GOODREADS SUMMARY | Delacorte Books for Young Readears | ARC paperback, 351 pp. | April 14th, 2015 | Young Adult Fiction | Post Apocalyptic ThrrRating : 3 out of 5 Stars
The Side Effects of the Cure
In an effort to aid war-weary soldiers afflicted with PTSD, scientists have developed a serum to curtail, and eliminate this psychological disorder. But like every other miracle drug that’s ever been invented, the cure brought on a different kind of disease. The soldiers lost their abilities to feel. They became stronger; they healed faster. They became harder to kill. When the serum was sold to the highest bidder, the drug was reinvented; ushering a new breed of soldiers who lost all sense of right and wrong. Everyone became their enemy. Like a rabid pack of zombies, they invaded countries and bludgeoned the population into submission.
A small pocket of survivors managed to have a semblance of life in Hope Island. They have their own government and security. They live on goods bartered or traded by salvagers from the mainland. But all that security crumbled when a boy snuck in one night under the pretence of getting help for his friend’s baby.
Cass’s brother, and the only family she has, was taken by Fearless. The trespasser claimed he could help her find him, if she could help him get back to the mainland. Cass didn’t have any choice, because once you leave Hope Island, you can never go back. And since no one would help her get her brother back, he’s the only ally she could turn to.
This book is pretty much everything you would expect from a dystopian thriller. It has a frenetic beginning where you’ll witness the beginning of the end of civilization. Then it hurtles on its steady pace right through the end. The world building is almost non-existent. I think it’s one of those things when a reader already knows what they’re in for even before they crack the spine. It’s there on the cover, and in the synopsis. In other words, the author left everything to the reader’s imagination. She didn’t have to hold my hand, or tell me how I should feel. Because her characters were very affective – except for the romance bit (more on that later).
Cass, for the most part, was a character full of moxie. When the world ended, she witnessed her dad get killed by the Fearless. Her mother was pregnant at the time. Unable to handle losing her husband, and the state of the world as she knew it, Cass’ mother killed herself. Ever since then, she was left playing the mother to her younger brother. He was all that was left of her world. She was fierce and courageous.
The only thing that didn’t work for me here is the romance. It wasn’t a case of instant love, but more the relationship didn’t progress in a realistic fashion. There was no basis for the attraction, no foundation. I supposed there wasn’t a spark between them either.
I was under the impression that this was a stand alone. But after that ending, it would be cruel not to continue. There’s so much to look forward to after this book, and I, for one, am really hoping a companion is already in the works.