Thursday, 24 October 2013

Book Review: Sick by Tom Leveen

Breakfast Club meets The Walking Dead as a group of unlikely allies tries to survive a deadly outbreak.

Brian and his friends are not part of the cool crowd. They’re the misfits and the troublemakers—the ones who jump their high school’s fence to skip class regularly. So when a deadly virus breaks out, they’re the only ones with a chance of surviving.

The virus turns Brian’s classmates and teachers into bloodthirsty attackers who don’t die easily. The whole school goes on lockdown, but Brian and his best friend, Chad, are safe (and stuck) in the theater department—far from Brian’s sister, Kenzie, and his ex-girlfriend with a panic attack problem, Laura. Brian and Chad, along with some of the theater kids Brian had never given the time of day before, decide to find the girls and bring them to the safety of the theater. But it won’t be easy, and it will test everything they thought they knew about themselves and their classmates.

I had a lot of high hopes for Sick.  It looked awesome with a wicked cover and synopsis, it also has an awesome tagline that promised much.  In parts Sick delivered but in others I found it fell a little flat.

There were issues with the plot.  It all made sense and flowed nicely but it didn’t always keep my attention.  It started slowly and for a while nothing seemed to happen and I was concerned that things would never get going but the pace did quicken and things got a lot more interesting.  There were some great moments of horror, Tom Leveen didn’t shy away from the icky, gory stuff which was good.  I did want a little more action as those were the stand out moments in the book for me.  The ending (or lack of it) was also a bit of an issue.  It just seemed to end with nothing really resolved.

The writing was strong throughout.  There was plenty of description and world building but what this book really lacked was explanation.  I wanted to know more about the virus, more of what was happening around the country and world and a lot more of the fall out and consequences at the end.  This book had a fairly adult approach to things and contained some strong violence, gore and language which didn’t bother me too much but might not be appropriate for a younger reader.  All in all Leveen handles these adult touches well, although there was maybe a little too much swearing for my tastes (but is probably an accurate portrayal of the language of teenage boys.)

Characters were also hit and miss.  This book is told from Brian’s point of view and I found him pretty hard to connect with.  He had no personality and was solely interested in saving his sister and ex-girlfriend no matter the cost to others around him (the cost for some being their lives).  I understood his concerns but he did not seem bothered at all about people dying for his cause which was an issue as it did bother me. 

Some of the secondary characters were a lot more interesting.  Chad and Jamie were stand outs as was Brian’s ex Laura, who we are constantly told has anxiety issues and can’t cope with stressful situations or look after herself…but when everything goes wrong she proved that there was more to her than meets the eye.

Overall Sick is a quick and enjoyable read that had a lot going for it but could have been a bit more exciting.

3 stars

Published October 1st 2013 by Harry N. Abram.  A free copy was provided for review.  All images taken from Goodreads 

Review by Kate Phillips

1 comment:

  1. It's a bummer that parts of it were a bit slow, but parts of it sound fun...and that's saying something because I detest zombies. Thanks for the review!


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