Sunday, 29 May 2016

Book Review: Concealed by RJ Crayton (Virus #1)

They said it was extremely hard to get.
They said it wasn’t airborne.
They said there was nothing to fear.
They were wrong.

Seventeen-year-old Elaan Woodson was supposed to be one of the lucky ones. She got one of the few spots in the subterranean protection unit designed to keep select scientists, military officials and their families safe from the deadly virus ravaging the world above.

But, how lucky are you really when the people in charge and those you love keep secrets from you? While Elaan has heard that what you don’t know can’t hurt you, she’s beginning to think otherwise. And she should…

My Review:
*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Before I go any further, I need to make it clear that there is nothing wrong with this book, despite my 2 star rating above. I agreed to review this for the author despite it being YA, which was a concern to me. I used to read a ton of YA but as time has went on, I find that it isn't much to my taste now so I don't really read it. I based my decision to read this on two main things-the virus plot, which I read a lot of in zombie and apocalypse books, and the fact that I enjoy the way this author puts a story together, based on her Life First series. I decide whether or not a book is suited to my tastes based on blurb and reviews, so with no review details and a vague blurb, I had nothing to work with. I don't need spoilers in my blurb but I do prefer to know if the book features action or romance or whatever so I can make a more informed choice about what to read.

There is plenty to compliment in this book so lets start with the good. The main characters are interesting and well written. Elaan is a nice, normal girl, stuck in a scientific compound while her father and other scientists look for a cure for the deadly virus killing people above ground. It makes a change not to have whiny brat YA MC's so hats off to the author for that. I liked the main three well enough. The virus took Elaan's mother and threatens the life of her brother Elijah should he be exposed to it, though she is immune, along with her friend Josh. The plot ideas are decent and there are a few twists introduced as the story moves along. The author knows exactly how to tell the story and it has cohesion, a good flow and is nicely written. I liked one of the side characters but we don't really get a chance to see much of her. The reason for this becomes obvious later in the book as the plot develops.

Why two stars? Basically 2 stars is too low for this book so if I could I would give it 2.5 stars. This is based on the fact that I gave the other series by the author, which I liked more, 3 stars and above, and I can't give 3 stars to something I didn't really take to. It is certainly not a 2 star book but on Goodreads I have no half star options which would have been helpful! So I better explain the minor points that led me to this rating.

Based on the blurb, I was expecting a fast paced virus story set in the compound, maybe with a sudden outbreak or psycho releasing a strain or something similar. I guess I read so many apocalypse viral novels which contain this storyline that I expect something similar each time. This is not how the story panned out however. The main focus on the first fifty pages or so was introducing the dynamic between Elaan, Josh and Elijah, which would be vital to the story later. Everyone seems to disaprove of Elaan and Josh having a relationship but nobody is prepared to explain why to her. The emphasis on this was not my favourite plot device. To be totally honest, I wasn't greatly interested in the teen relationship of Elaan and Josh. I'm just not a fan of romance overall. But that is just a personal thing. There is not a heavy emphasis on the romance in what I read but I would have liked a more action based virus story.

By the time it looked as if things were developing with the virus plot, I'd already decided that the story wasn't really for me. I imagine that I would maybe like the second half better, based on where I stopped reading, but I had already decided not to read on as it was proving to be 'not my thing'. This does not mean that the story was dead slow or boring, because it wasn't in any way. It's purely that the book went a different way from my personal tastes, which is hardly the fault of the author. It just happens with some books and it's a pity that it wasn't for me.

As I said, this is not a bad book in any way! Those who like YA dystopian and don't mind a slightly slower start to introduce the characters, and the focus on mild romance will probably really enjoy it. It just wasn't my kind of read, sadly. Don't let my review put you off reading this or other books by this author as she is a very good storyteller.

2.5 stars. 

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