The Scourge

The Scourge

5.0 1
by Jennifer A. Nielsen

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As a lethal plague sweeps through the land, Ani Mells is shocked when she is unexpectedly captured by the governor's wardens and forced to submit to a test for the deadly Scourge. She is even more surprised when the test results come back positive, and she is sent to Attic Island, a former prison turned refuge -- and quarantine colony -- for the ill. The Scourge's


As a lethal plague sweeps through the land, Ani Mells is shocked when she is unexpectedly captured by the governor's wardens and forced to submit to a test for the deadly Scourge. She is even more surprised when the test results come back positive, and she is sent to Attic Island, a former prison turned refuge -- and quarantine colony -- for the ill. The Scourge's victims, Ani now among them, can only expect to live out short, painful lives there. However, Ani quickly discovers that she doesn't know the whole truth about the Scourge or the Colony. She's been caught in a devious plot, and, with the help of her best friend, Weevil, Ani means to uncover just what is actually going on.

But will she and Weevil survive long enough to do so?

The Scourge is an explosively thrilling tale of adventure and intrigue, courage and heart from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer A. Nielsen.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Best friends Ani and Weevil are part of a loyal, hardworking community of River People living under the thumb of Governor Felling of Keldan, who denies them voting rights and infringes on their borders. Though they have little, Ani, an only child, and fatherless Weevil are devoted to each other. When Ani and Della, the well-heeled daughter of a prominent Keldan family, are taken to Attic Island after testing positive for the Scourge, a deadly and incurable plague, Weevil joins them. There, Ani finds herself in trouble as she tests the boundaries of the wardens’ powers. As Ani mysteriously gets stronger while Della weakens, she and Weevil discover a band of dissidents who claim to be cured of the Scourge. The dissidents’ belief that River People are “dirty” and “cowards” is overturned as they work with Ani and Weevil to uncover a conspiracy. Nielsen’s (A Night Divided) polished fantasy smoothly combines medieval elements with hints of mystery and romance. Though the plot is conventional, it delivers a significant message about how misinformation breeds intolerance. Ages 10–14. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Aug.)
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Under orders from Governor Felling, wardens enter the River People's country to extract five grubs, a derogatory name given to its citizens. But the grub, Ani Mells, turns out to be a handful. When Ani is tested for the Scourge, a disease plaguing the people of Keldan, she gets quarantined on Attic Island with the other Colonists who test positive for the disease. The problem is, patients enter the island but never leave. Ani suspects there is more going on than meets the eye, and in order to survive, she must uncover the truth. The story quickly advances from there, with Ani embroiled in a fight for her life. The characters are well defined and memorable. Feisty Ani, a likable character who is thoughtful and strong, drives the story forward and keeps readers wanting to know more. VERDICT A solid choice for readers who enjoy tales of strong heroines set in the ever-popular dystopian genre.—Robyn Gioia, Antilles Middle School, Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico
Kirkus Reviews
A baffling illness threatens a fantasy land.Ani's up in a tree picking a vinefruit when wardens capture her. She's done nothing wrong, but the wardens say that the red stain on her arm from the vinefruit juice is a symptom of the Scourge, a deadly, contagious, always-fatal disease. It's clearly a pretext: before they found her, Ani heard them mention their assignment to "come get" several people of Ani's ethnic group. The River People—forbidden from voting or owning property, not bathing "often enough"—are a stereotypical blend of Romany and indigenous peoples. The ruling townsfolk, on the other hand, have no specified ethnicity and seem white. The governor diagnoses Ani and her best friend, Weevil, with the Scourge and sends them to the Colony, a quarantined island from which nobody returns. (Colony wardens, oddly, seem immune to the Scourge.) Ani and Weevil play Colony rabble-rousers, resisting unfair treatment and working to untangle the governor's statement that "River People are the Scourge." Nielsen provides two major plot twists, and both are robust and horrifying in content; however, the method and pace of divulging them are meandering and vague, lacking punch. Characters are stock, and the prose sometimes overexplains, even stretching beyond Ani's first-person voice to reveal other characters' emotions.Predictable execution hampers what could have been an intriguing exploration of the mechanics of corruption. (Fantasy. 10-13)
From the Publisher

Praise for A Night Divided:

"Like Anne Frank before her, Gerta is small but mighty, a hardheaded heroine who dreams up big ideas and refuses to give up in the face of adversity and danger. Nielsen (Mark of the Thief) evokes the constant unease of life in a divided Berlin through Gerta's sober narration... but the family never loses sight of the power of humility and forgiveness." -- Publishers Weekly

"Nielsen, best known for her fantasy novels, proves she is equally skilled at historical fiction in this solidly structured, balanced account of the origins of an infamous historical landmark... The novel's strong setting and tense climax will keep readers engrossed and holding their breath until the last page." -- School Library Journal

Praise for Mark of the Thief:

"The fast-paced, ingenious plot, charismatic hero and highly diverse cast of characters -- including the ancient, eternal city itself -- make this series opener a captivating joy ride." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Perfect for Rick Riordan fans." -- San Francisco Chronicle

"Fans of Nielsen's Ascendance trilogy will be clamoring for this new series. This genre mash-up of history, fantasy, and action/adventure is fast-paced and explores themes such as class struggles, familial ties, and the immorality of slavery." -- School Library Journal

Praise for the Ascendance Trilogy:

A New York Times Notable Children's Book

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year

A Chicago Public Library "Best of the Best" Children's Book

A Cybils Award Winner

"[A] pageturner." -- The New York Times BookReview

"Sage proves to be a compelling character whose sharp mind and shrewd self-possession will make readers eager to follow him into a sequel." -- The Wall Street Journal

"A swashbuckling origin story... chock-full of alluring details for adventure-loving boys." -- Los Angeles Times

• "An impressive, promising story." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

"A fast-paced and thrilling read with twists and turns that never let up." -- School Library Journal

"Gripping." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Should appeal to fans of... Suzanne Collins... [A] surefire mix of adventure, mystery, and suspense." -- The Horn Book


Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

 Jennifer A. Nielsen is the acclaimed author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Ascendance Trilogy: The False Prince, The Runaway King, and The Shadow Throne. She has also written the standalone fantasy The Scourge, the historical thriller A Night Divided, the fantasy series Mark of the Thief and Rise of the Wolf, as well as Book Six of the Infinity Ring series, Behind Enemy Lines. Jennifer lives in northern Utah with her husband, their three children, and a perpetually muddy dog.


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The Scourge 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago