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Posted March 7, 2013
In the year 2020, several states along the US Gulf Coast are qua
In the year 2020, several states along the US Gulf Coast are quarantined, the borders shut off after a series of devastating hurricanes push through, bringing with it a strange blood disease referred to as Delta Fever. In 2025 The United States withdraws governance of Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Alabama and Georgia. The fever has spread, causing too many casualties. These places are no longer safe and are cut off by thick, high walls from the rest of the USA.
Several years later, Fen lives in Orleans (what used to be New Orleans) with her tribe. Tribes are formed by blood type, and Fen’s tribe seems to be the most fortunate — they aren’t affected as badly by the disease as other blood types. When her dear friend and tribe leader dies after giving birth, Fen vows to protect the baby at all costs and make sure she gets the life her mother wanted for her. Fen is determined to get the baby over the wall and into a loving home where the baby won’t have to deal with the nightmares of life on her side of the wall. So long as she can keep the baby safe, and make it to the border before the baby gets sick, all will be well.
But the journey isn’t an easy one. When Fen meets Daniel, a research scientist from across the wall who has snuck over to look for a cure for Delta Fever, she doesn’t trust him, but he may be her only hope. As they are pursued by dangerous tribes, the two will have to put their distrust aside if their plans are to work.
I really loved the characters in this book. They didn’t feel cliché, or unoriginal. Fen is tough, determined and completely selfless, but those who know her only see a hardened, scarred and slightly dangerous girl. She’s a fighter and if anyone has come into contact with her, they know it’s best if they just leave her alone. She’s small, but she’s mean. Her loyalty toward Lydia, her friend and tribe leader, is what drives her to save the baby at any cost.
I also liked Daniel, the researcher a lot. He was also very strong and determined. Even better — the two of them didn’t fall in love. In fact, they were pretty weary of each other through the book. They felt real.
The writing is excellent. Ms. Smith writes from dual perspectives: First-person from Fen’s POV and third-person when it comes to Daniel’s perspective. Fen’s voice is perfectly captured in the language used. I could actually hear and feel her. Despite the two very distinct voices, the book never faltered at all.
What I also loved was that there was no romance thrown in just for the sake of adding it. Ms. Smith throws out the tired convention of so many disaster/dystopian books. This story is about survival and hope and that is where the focus lies. It was very refreshing.
The only thing that bothered me about the book was that the whole blood type thing confused me. Depending on your blood type, you may succumb to the fever faster or be affected by it more. I never quite grasped the gist of it. I don’t blame the author so much as myself. If I’d taken the time to write it down or map it out (I’m very visual) I may have gotten it. I was just too lazy to do so.
Fresh and thrilling, Orleans is perfect for anyone who has grown tired of the same old plot points in dystopian books. If you like tough characters, a great story and plenty of action, I would highly recommend this one.
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Posted February 2, 2014
I have decided not to bore anyone with half a page of oh-my-gosh
I have decided not to bore anyone with half a page of oh-my-gosh-you-HAVE-to read-this-book fangirling, but I’ll rather just share why I loved this book so darn much and why you might also love it so darn much. But just for the record, I loved this book with my entire being and I would LOVE for you to read it.
The first thing that struck me right at the beginning is the strong voice of our sixteen-year-old protagonist. There’s absolutely nothing average or Mary Sue-ish about her. Nothing, I tell you! Her emotional strength, resilience, dogged determination, and endurance left me speechless and in awe. Not only does she wear all those traits like a second skin, she also inadvertently take on the role of protector keeping a newborn baby and her adult male companion safe from harm by the bloodhunters and other spine-tingling dangers.
Now, two things:
1. Have you ever read a book where the teen girl protagonist had to protect her older, male companion from harm and keep him alive? No? Then that alone should already be an indicator how unique this story is.
2. Have you ever read a book where that same teen girl protagonist had to protect her older male companion from harm WHILE SHE HAS A NEWBORN BABY STRAPPED TO HER CHEST THE ENTIRE TIME? No again? Then I’m sure I don’t have to point out that this is yet another element that makes Orleans such a unique read.
Based on those two points alone, you should already be adding this book to your to-read list. But wait, there’s more. Not only does Fen have a strong and unique voice and does she involuntarily assume the role of protector, she also has to navigate a wasteland filled to the brim with all sorts of dangers. I have to applaud the author for her ingenuity creating the aforementioned perilous wasteland. The New Orleans of today is buried underneath the Orleans of 2052 as represented in this amazingly thrilling novel. Tribes have formed by blood type and the ones outside the O blood group hunts the ones with the O blood type that will sustain them and keep them alive while the Delta Fever ravishes their bodies. I was adequately impressed by the world-building, the idea behind this novel, and even how the end of this part of the U.S. came along by natural disaster. By the time I put this book down after finishing it, my nerves were fried from the fear and uncertainty I experienced alongside the two main characters in their fight to survive.
Here’s the very best part, though. There is NO romance in this book. Trust me, there’s no time for romantic interludes anyway as Fen and Daniel are constantly on the run (and it would’ve been a little icky if they had ended up romantically involved). So, of course, there being no romance was a big yay for me. Still, there was so much happening in this fast-paced novel, the story wasn’t affected in ANY way by the lack of romance.
Fans of dystopian novels weary of reading all the same old tired elements in this genre will have a field day. In Orleans the world didn’t end, it simply moved on. The only difference is that New Orleans became Orleans as the Delta was quarantined and cordoned off from the rest of the U.S. because of the incurable, contagious Delta Fever. Life goes on as usual for those in the rest of the country, but in Orleans life has gone back to a time before modern civilization where tribe means life. Take my word for it though, it’s not an easy life. It has become a world where stealth, sacrifice, and strategic survival skills mean the difference between life and death. There’s no revolution or a self-righteous protagonist on her quest for a better world. It’s just a selfless teen protecting what is dear to her and her quest to find this baby a home outside of the horrors of an existence she can’t escape. It’s not about her at all, just the baby. I also enjoyed Orleans because it has a varied cast of characters and a wicked twist near the end. Orleans is all about survival, and the author deftly misleads the reader to trust the wrong characters. That, of course, leads to a whole bunch of surprises.
The only frustration I had with this book is that there isn’t a sequel. Honestly, that’s it! It ended in such a way that it seemed there might be a follow-up, but as far as I can tell this is a stand-alone. I really, REALLY, would’ve liked for there to be more. Anyway, I recommend this book to everyone, no matter their genre of preference. It was unmistakable how much research, effort, and imagination went into this plot, the characters, and the world-building. I was more concerned with how Fen was going to keep that newborn alive, and that, dear ones, kept me riveted and invested in these characters. I believe everyone who reads this book will find something to take away from it at the end.
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Posted April 14, 2014
I Love this book
I truly did not want this story to end - such an interesting concept to create New Orleans in a post apocolyptic world. Please someone make a movie out of this one!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 31, 2013
Definitely one of the better YA dystopias in recent memory... ri
Definitely one of the better YA dystopias in recent memory... rich characters, a unique setting, and creative world building. I really enjoyed it, and would easily recommend to fans of the genre and even those who tend to prefer realistic fiction -- Orleans really felt like "realistic fiction" set just a few decades in the future!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 12, 2013
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