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4.5 14
by Chris Wooding

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The final exam is survival.

Paul is the new kid at Mortingham Boarding Academy, and he has a dark secret.
Caitlyn admires Paul from afar and resents that he only has eyes for Erika.
Erika thinks that she and Caitlyn are best friends, but she's wrong.
Adam is a bully with a major chip on his shoulder.
Mark is outgrowing his old friends but doesn't


The final exam is survival.

Paul is the new kid at Mortingham Boarding Academy, and he has a dark secret.
Caitlyn admires Paul from afar and resents that he only has eyes for Erika.
Erika thinks that she and Caitlyn are best friends, but she's wrong.
Adam is a bully with a major chip on his shoulder.
Mark is outgrowing his old friends but doesn't know how to make new ones.

In a few short hours, none of this will matter. Without warning, a horrifying infection will spread across the school grounds, and a group of students with little in common will find themselves barricaded in a classroom, fighting for their lives. Some will live. Some will die. And then it will get even worse.

Fast-paced and frightening, Silver is a tale set on the fringes of science and horror - a story about the struggle to survive in the face of impossible odds.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this atmospheric thriller, Wooding (Pandemonium) ushers in the end of the world, with the point of origination being a secluded English boarding school. The appearance of strange silver beetles on the grounds of Mortingham Academy are the spark for a terrifying biomechanical infestation that leaps from animals to humans, much like a zombie plague. As the few survivors who take refuge in the science building soon learn, the Infected are growing smarter and more aggressive, and are changing shape to take on new, deadlier functions. With the body count rising and time running out, a small group of students that include a conflicted leader, the school bully, and a technologically-proficient outcast must find a way to escape an increasingly hopeless situation. Wooding cleverly sets the mood with ghost stories and a creepy backdrop before turning the Infected hordes loose on his rapidly dwindling cast—blink and you may miss some deaths. While he plays with zombie tropes, his science-fiction twist allows for an exciting, unpredictable, and unsettling story. Ages 12–up. Agent: Carolyn Whitaker, London Independent Books. (Apr.)
From the Publisher

"An imaginative tour de force."–PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, starred review
"Eerie and exhilarating."–SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, starred review
"Readers will get finger cramps from rapidly turning the pages of Wooding's gripping tale."–KIRKUS REVIEWS, starred review
Praise for POISON:
"A compelling read."–KIRKUS REVIEWS, starred review
"Each scene of danger sings with tension. Lovers of adventure, horror, and suspense should keep an eye on this talented author."–HORN BOOK MAGAZINE

Praise for STORM THIEF:

"This stunning work of speculative fiction will appeal to Wooding's fans and earn him new ones."–KIRKUS REVIEWS, starred review

Booklist Starred Review
A couple of boys on a biology field trip uncover a silver creature with chitin markings eerily like a computer chip. But it is only the first of many horrible creatures whose scratches turn humans into silver insects—or the Infected. It’s a biological weapon experiment gone awry, a horrifying precursor to an evil world bent on destroying itself. The challenge for a lucky (?) few Mortingham Boarding Academy students: how to survive and perhaps, more importantly, what happens if they do? Wooding has morphed a traditional English boarding school story—bullies, evil headmaster, well-intentioned teacher, and boy/girl drama—into a horror/survival story that would make William Golding and Gary Paulsen envious. The ugly, morphing Infected are graphic, both awe-inspiring and terrifying, as they devour their comrades to become larger, more intelligent, and more vicious. The tension is palpable as a small group of teens gradually out-thinks its few remaining adult leaders, thus leading the scant remaining survivors in a quest to escape. Is “sometimes being nice being stupid” or can goodness actually prevail? Carve out enough time to read Silver in a single sitting. You’ll need it.

