarding Academy students is how to survive and, perhaps more importantly, what happens if they do? Wooding has morphed a traditional English boarding-school story—bullies, evil headmaster, well-intentioned teacher, and romantic drama—into a horror survival story that would make William Golding and Gary Paulsen envious. The ugly, morphing Infected are graphic, both awe-inspiring and terrifying, as they devour their comrades to become larger, more intelligent, and more vicious. The tension is palpable as a small group of teens gradually out-thinks its few remaining adult leaders, thus leading the scant remaining survivors on a quest to escape. Can goodness actually prevail? Carve out enough time to read Silver in a single sitting. You’ll need it. Grades 7-12. --Frances Bradburn

"Shadow Scale" by Rachel Hartman
Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny? See more

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press (March 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545603927
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545603928
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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As a reader this experience was AMAZING!
Meghann @ Becoming Books
The way the author chose to end this book leaves room for a sequel.
Apart from that, Silver is also very well written.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sue Heraper on May 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover
The setting for “Silver” is a remote English boarding school. It takes the usual elements that make up such a tale – romantic drama, bully, nerdy outcast, evil headmaster —and puts a horror survival story spin on it. Paul, the new kid at school, is conflicted when he is thrust into a leadership position after a strange silver-colored beetle is found. Soon the campus is overrun with horrifying creatures whose scratches turn animals and humans into the Infected, whose bodies become increasingly metallic and mechanical. A group of students try to defend themselves against these creatures who evolve and grow larger, smarter, and more vicious as they work together to conquer the school. Not everyone survives, and part of the suspense is in finding out who does and who does not.

The fight provides suspense and tension as the teens try to escape their increasingly hopeless situation. The entire story takes place in one action-packed day and night, so there is not much opportunity for character development. I would recommend this for fans of Michael Grant’s Gone series or Alexander Gordon Smith’s Escape From Furnace series, or anyone looking for an action-packed teen survival story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stacy Palm on October 30, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
First there was Harry Potter, and then Twilight, Percy Jackson, The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, and so on. Please don’t write and tell me which ones are good, and which are bad, because my mind is made up, and really, the point is moot. What I am saying is that one overwhelming success begets dozens of others, so that the world of YA publishing, in particular, is as crawling with as many agents looking for The Next Big Thing as Seattle was before Nevermind by Nirvana had sold a thousand copies. To continue this mixed metaphor, for every Pearl Jam you get two or three Stone Temple Pilots, and dozens of Seven Mary Threes.

This brings me to Silver by Chris Wooding. It’s a . The prose is solid, and it has some moments or genuine frission; but to continue my theme of mixing metaphors, it seems to me like a promising rookie rushed up from AAA ball who can’t quite yet hit a breaking pitch.

The book is set in Mortingham, a very isolated boarding school. Some students discover insects that appear to be partially made of metal. Then things go slowly and steadily downhill as first animals, and then people start showing up , transformed into metallic monsters, and hell-bent on killing everyone who isn’t like them. Of course circumstances are such that there is no way to leave, or communicate with the outside world. In the best horrific fashion everything that can goes wrong does.

The cast of teens are varied in type: Tragic Loner, Bully, Queen Bee, The Girl in the Queen Bee’s Shadow, Nerds, etc. The Staff and teachers are also varied in type, with Popular Teacher, Jaded Mean Teacher, and Crabby janitor.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Shireman on May 20, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Chris Wooding may be my favorite author. He at least gets into the top five. The Ketty Jay books are amazing. So is the Malice series. So maybe I approached this with my expectations too high. This book started out interesting and different, and I was encouraged. Alas, it then devolved into a fairly typical "monsters are killing everyone and taking over and how will our plucky heroes survive?" kind of tale. What I like about Mr. Wooding's other books was how they don't follow the beaten path in their plots. In this one, it was pretty easy to tell what was going to happen by the time I was about a third of the way through, right down to who would survive, which bad person would find their true purpose and turn good, and which authority figure would lose their mind and become the focus of evil. Nevertheless, it's an entertaining read and while not ground-breaking, it is certainly an enjoyable tale.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: Silver is hands-down one of the best science-fiction horror stories I’ve read in a long time. Wooding is an evil genius at combining heart-pounding action with creepy imagery to make this apocalyptic story one I won’t soon forget.

Opening Sentence: Darkness. Crushing pressure on his neck. The sour tang of another boy’s sweat. The rough fabric of a blazer rasping against his face.

The Review:

Fair or not, a book’s synopsis always creates an expectation and I admit I’ve 1-clicked many a story solely on an appealing blurb. It’s always a gamble, especially with new-to-me authors, and ends more often than not with my Kindle getting the stink eye for a story that doesn’t deliver what the synopsis promised.

Then there are stories like Silver, where the synopsis doesn’t do justice to the phenomenal writing and intensely creepy story hidden between the covers.

Located in the remote English countryside, Mortingham Boarding Academy stands more like a prison than a place of learning. Bordered by tall walls and sealed off from the outside world by a closely monitored gate, no one enters or leaves its sprawling grounds without permission. There’s little to distract its students, which range in age from the very young to eighteen, and severe punishments for those who dare deviate from their tightly controlled routines.

So it’s a pretty big deal for the students remaining on campus when silver beetles the size of mice show up right before the weekend. But this excitement turns to fear when the strange bugs suddenly attack two students. Within hours, the two students have become violently ill and covered with a quickly spreading rash of silver tendrils.
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