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Virals (Virals, Book 1) Hardcover – November 2, 2010
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Amazon Best Books of the Month, November 2010: Kathy Reichs, creator of the hit television show and mystery series, Bones, brings her bestselling blend of science and suspense to teens with the first in a new series, Virals. Tory is the science-obsessed niece of a famous forensic anthropologist, Temperance Brennan (star of the Bones program and novels), living on a remote island off the coast of South Carolina. An old military ID tag leads Tory and her best friends, Ben, Hi, and Shelton--all self proclaimed “sci-philes”--to an illegal research lab, where they are exposed to a mutant strain of canine parvovirus. When the teens begin experiencing preternatural physical changes, their search for answers brings them in contact with cold-blooded killers. Reichs’s characters are realistically drawn modern teenagers, and the state-of-the-art forensic details give this thriller an added edge. Short, heart-pounding chapters move the action forward at breakneck speed and the satisfying conclusion sets the tone for the next installment (coming in summer of 2011). --Seira Wilson
From School Library Journal
Gr 6-10–Tory Brennan, 14, lives on an island off the coast of South Carolina. Her newly discovered father works in science research for the University of Charleston, which is why she and her friends with similar pedigrees attend the ritzy prep school in town with the local aristocracy. Tory and her three friends, all boys, are science geeks and love to explore the outer islands where monkeys and other wildlife abound. While exploring a supposedly deserted lab complex, they discover the caged offspring of a wolf and German shepherd that has been diagnosed with parvovirus. Tory's concern leads the group to rescue the pup with the notion of curing and saving it from science experiments. Tory knows that parvo cannot infect humans, but once the treatment begins the four teens start to experience symptoms that make them doubt her initial belief. Along the way, they also stumble upon a murder mystery dating back to the Vietnam War era that quickly becomes linked to the mysterious science experiments that are being kept hidden on the islands. What starts as a science mystery thriller takes a sharp right turn into the realm of science fiction with genetically altered DNA and superhuman senses that may cause more savvy readers to scoff. However, the fast-paced thrills, cool science, and great characters will create a flood of fans waiting for the next installment.–Jake Pettit, Thompson Valley High School, Loveland, CO. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Top Customer Reviews
Virals was lively action in a captivating setting with mystery, science, and a sprinkling of danger to make life interesting. In other words, plot-driven excitement that put me in mind of the best that a Nancy Drew/CSI/Lost sort of adventure could conjure. For what it was, it was entertaining.
So – down to the meat – what wasn’t it? Number one: a love story. Not that it couldn’t develop in the future, mind you, but this one isn’t it. Number two: big on character development. You may have seen the words ‘plot-driven’ above. I meant them. The book isn’t shallow, but it’s not a platform for deep thoughts or character change, either. It’s an adventure story. Number three: girls-only reading. I think that Virals will appeal mainly to guys. I KNOW it’s got that tomboy and science geek thing down pat, but the next most likely audience (in my opinion) is the male half of the teenage equation. Great adventure reading, mysteries, and unexplained diseases? Should appeal to both sexes.
Final verdict: worth the read. While this wasn’t one of my typical choices, it entertained me for a couple of hours on a rainy day, and the non-stop action was a great diversion. I’ll be looking out for the next installment.
Recommended for: mystery and action lovers, those Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys readers all grown up, fans of Bones, CSI and other mystery/forensics shows, and perhaps that reluctant teen reader you know – guy or girl – who might be thrilled by a little bit of action adventure.