Voya Reviews, April 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 1) - Erin Segreto
Located in a secluded area of England in a former sanatorium, Mortingham Boarding Academy is a pretty typical boarding school, that is, until four students with little in common are forced to fight for their lives and help each other survive a potentially deadly destiny. Paul is a new student with a dark past no one knows about. He has a crush on Erika, the most beautiful and popular girl in school. Erika believes Caitlyn to be her best friend and is oblivious that Caitlyn is in love with Paul and resents Erika for the attention she gets from him. Adam is a bully with a violent demeanor, and the tension between he and Paul hangs heavily in the aftermath of a fight between them. Mark is trying to break away from the nerdy crowd and fit in with Paul’s popular group of friends. When a bite from a mysterious silver beetle causes two students to become deathly ill, fear spreads, as no one can identify its species or understand why it is so deadly. Beetles are just the beginning. On a dark and rainy night, Paul and the headmaster are attacked by a large silver dog comprised of flesh and machine. The headmaster suffers a scratch to his arm that produces metallic silver tendrils that take over his body, and he begins to go crazy. Soon other students and staff become infected. Paul, Erika, Caitlyn, and Adam must learn to work together if they are to survive. Silver is a nail-biter that is a wonderful blend of terror and mystery. Wooding expertly paces the suspense until the very last page. There are moments in the story that seem unbelievable, however, such as locking an infected girl in a classroom with a window to easily escape from, and an attempt at repairing a helicopter using spark plugs from cars. But when you are running from flesh-eating half-humans you might try anything. In spite of past behavior, Paul, Erika, Caitlyn, Adam, and Mark learn to work together and help others. Surprisingly, one of them even makes the ultimate sacrifice. This book is perfect for zombie and science fiction fans, as well as anyone who loves a good thriller. Reviewer: Erin Segreto; Ages 11 to 18.
Children's Literature - Toni Jourdan
Paul, a new student at the Mortingham Boarding Academy, is trying to fit in; but his past is a shadow forever hovering over him. Adam, the class bully picks a fight with him on what begins as an ordinary day but ends as anything but. Not many will forget this day and not many will survive it either. Most students have gone home for the weekend, when a couple of the boys find a silver beetle that looks robot-like. Adam smashes it with his foot. The remaining students search for more beetles, one of which attacks a student. Paul is relegated to his room because of the fight; but when he sees what looks like a big dog outside his window, he goes out to investigate. Headmaster Mr. Harrison follows to punish him for leaving his room but is attacked by the dog “thing.” Paul helps him to the infirmary, where his wounds start being overtaken by silver circuits and he becomes vicious and animal-like. Meanwhile, Caitlyn, who has a crush on Paul, has pretended to be friends with the pretty and popular Erika (keeping her enemy close). Then there is Mark, a nerdy brainiac who just wants to fit in, and Mr. Sutton, the nice science teacher who realizes early on that the silver beetle is something to be reckoned with. They battle a virus that turns organic matter into metal and circuits within the flesh, taking over the individuals mind and body. Their only weakness is bursts of light; but as they quickly adapt, that may not last. A futuristic, well-written end-of-the-world tale in which teens are forced to take the lead saving the world from a mash-up of robotic type zombies. The friendships made in the face of diversity are admirable. Reviewer: Toni Jourdan; Ages 12 up.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Orphaned when his parents die in a plane crash, Paul Camber opts to go to Mortingham Academy, rather than live with his childless aunt and uncle. Arriving midyear, he keeps to himself, until the boarding school finds itself in a science-fiction nightmare that begins with an unusual find during a biology-lab outing. Andrew and Graham become ill after being bitten by two unusually large silvery beetles covered with circuitlike lines. The school nurse asks Paul to go for help when a storm causes a power outage, and he soon realizes that the beetles aren't the only creatures on campus morphing into aggressive, silver nano-machines. Under the direction of a favorite teacher, Paul and a loner named Mark herd healthy students into the science block, boarding up windows and doors to keep out the Infected. In a fast-paced series of battles, Mr. Sutton is killed and the students, who once disliked each other (fleshed out in separate point-of-view chapters at the start), must find common ground in order to survive. Individual strengths, such as leadership skills and science knowledge, are utilized to produce weapons, such as molotov cocktails, to stall off the rabid attackers. Tension is maintained to an uncertain end and the probability of a dystopian world in which Paul and his friends feel confident to navigate. The imaginative details of a virus that turns organic matter into circuitry will appeal to middle-grade science-fiction and horror fans as well as reluctant readers.—Vicki Reutter, State University of New York at Cortland
Kirkus Reviews
When strange insects assault a remote boarding school in England, the kids try to save the day in this tense page-turner. As the new boy at school, Paul keeps a family tragedy a secret, but his experience in coping with it thrusts him into a leadership position when an unfamiliar, silver-colored beetle turns up on campus. Any creature bitten by the beetles, including humans, quickly grows a silver-colored outer shell and clearly loses thinking capacity, shuffling around and trying to scratch or bite others. As they proliferate, however, they develop a kind of collective intelligence and begin to work together to conquer the entire school. Barricaded in the science block, Paul and a few others fight a seeming losing battle against the creatures. While that fight provides enough suspense for the novel, Wooding deepens the narrative by developing highly distinctive characters. Caitlyn hates her supposed friend Erika, and that emotion will play a part in the later plot. Adam, the school bully, may finally find what he's really been looking for during his fight. Most importantly, however, Paul will learn that his leadership abilities trump even those of the adults on the scene. Skillfully managed subplots keep the pages flying. It looks like the end of the world is nigh.... It's just all kinds of white-knuckle fun. (Horror. 12 & up)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Chris Wooding began writing at the age of 16, and his first novel Crashing was published when he was 19. Since that time, he's written dozens of novels in several genres, notably the award-winning The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray; Poison; Storm Thief; the Malice series; and the graphic novel, Pandemonium.

