Author: Bethany Wiggins
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Source: Walker Childrens for blog tour
Series? Not that I know of
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Romance, Thriller
Page Count: 304
Find It: Goodreads | Barnes and Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository | IndieBound
Rating: [4/5 stars]
There is no cure for being stung.
Fiona doesn’t remember going to sleep. But when she opens her eyes, she discovers her entire world has been altered—her house is abandoned and broken, and the entire neighborhood is barren and dead. Even stranger is the tattoo on her right hand—a black oval with five marks on either side—that she doesn’t remember getting but somehow knows she must cover at any cost. She’s right.
Those bearing the tattoo have turned into mindless, violent beasts that roam the streets and sewers, preying upon the unbranded while a select few live protected inside a fortress-like wall, their lives devoted to rebuilding society and killing all who bear the mark.
Now Fiona has awakened branded, alone—and on the wrong side of the wall. (summary from goodreads)
Bees scare the honey out of me. As there’s one featured on the cover of STUNG, I almost passed this book up the first time I saw it. But I love me some dystopian and post-apocalyptic books, and so after I read the blurb for STUNG, I knew I had to take a chance.
I’m happy I did. STUNG captured my attention from the beginning. Fiona wakes up, in her house, but something is wrong. The house is filthy, destroyed, and empty. Fiona last remembers being thirteen, but she’s no longer thirteen — years have passed while she was sleeping. She also has a mysterious tattoo on her hand, one that’s similar to the one on her brother’s. But Fiona’s brother isn’t there to explain things — he’s after her, and minutes after waking up, Fiona’s jumping out the bathroom window to escape.
The first several chapters are a wild ride. Fiona knows nothing about the world into which she’s awoken. It was a challenge to put the pieces together and figure out what happened. I liked being confused at the beginning, because it’s no fun to know the whole story before the main character does. I mostly liked Fiona. I thought the author did a good job of balancing Fiona’s past and present. There are some flashbacks scattered throughout STUNG that help explain what happened to make the world the way it is. The flashbacks also develop Fiona’s character.
In the world of STUNG, Colorado has separated from the rest of America and formed its own government. A militia protects a walled off inner society, where only people who are perfect and young are allowed to live and reproduce.
Back when the world was normal, honeybees were going extinct. So the government created genetically modified bees, because if there were no bees, crops wouldn’t grow, animals wouldn’t have food, people wouldn’t have animals to eat, etc. But the genetically modified bees turned out to be dangerous in unexpected ways.
Fiona runs from one place to the next, not sure who to trust. Running away from one danger, she meets Arrin, a mysterious “Fec” (you can read where “Fec” comes from yourself; hold your nose!), who is the epitome of creepy and unreliable. Arrin helps Fiona, but demands a price for helping, which sends Fiona straight into the hands of the militia.
There she meets a boy from her childhood, Dreyden Bowen. Now, the romance was the one part of the book that didn’t work for me. It smacked of insta-love, and I had some problems with Fiona falling in love with her captor. Bowen goes from hating and fearing Fiona to returning her feelings, and even saying he would rather have Fiona tear his heart out than see her captured.
Oh, yeah. I didn’t mention the whole people turning into beasts thing, did I? The tattoo on Fiona’s hand signals that she had a special vaccine before the world changed… one that turns kids into raging animals who have no thoughts but killing.
The idea behind STUNG is unique. There are some science fiction aspects to the book, which I appreciated. The ending was a bit too neatly drawn together for me, but overall, I’m happy I read STUNG. Bees still creep me out, though, and maybe more than before now that I’ve read it!
Bethany Wiggins has always been an avid reader, but not an avid writer. She failed ninth grade English because she read novels instead of doing her homework. In high school, she sat alone at lunch and read massive hardback fantasy novels (Tad Williams and Robert Jordan anyone?). It wasn’t until the end of her senior year that the other students realized she was reading fiction–not the Bible.
Once upon a time, Bethany’s sister dared her to start writing an hour a day until she completed a novel. Bethany wrote a seven-hundred page fantasy novel that she wisely let no one read–but it taught her how to write. She is the author of SHIFTING, STUNG (April 2013), and CURED (2014).
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