The Scourge by A.G. Henley Book Review
Thursday, August 9, 2012 12:05 AM
Author: A.G. Henley
Published: January 31, 2012
Publisher: A.G. Henley
Series: Brillant Darkness #1
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal, Dystopian
Rating: 3.5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Seventeen-year-old Groundling, Fennel, is Sightless. She's never been able to see her lush forest home, but she knows its secrets. She knows how the shadows shift when she passes under a canopy of trees. She knows how to hide in the cool, damp caves when the Scourge comes. She knows how devious and arrogant the Groundlings' tree-dwelling neighbors, the Lofties, can be.
And she's always known this day would come—the day she faces the Scourge alone.
The Sightless, like Fenn, are mysteriously protected from the Scourge, the gruesome creatures roaming the forests, reeking of festering flesh and consuming anything—and anyone—living. A Sightless Groundling must brave the Scourge and bring fresh water to the people of the forest. Today, that task becomes Fenn's.
Fenn will have a Lofty Keeper, Peree, as her companion. Everyone knows the Lofties wouldn’t hesitate to shoot an arrow through the back of an unsuspecting Groundling like Fenn, but Peree seems different. A boy with warm, rough hands who smells like summer, he is surprisingly kind and thoughtful. Although Fenn knows his people are treacherous, she finds herself wanting to trust him.
As their forest community teeters on the brink of war, Fenn and Peree must learn to work together to survive the Scourge and ensure their people’s survival. But when Fenn uncovers a secret that shatters her truths, she’s forced to decide who and what to protect—her people, her growing love for Peree, or the elusive dream of lasting peace in the forest. (Goodreads)
There's some books that I'm indecisive about in regards to rating. The Scourge was one of them. I mean, the book was a great read. Very enjoyable. It had so many unique elements. The civilization of Fennel's world lives a simpler life after sickness and war. There is something amazing about a whole world that lives as if in the past. The Groundlings and Lofties rely on primitive skills and handmade weapons to hunt. They dance with their intended and offer bonding bracelets instead of expensive diamond rings. Their ancestors lived in an advanced time, I'm assuming those ancestors are us, but The Scourge shows how all of these advancements and accomplishments have been reversed. While there is suffering and hardship, the simplicity is almost comforting and beautiful. It's not a fast-paced read full of action, but it is written beautifully. My favorite part about The Scourge was the storytelling. It was beautiful and creative. All of the animal fables really brought something to the story, and they were so wonderfully imaginative.
There are many deep messages that run throughout The Scourge. It's less about the Scourge themselves and more about the people. How they struggle with mistrust. How prejudice divides them when they need each other most. How blind hatred can be. The plot really speaks to any struggle between races or any war that has ever occurred. But despite all this animosity, we have our star-crossed lovers. The romance is phenomenal. I love the trust that develops between Peree and Fenn. They also banter with each other, which is amusing and sweet. I adore Peree. I was a little frustrated with Fenn and how she pushed away Peree occasionally, but I can understand her fear in giving so much of herself to one person.
I did not like the love triangle. Or should I say awkward triangle. I hate when one guy is so besotted with the protagonist, but he's clueless that she prefers the other guy. I think Fenn led Bear on a little as well, and her indecision hurt both men. I was never into the whole two guys fighting over one girl, and the girl having trouble deciding, and I'd much rather focus on other plot developments. I'd rather not have teams forming over which guy the main character should choose in a book. Despite Fenn's indecision, I did love her bravery, especially since she's Sightless. Her Sightlessness made her a stronger individual, and I loved how her other senses had strengthened in result.
While I enjoyed most of The Scourge, I found the explanation behind the creatures, and how they came to be, unsatisfactory. It didn't appeal to me. It worked, but I just felt some other explanation would have been better. And some of the plot developments just ended up confusing me, instead of offering a clear backstory. The ending was a little abrupt, but I was happy with its closure until I realized a sequel is planned. I was really hoping to escape another series, but I will most likely read the sequel.
I would recommend The Scourge to anyone who wants an original zombie read, some wonderful storytelling, and a touching romance. If you can overlook a weak explanation and commit to the whole series, I'm sure it will be an enjoyable read.