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Silver 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
tpolen More than 1 year ago
This YA apocalyptic/horror/sci-fi was definitely fast-paced and took place over less than 24 hours. Just don't get too attached to the characters. As stated above, some will live and some will die. The setting, a secluded boarding school, was perfect for this story. Since there were more students than adults, some of the older kids were shoved into leadership roles whether they wanted them or not. With the boarding school being so secluded, the characters were mostly cut off from any help beyond their school ground walls and had to rely on each other. Initially, I was disappointed in the stereotypical cast of teenage characters - angst-ridden guy, princess, genius nerd, bully, jealous best friend - but I have to admit, the author went a step further and let the reader see inside the character's minds to gain a better understanding of them and see how they developed by the end of the story. The explanation for the origin of the infection seemed a little thin, but there were definitely some tense moments in the story and it held my attention. Although I'm not sure if there is a planned sequel to this novel, the ending left it wide open to continue the story. I would recommend this quick read for people who enjoy sci-fi/apocalyptic books with more emphasis on action. This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is... different, but if you like drama and apocolyptic kind of books, then you'll like this. It's a twist on the classic zombie theme. It's pretty entertaining as well.
chapterxchapter More than 1 year ago
The premise for Silver by author Chris Wooding was mysterious and had me interested in finding out where the novel was headed. I was expecting some sort of generic dystopic novel and was surprised to find that Silver is not your everyday outbreak story. It freaked me out. Terrified me at times and was pretty freaking addictive for a book about a zombie/cyborg virus outbreak. Silver is set at a boarding school in the United Kingdom where five different students are all about to face their greatest fears. After being bitten by a metallic bug a student falls under the effects of an unknown illness, only hours after that does he fall into a rabid state. It doesn’t take long for multiple students to succumb to the infection, becoming robot-like zombies, tearing the flesh of their fellow classmates with their teeth. Spreading their disease. For teens Paul, Caitlyn, Erika, Adam and Mark this is the start of their own personal hell. Trapped at Mortingham Boarding Academy the students must now find a way to safety without becoming a part of the growing horde that wants nothing more than to kill them or make them join their numbers. Trapping themselves in a building with seemingly no way out the group finds that the world outside may be terrifying but that they should be more afraid not of what’s outside but of what must come next. I loved the way that Silver started (with two of the characters getting in a fist fight). And within the first hundred pages I was already hooked I had expected it to be a pretty tame horror novel but boy was I wrong. It’s a thrilling, graphically detailed story that kept me on the edge of my seat. It reminded me of The Walking Dead and definitely kept me interested. This is a zombie novel with a twist, not making us see the mindless undead but instead mechanized humans who have been forced to merge with technology. Silver is innovative with an insanely consistent pace. Apart from that, Silver is also very well written. The way that the novel plays out, I found, made it easier to envision it inside your head while reading. The descriptions are perfect, the way the characters react to the situation was pretty the situation was pretty realistic and pretty intense. They obviously wanted to survive and their actions showed that accurately. I do think that there were certain characters I favored more than others (Caitlyn and Paul for the most part) who I felt were just more three dimensional than the others. My only real problem with the novel would have to be the ending. In comparison to the rest of Silver which was pretty realistic, innovative and pretty freaking crazy and intense—I expected something more dramatic and climatic than what was given to me as a reader. I felt a bit let down and suspect that there will be a sequel based on that ending. Am I interested in a sequel? Oh yeah. Will I read it? Oh yeah because I need to know why this virus exists and what’s going to happen to the remaining characters. I would recommend Silver to readers who are fans of the horror/thriller genre, readers who are fans of AMC’s The Walking Dead and want a sci-fi spin on it, and finally to any readers who just want a heart pounding novel that will leave you turning pages. Definitely one of the scariest novels that I’ve read this year.