Monday, October 17, 2011

The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch

The Eleventh PlagueThe Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Stephen Quinn has grown up in a post-apocalyptic United States. The U.S. has been ravaged by war with China, a plague and the systemic fall of society as we know it. The military has turned to human trafficking and slavery, human decency is at an all time low and there is no one to trust but yourself. Stephen has just lost his grandfather, and his father has fallen down and is gravely injured. It is up to Stephen to keep his father and himself safe and try to find shelter. Then he meets people that have form a town and he must decide whether he can trust them and be the hero they need or go back to being the scavenger he and his father are.

It’s impossible not to compare this book to The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Both books are about a father and son in a ravaged land trying to survive. But, whereas The Road is about the father and his relationship and great love for the kid, The Eleventh Plague is about the son, the way he has grown up in this ravaged world and his hope for a semblance of a family and a future.

The book is very good and I read it rather quickly. The narrative was beautiful. Jeff Hirsch is quite talented at writing visual narrative. I could just picture the glint of the gold ring each time Stephen remembered his grandfather hitting him. Hirch also created great and compelling characters. The books goes incredibly fast and before you know it you are done. Although the author does give you a lot of information about the United States, the war, what has been happening, I can’t help but feel it was half formed. I wish we had learned more about the Chinese occupants in the West. There is a lot of potential there. I guess the author could use the character of Jenny to explore that angle.

This books is marked as a young-adult book but everyone will enjoy it. It is very good.

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