Adaptation by Malinda Lo

Publication Date: September 18th, 2012
Little, Brown and Company
Format: Hardcover, 386 pages
RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars
Reese can’t remember anything from the time between the accident and the day she woke up almost a month later. She only knows one thing: She’s different now.
Across North America, flocks of birds hurl themselves into airplanes, causing at least a dozen to crash. Thousands of people die. Fearing terrorism, the United States government grounds all flights, and millions of travelers are stranded.
Reese and her debate team partner and longtime crush David are in Arizona when it happens. Everyone knows the world will never be the same. On their drive home to San Francisco, along a stretch of empty highway at night in the middle of Nevada, a bird flies into their headlights. The car flips over. When they wake up in a military hospital, the doctor won’t tell them what happened, where they are—or how they’ve been miraculously healed.
Things become even stranger when Reese returns home. San Francisco feels like a different place with police enforcing curfew, hazmat teams collecting dead birds, and a strange presence that seems to be following her. When Reese unexpectedly collides with the beautiful Amber Gray, her search for the truth is forced in an entirely new direction—and threatens to expose a vast global conspiracy that the government has worked for decades to keep secret.

It’s taken me at least two weeks to actually finish this book. I started off hooked and completely enthralled with the mystery surrounding the deadly flock of birds but by the time that’s over, this book just completely flat-lined. Considering there was a bigger mystery in what happened to Reese and David after their car accident, it’s unfortunate that it couldn’t sustain my initial hunger.

Do you guys remember those birds that fell from the sky a couple of years ago? There were conspiracy theories that circled all over the internet and news networks that had something to do with either weather, fireworks, the Mayan apocalypse and invisible UFOs. Well, Adaptation’s genesis was this phenomenon. Reese and David were stranded in Arizona due to FAA’s grounding of all flights in and out of the country. Flocks of suicidal birds flew themselves to their death by colliding with planes for inexplicable reasons. When their rental finally made it out of Arizona, chaos, looting, killings have started. Their debate coach was held at gunpoint at a gas station that eventually exploded into a fiery ball. As the two made their escape, a bird caused an accident that landed them in a secret government hospital.

We all know what happens when you find yourself in a secret government anything. You end up signing a NDA, your house would be infested with listening bugs and then you’d be stalked followed by the Men in Black. This is what happened to David and Reese. Not only did they have to constantly look behind their backs, they slowly discovered extraordinary things about their bodies.

There wasn’t a shortage of suspense as David and Reese sought out answers. In all my reading life, I’ve never been exposed to how far the government would go to hide their secrets. This was kind of a revelation for me (just goes to show how limited my reading preferences are).

The romantic elements didn’t work, in my opinion. David and Reese had that budding romance that didn’t really go anywhere. The next love interest also didn’t spark fireworks. I wasn’t convinced that Reese’s fascination with this person didn’t stem from curiosity or that for the lack of choices. It was like, okay David didn’t work…soooo let’s try you on for size. Know what I mean? Reese’s coming of age, self-discovery story seemed out of place. If this book focused more on its sci-fi trope, then perhaps I’d have liked it more. I normally enjoy romantic arcs in a book but in Adaptation’s case, it was simply a distraction.

VERDICT: While I didn’t really cozy up to this novel, I have no problem recommending it nonetheless. This novel is unique; the premise unheard of in this genre. Malinda Lo took what happened a couple of years ago (give or take), gave it a little twist of X-Files and went with it. The result is a one-of-a-kind novel that will have adrenaline junkies and conspiracy theorists salivating for the instalment.