Author: Kat Falls
Series: Fetch #1
Rating: 3 / 5 stars
ARC received from the publisher for an honest review.
Even though I read the description and knew this novel revolved around mutations, I was still expecting zombies for some reason. Indeed, as you start reading, the whole world is set up as the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. The premise is not that different in this novel if you just replace brain eating zombies with animal zombies.
I am not sure how an infection/virus/disease would work that would mix animal DNA with human DNA and make you slowly turn into(physical attributes as well as behavioral) the animal whose DNA has been mixed, but I tried not to dwell on the question much because when I did, I came up on the complete opposite end of the spectrum than the world that Falls creates.
Like most of the current YA fiction realm, this story revolves around a young female narrator. Quite early on into the novel, she meets two new boys, and a triangle develops almost instantly. Nothing original in that side of the plot. She is a sheltered girl who has her life flipped when she discovers that her father is not the innocent art dealer she always thought. When he goes missing and his life ends up in danger thanks to a corrupt "government" worker, she sets out on a race against the clock to find her dad in the scary world past the protection of the walls around her town into the feral world. Again, a basic premise that is not 100% original.
Falls does add a twist with the mutated people that instead of acting like zombies, are at least in part animalistic from a viral disease that has killed off much of the population of the world (the whole issue of the ferals brings up the questioning of what makes us "human", and the fine line that separates us from all the other mammals out there). Only a few scattered townships/cities still exist with no formal government in place anymore.
Once Lane ventures out into the feral world is when the plot really begins to take a dive. Up until this point, I was really enjoying the novel as it starts off strong even though she uses hand sanitizer around 100 times in the first 30 pages (and then, ironically, later when she is surrounded by germs and manimals, suddenly she no longer has the Monkish need to feel clean/protected. Interesting. If you are going to give a character such a pronounced characteristic, please follow through on it throughout the entirety of the novel). And while I never really connected fully with Lane, she wasn't as obnoxious as a lot of current day "heroine" narrators. In this novel, it was the plot over the characters that really got me.
First, we introduce a serial killer. Enter the smart ass, many times obnoxious Rafe. The subplot of the serial killer is his write in/reasoning to continue his journey with her initially (we get another more realistic reason a little further down the line, though it all just seemed a little too coincidental for my liking). This whole serial killer plot was awkward for the majority of the novel and the twistish plotline involving the return of it later in the book did not impress me.
The twist involving Everson (about his reasoning for joining the crusade) is the one that did surprise me although, again, it was far too coincidental for my liking. But regardless of the two "love interests", my real issue with the plot revolves around her dad. While it is the centerpiece for the main plot of the novel and her entire reasoning behind venturing out into the feral world, it takes a backseat for the last 50% of the novel. And yes, at least this plot line is resolved (kind of) in the end, but it (too!) seemed highly coincidental and the resolution of the plot line felt far too thrown together as an aftermath in an attempt to bring closure at the end of the novel, while still leaving enough gaps to continue with the next in the Fetch series.
Overall, it was unique enough that I enjoyed it, but I am still waiting for a release this year to really just blow my mind away.