Young Adult 12/1/2017

In Book Reviews, Featured Book Review by Magan Szwarek

Plague Land by Alex Scarrow (Sourcebooks Fire, $10.99, 9781492652106)

THRILL RIDE

Post-apocalyptic horror meets science lesson in Plague Land, Scarrow’s adrenaline-packed rocket ride of a novel. Leon and his younger sister, Grace, have recently relocated from New Jersey to London with their British mother after their parents’ divorce. Leon, anxious and socially awkward, is fascinated with a brief report of a mysterious disease being reported from West Africa; a disease that turns Earth into Plague Land with breathtaking speed and in gruesome fashion. Human beings dissolve into putrid pools of gore within minutes of exposure, leaving behind only hair, teeth, and clothes. Following the advice of his conspiracy theory-obsessed father, Leon and his family flee London for the country only to be stranded on a train with a collection of terrified fellow passengers, unsure of how best to protect themselves from the unidentified pandemic. Alternating chapters, with points of view ranging from the first outbreak to other major cities to the virus itself, slowly reveal the magnitude of the calamity and foreshadow the horror to come. Leon’s experience as one of the few surviving humans is compelling and legitimately scary with an ending that teases the sequel perfectly. Put this in the hands of fans of Jonathan Maberry, Ilsa J. Bick, and Justin Cronin.

Magan Szwarek