You had to know I’d be excited about The Farm by Emily McKay. Yes, we’re all dystopian/post-apocalyptic old-timers and we’ve gone down every possible sparkly road with vampires, but isn’t there room left for some originality? Emily McKay proves NOT, but man did her vampires give me shudders down my already wimpy limp spine. The most awesome thing about this book wasn’t, in fact, the characters or the world-building, or even, PREPARE YOURSELVES, the romance *silence* –bangs fist onto faulty record player-. It was the nonstop surprises, action, and the perpetually thrilling atmosphere. I almost expected Bruce Willis to show up and give everybody pointers (if there was one man who would survive an outbreak of man-slaughtering vampires…). Only this wouldn’t be The Farm; it would be Live Safe or Die Fanged. *snorts*
Ok, What Had Happened Was: Somebody made a disease, which resulted in these nasty big blood-sucking buggers called Ticks (zombies meets vampires on –insertanydrugthatwouldworkhere-), and teenagers have been penned as a food source. Some are sacrificed regularly under the guise of punishment to keep the deadly monsters from ripping at the fences. And we have a grumpy, on-the-edge main character as a result. Lily, along with her twin, Mel, are about to age out and lose the protection of their grim prison. NOBODY PANIC though because Lily’s got a plan. It’s just not a very good one that falls to ruin in a matter of a few pages after months of careful planning. And of course there’s also a boy from her nerdy past in the way who has a super ugly secret that we’re not supposed to know, relating to the fact that Lily is a very desirable young lady who attracts trouble. Can she escape the confines of the farm and possibly make time to SAVE THE WORLD? Only McKay will tell.
Yeah, the first half of The Farm by Emily McKay was what I was expecting, and kind of wanting at the time. It’s all planning and sweat-inducing risks, including a Look At How Bad My World Is-athon, which is anxiety-producing and edgy and… fun? Whatevs, I like that stuff. I like the darkness, desperation, and unanswered questions produced by a post-apocalyptic/dystopian world. But I was most looking forward to the actual escape. I thought The Farm by Emily McKay was going to be a tale of closer-than-close sisters with desperation at their backs chasing them into danger and more danger. I expected this awesome bond between two interesting characters fighting their way out and doing it all by their own cleverness.
This might be a lesson stopping all expectations henceforth, because I never get what I want.
Lily is annoyingly, yet understandably, obstinate. I dug her excessive caution and her bravery when it came to defending herself or her sister. But she’s so closed off it’s unreasonable to expect any of your rationed supply of sympathy to make a break for her direction. Mel, the twin, is hardly given enough credit to know how to breathe let alone be brilliant, yet she most often is and there wasn’t nearly enough spotlight on her. I admit it would’ve taken me ALL OF LIFE to decipher her narration but hers sure would’ve been a whole heck of a lot more easy on the mind. Carter, the not-so-secret love of Lily’s preteen years, has made an abrupt and suspicious return in her life, and doesn’t want to cough up any plausible, logical explanations. He’s there with an ulterior motive, and is so confused about what he feels I’m even confused even after he finally gets himself somewhat sorted out. There are a few more characters that join the foray and are intended to make things interesting but they don’t. THEY JUST DON’T.
I felt nothing. Until stuff started catching fire and people got eaten. My tension was like an impending slingshot accident. Once I cut loose, there was bound to be repercussions (there were). Even though nothing about this book is super believable, the fighting and escaping and chasing livened things up considerably so that I had fun (weird word choice but nonetheless true). Ultimately, I was looking for a dark, wild ride and that’s basically what I got. I probably won’t jump back on right away next year, but I might be willing to endanger my sanity eventually.
I received this title for review from Penguin Teen.
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