- Kathy Reichs
- Released November 2nd 2010
- Book 1 of Virals series
- 4 Stars
Tory Brennan, unofficial leader of a ragtag group of teenagers who love science living on a secluded island off the shore of Charleston. When they break into a secret lab on nearby Loggerhead Island and rescue a dog caged for medical research, they accidentally infect themselves with a strain of parvovirus that gives them powers beyond their imaginations. Together, they must grow accustomed to their heightened senses and strength and use them to solve a murder case that seems to be after them as well. They’re a pack, one of a kind: Virals.
I checked this book out from the library a while back (over two years ago actually) but never got around to reading it (obviously). The cover needs some help IMO (I like the sparse sci-fi covers of the later books and novellas of the series) as does the high school feel but on the whole, this book is a model for what it takes for a YA novel not centered on romance to be successful and interesting.
Tory Brennan, our 14 year old freshman protagonist, is the niece of Temperance Brennan (yes the one from Bones) and has her fair share of sleuthing abilities. She lives on an island off of the South Carolina coast with her dad who works for Charleston University and thus gets subsidized housing on the island. Her other friends on the island are also in the same boat and to top it off, the University pays for them to attend the best high school in Charleston so in tried and true YA fashion, they are labeled as “boat kids” (scholarship kids) and are outcasts. This is the part that I didn’t think was necessary: the “tripod of skank” (I’m not making that name up) and all the other high school drama. I get that their outcast status is what keeps Tory and her crew together but a introduction would have sufficed.
That being said, this book kept me intrigued mostly because of the creepy mystery that unfolds but also because science! TBH, it’s pretty unrealistic that a virus can alter the DNA of the whole body. True, viruses are used as vectors when trying DNA therapy but to effectively alter every cell in the body (as this book implies) is impossible i’m pretty sure. Still it’s pretty interesting to have science based powers instead of supernatural ones.
Back to the mystery. Tory and her friends solve a murder case all on their own while balancing keeping their powers hidden and it’s pretty impressive and cool to see what they can do! There’s camaraderie between them all and they each bring their own strengths to the team making what they can do pretty limitless. I can’t say much without spoilers but rest assured that the uncovering of evidence was natural and that it was really cool watching Tory and company knocking down wall after wall in their way.
As a five book series, I’m really interested in seeing where this can go. Virals closes up really nicely so that lends itself nicely to having an unlimited amount of books, each having a different case to solve instead of having a plot that arches over the whole series.