- Series: Plague Year
- Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Ace; Original edition (November 24, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0441017991
- ISBN-13: 978-0441017997
- Product Dimensions: 4 x 0.8 x 6.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 265 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,476,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Plague Zone (Plague Year) Mass Market Paperback – November 24, 2009
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About the Author
His new novel is Frozen Sky 3: Blindsided.
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Plague Year presents us with an interesting twist on the apocalypse. Carlson finds that touchstone that is common to all apocalypse survival stories: how even facing the end of the world (as we know it) humans still find ways to be @#(*$^ to one another. The science and geopolitical research that went into this book keep it realistic but don’t bog it down. The story races along intelligently which is a treat, especially to those of us who devour sci-fi in all its forms. It’s nice to read something that doesn't mire you in scientific sludge yet recognizes the reader is intelligent and appreciates well-researched action.
Despite the dark beginning, Carlson does a pretty good job of portraying the two main characters, Cam, a ski instructor in California, and Ruth, a scientist on the International Space Station. The first half of the story talks about each of them in turn as they struggle with various aspects of the plague. But it's when they finally come together, via a man Cam finds who claims to have been involved in the development of the nanobots, that the story really takes off. At the beginning of the book, I wasn't sure if I wanted to finish it. At the end of the book, I wasn't sure if I wanted it to stop.
Plague Year is the first story in a three-part series. I have several other books I plan on reading in the next few months. But I am seriously considering coming back for more to find out what happens.
An interesting and well executed premise is let down by the unrelenting dreary and selfish actions of the characters. Unlikable characters can be just as fun, if not more, to read about as likeable ones. But they have to have something going for them; wit, charisma, intelligence... Hell, in a pinch I'd settle for at least attractive. But all the characters here are just selfish in a petty, everyday kind of way. Thet are not interesting to read about, and each new low they reach is just draining, and not in a good way.
I'm sure having almost the entire human race wiped out by a rogue nano bot plague would bring out the very worst in some people, but I refuse to believe that others wouldn't also rise to the challenge of survival. Carlson's cast lacks balance, the only vaguely likeable characters are the ones who have had it relatively easy in the face of the plague. The message seems to be that faced with serious hardships they to would be just like their paranoid, dishonest and unpleasant cast mates. The plot is not bad, and it keeps the book readable, but I have no desire to slog through another book in the heads of these people.