Plague Land by Alex Scarrow (review)
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Reviewed by
Scarrow, Alex Plague Land. Sourcebooks Fire, 2017 [384p]
ISBN 978-1-4926-5210-6 $10.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 9-12

Seventeen-year-old Leon has ongoing stress-related headaches, which are exacerbated by his neurotic paranoia over seemingly anything. In most cases his twelve-year-old sister Grace is right—he’s got to stop overthinking. In his defense, however, the past year hasn’t been a walk in the park. Leon and Grace’s parents’ messy divorce has left them with a depressed and withdrawn shell of a mother, which led to their relocation from New York to Great Britain; as if things couldn’t possibly get any worse, a globally spreading plague that Leon prayed was just conspiracy news brings about a rapidly spreading apocalypse that destroys the vast majority of organic species—great. Leon, his mother and sister move through England in search of safety and refuge, only to find that “the Snark, ” the name a camp of survivors have given the virus, has become dormant in one of them, feeding off of its host’s actions and memories and using the data along with the accumulated remains of their billions of prior victims to form and reform replicas of organic life forms. Terror, anxiety, and anticipation will flow rapidly through the veins of readers as they [End Page 132] piece together clues about the Snark, which is very quickly growing, adapting and becoming increasingly adept at spreading its biological data. It’s best not to get too attached to any one character in this fast-paced horror given the relentless nature of the plague. However, just when things seem to get unbearably bleak, Scarrow flips the script with a dark and mind-blowing shift, suggesting those eradicated by the plague may not be lost at all.

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