October 28th, 2019

Book with cat: hugging book

Book #68 of 2019: The Scavengers

The Scavengers by Michael Perry
Traditional or self-published: Traditional
Rating: Liked (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)

The first third of this book was some of the best reading I did all year.

Set in the near future, everything happening right now (global warming, scary political stuff) has gotten worse. Fear mongering has driven most of the American population to live in "bubble cities". Kept safe. Jobs for everyone. Food for everyone. Healthcare for everyone. But all that comes with a price.

CornVivia, a massive agriculture company, has geneteched its corn to be the perfect food for everyone, and to cure basically any illness. But to get those benefits, you need an injection. That injection makes you unable to eat anything other than their corn, and if you can't get any of it, you turn into sort of a zombie (not dead or undead, but otherwise people act just like zombies).

A few people saw through all that, and chose not to go live in the bubble cities. Maggie (or Ford Falcon as she renames herself) is one of those people. She and her family live out in the non-bubble world, fighting the corn-zombies, wild animals, and trying to keep themselves fed.

The first third of the book was all wonderful, wonderful worldbuilding. Then the author gave a massive info dump, which lead to the plot of the book. While I loved the first third, the info dump was a bit much, and the plot wasn't bad at all, but... I liked the worldbuilding part best.

I really can't say enough about how well all the worldbuilding was handled. Emily Dickinson/poetry, a whole new language, "Patriotic Partnership", word-play, a whole new way to handle money/banking when the US dollar has no value. Jobs that could be held after the world changed so much. It was all so good.

This is a middle grade book, but other than Maggie's age (preteen), there's no way I'd have guessed it was meant for younger readers. The best MG and YA books are like that: Perfect for adult readers, too.

Random thing I didn't like: The bad guys were so cartoony. One was very overweight, the other was ugly. In a story where every other character was realistic, they were flat and straight out of some cartoon.

Random thing I liked: This is a stand-alone book! Not the start of a trilogy or series! How rare is that nowadays? I really, really liked all the unanswered questions.