Friday, December 28, 2012

Book Review: The Farm

Author: Emily McKay
Publication Date: December 4, 2012
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Series: The Farm # 1

Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…

And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.

Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…

Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race...

“Guess I should have led with that. The phrase ‘Red rover, red rover’ was our code for the plan to escape the Farm and cross the Red River. That was one of the benefits of having a sister who spoke almost entirely in nursery rhymes. Most of the time, I hated that living on the Farm had made her regress to how she’d been as a child, but at least it meant we could discuss our escape plans anywhere and no one would know what ‘red rover’ meant.” – Paperback Copy pg. 3

“Back in the Before, the Farm had been a prestigious private liberal arts college. For more than a hundred years, the college had sat nestled against the banks of the Red River, just south of Texas-Oklahoma border, home to pampered students. The admin building dominated the east side of the campus. Whatever its purpose had been back in the Before, now…now, it just creeped me out. The real monster might be on the other side of the fence, but sometimes, horrible noises came from the admin building and the shadows at the windows seemed to move with inhuman speed.” – Paperback Copy pg. 5

“I sucked in my breath at his smile, faint though it was. People didn’t smile much on the Farm – not Greens anyway – and I’d completely forgotten that warm fluttering feeling a smile could give you.” – Paperback Copy pg. 40

“He was going to have to handle the next few days very carefully. If she knew why he was really here and what he really wanted from her…if she knew he was playing her, she’d probably slit his throat in the night. For the first time in his life, his motives were selfless and noble – he was trying to save the world, for cripe’s sake – but since saving the world involved manipulating Lily, he didn’t think it would win him any points with her.” – Paperback Copy pg. 52

“Though, in Carter’s defense, she’d been trying to kill him and he’d been doing his damnedest not to actually hurt her, because if he was right and Lily Price was the key to defeating the Ticks, he sure as hell didn’t want to be the one to accidentally kill the savior of all humanity.” – Paperback Copy pg. 53

Lily and Melanie Price are sisters, twins actually, who have been living on the Farm for months now and they are faced with the fear of death and punishment every day. No one really has the answers for what happens outside the wall of the Farm, but Lily Price only knows one thing – she wants out. Things were always like they are now for the Price sisters and Lily knows that with their eighteenth birthday approaching, they must act fast. Lily suspects that when you turn eighteen you are fed to the Ticks, even though they have always been told they will be released when they come of age. Lily devises a well thought out plan to help them escape and everything is running smoothly, until Carter, a boy that Lily remembers from the Before, shows up and puts a dagger in her plans.

What I loved most about this book was the point of view switch. While reading, you will be given Carter, Melanie, and Lily’s point of views. I like being inside of each of these character’s minds because they are all thinking things that they are too scared to share with the others. And the best part is that they don’t share all of their secrets all at once, you really have to keep reading to get all the juicy details. Carter’s character was probably my favorite just because of how mysterious and mischievous he was. I am not going to give all Carter’s secrets away, but I will tell you that they are worth reading about.

Melanie’s character was written perfectly, just like someone with an autism spectrum disorder would be. Her chapters were usually short and almost lyrical because of her tendency to speak only in nursery rhymes. This small detail made Melanie real for me. She was extremely dependent on Lily, which I completely expected. Her character was intriguing and I almost wanted to see more and hear more from her. Lily was everything that I expected her to be. She was the alpha and would do anything to get herself and her sister out of the Farm and away from the Ticks. She was the protective one and she almost reminded me of Katniss. No, actually she did remind me of Katniss. A lot! I love that role and I think Lily’s character was executed perfectly as well.

The last thing that I am going to comment on will have to be the world building. Emily McKay took vampires, which I am starting to tire of but only if they are written in the light of Edward Cullen, and made them freaking fascinating. The Farm and the Before were written so that I could feel them and see them. I felt like I had stepped into an extremely dark underworld while reading about the Farm, and at times chills journeyed up my back. I mean, honestly, this is not a place you want to be. She also explored the Ticks without writing them too terrifying. For example, when Lily sees the Collabs tying a young girl to a post outside the Farm, she knows what will happen to her; however, the way she talks about it is almost nonchalant and expectant. After awhile you just get used to things.

***Thank you to the publishers at Berkley Trade for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review***

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