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it and especially how it took place in a remote boarding school and without phone lines and being in a valley....... it was destiny page by page and the plot was detailed on the creatures and how these teens destroyed a building network. Do me a favor and make a silver :D
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has lots of mystery action and some pretty in depth detail too
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This 5-star book is about how five kids are pulled together to help defend themselves from an infection that spreads across the school campus with little warning. These kids who have little in common will be tested and will have to learn how to adapt in order to survive.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Josiahisbatman1025 More than 1 year ago
This is a very good book if you’re looking for something suspenseful. I finished this book a couple of days ago and I loved it. The author did a great job on making the characters seem like they could be real people. The characters are also very relatable like Paul being the new kid in school or being invisible like Mark. You will get attached to the characters but you’ll regret it because some of them might not make it. I think that it's awesome to see the decisions that different characters make one different situations like a another character being bitten one character might want to save them and another might want to end them.  It’s also great to see the characters change throughout the story based on the decisions they make. The last thing I would like to say is the author does a great job on having the characters deal with each other in different situations.     
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Worth your time, a truly chilling yung adult novel. Cheaper to buy the paperback copy though..... Still amazing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've only gotten to chapter four, but it seems good!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The premise upon which this book is lied is amazing. The tone is surprising and the subject and emotion keeps you on your toes. Very chilling and creepy scary. In all it was insanely good. I would recommend this for ages maybe 12 or 13 to ages maybe 16 to 18 or beyond.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
With all the great sci-fi/paranormal/post-apocalyptic/dystopian/fantasy adventure books being written in the YA genre, I can't understand why a certain TV channel doesn't mine this resource rather than offering us epics like Boa-Piranha-Space-Tornado-Arachna-Sinkhole! A boarding school somewhere in the English countryside (no, not THAT one although some magic might have come in handy!) makes the perfect setting for something hinky. We have the new student Paul, feeling abandoned, angry, and untethered by his parents' abrupt deaths. He's not a good person for school bully, Adam - product of a long line of bullies - to pick on. The story begins with their fight egged on by bloodthirsty fellow students who are supposedly on a bio-walk bug hunt, collecting and recording the local insects. Thus we are introduced to the ineffectual Mr. Sutton, who loves teaching but lacks leadership qualities; and the terrifying headmaster, Mr. Harrison, who used to teach but lost his taste for students and gained a taste for power. Erika is the good student/pretty girl born to be admired and envied by lesser talented friend Caitlyn who adores Paul who lusts after Ericka who has a boyfriend already but just wants people to see her in a different light. Mark, the nerd, just wants anyone to see him in any light. This, the main cast, is thrown into a horrifying fight for survival when one of the collected bugs turns out to be something more than just a squashed insect, something a little more...silver. Scary, sinister, fast-paced, and action-packed, Chris Wooding's gem of a story is a little nanobytes vs. The Walking Dead, Westworld meets Lord of the Flies. He just better be working on a sequel. (And maybe Syfy channel should get his agent's number.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago