Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Plagues of Humanity

Published: September 1st, 2011
The Eleventh Plague
By: Jeff Hirsch
Scholastic Books
ISBN-13: 978-0545290142

The wars that followed The Collapse nearly destroyed civilization. Now, twenty years later, the world is faced with a choice—rebuild what was or make something new.

Stephen Quinn, a quiet and dutiful fifteen-year-old scavenger, travels Post-Collapse America with his Dad and stern ex-Marine Grandfather. They travel light. They keep to themselves. Nothing ever changes. But when his Grandfather passes suddenly and Stephen and his Dad decide to risk it all to save the lives of two strangers, Stephen's life is turned upside down. With his father terribly injured, Stephen is left alone to make his own choices for the first time.

Stephen’s choices lead him to Settler's Landing, a lost slice of the Pre-Collapse world where he encounters a seemingly benign world of barbecues, baseball games and days spent in a one-room schoolhouse. Distrustful of such tranquility, Stephen quickly falls in with Jenny Tan, the beautiful town outcast. As his relationship with Jenny grows it brings him into violent conflict with the leaders of Settler's Landing who are determined to remake the world they grew up in, no matter what the cost.


   The USA has collapsed from an inevitable war with China, who released a plague that decimated its population.  Slavers roam the country, selling the people to the wealthy in other countries and salvagers/nomads are the average US citizen, fighting for survival.  Stephen has grown up fighting and being abused by his Grandfather, a harsh ex-miltary man, while his Father stood by and watched.  His mother has been dead for about five years and his world is survival with no fun or happiness.  Then Grandfather dies, leaving Stephen and his Father to fend for themselves.  Of course his Father tries to help a woman and child escape from the slavers, which ends up with him in a coma and Stephen alone.  Stephen is captured by people from Settler's Landing who believe he's a spy and they take him and his Father back to their town.  This is when things get really interesting.  I enjoyed this book on many levels.  Hirsch manages to paint a picture of a world ravaged by disease and war, that still resembles our own in a chilling way.  Jenny Tan is an interesting foil to Stephen because she has had a relaxed, relatively safe upbringing but longs for something she perceives to be more real.  He just wants to be able to quit worrying for awhile and live.  I also enjoyed the starkness of the language, that managed to give more than enough description for my brain to fold in upon itself.  This book was terrifying in a way The Hunger Games, because it gave a view into a very plausible outcome of our contries political dealings and world relations in general.  The ending was well written and fit the rest of the book very well.  I would recommend this to anyone who like dystopia, adventure and complex human interaction.

VERDICT:  4.5/5  Stars

*No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book is now available in stores and online.*

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