Thursday, 26 May 2016

Book Review: Reduced by Robin Tidwell

A devastating biological agent is about to be released, to be tested in remote areas. Rumor has it, though, that there is more to this than meets the eye. One group makes plans to hide out, and survive, in case that rumor proves to be truth. Meeting at an abandoned summer camp near St. Louis, Missouri, a dozen old friends gather after the alarm is raised.

Life becomes more precious, more tenuous, as time passes. Government controls tighten, people are herded into the city…or killed. Towns are obliterated. And soon, the enemy agenda becomes obvious.

Abby, like the rest, has special skills – each member of the group was chosen not only because of past ties, but also for their unique training and abilities. She will come face-to-face with death, bear the responsibility for a young girl, and endure the severing of childhood relationships in the most terrible way imaginable.

From mere concealment to reconnaissance to aiding a rebellion, where will it end? Will the entire region be decimated, and who will be left alive to know?

My Review: 
I really wasn't impressed with this story at all. I'm obviously not seeing what other reviewers saw in this and I was very disappointed with what I read.

We jump into the plot where some kind of virus is infecting and killing people and our hero MC Abby is running from it, trying to get to a safe place where she will be meeting a collection of friends. It's not exactly clear what the virus is, how it spreads, what it does to the people who are infected, how it fact, in the opening part of the book we get no information about it at all. So I started the book feeling a bit lost at to what was actually happening.

Abby stops at a shop for supplies and has a run in with three 'evil teens', who she ends up killing. This was confusing as I'm not really sure WHY they are evil. Are they infected with this mystery virus? It sounds like it but why is it such a threat to Abby? How contagious is it? Are they fully human? Are they about to go zombie or psycho or something? Why were they such a threat that they had to be killed? I'm not really sure to be honest. I don't feel that things are being explained by the author. Either the author thinks they have been clear enough and don't need to say more, or it is a deliberate plot choice to keep the reader in the dark. Whichever it is, I didn't like it much.

Even when we get to their safe compound, the fog of confusio remains. It's safe to assume that they are some kind of preppers who have met previously and discussed disaster plans. They are organising their camp to keep everyone safe, and various jobs are assigned to people based on their skills. But what I don't like is that the compound leaders seem to be very vague about what was happening, keeping information from the other characters, meaning yet again the reader is wondering what we have not been told. It is all way too vague.

For me, I like to begin a book knowing at least something about it, especially when it is some kind of virus. I don't need to know everything about it but at the start, it seems important to have a background of what the virus is, how it starts and how it spreads. It's vital to know how it spreads so you can see the danger in situations for the characters. If I don't know how it spreads or what it is, how can I feel the tension and excitement in each scenario that the characters face? It just doesn't work.

The book also seems to be drifting into government conspiracy and a new evil political party storyline. Yeah ok, it's not my favourite plot but I wouldn't mind this if the basics were covered. I don't want to know about the complex conspiracy when I don't know anything about the virus yet. It was all mixed up and unorganised for me. It was vague, lacked any kind of cohesion or flow, and I wasn't impressed by the way the plot was set out. The characters also lacked depth and interest and I felt the plot sort of floated around without any direction.

Overall it was a massive disappointment and I wasn't inspired to finish it.
star rating photo: 1 star orange-1star.jpg


  1. I am sorry to hear this was a disappointed read for you, I also had one of those lately. It sure sounds like a confusing start of the book with the virus not getting explained and the killing of the "evil teens". I always like to get as much information about things like that so I think that would bother me as well. It's hard to get a grip on the story when everything stays so vague i am sorry to hear this one didn't work for you, I hope your next read is better!

    1. I hate sitting there thinking 'what's going on???' The evil teens bit was really annoying and I wanted to hit the ereader! I started reading something last night that showed promise so fingers crossed...