I've been hooked on books since childhood, and still am. I usually have at least three books going at any given time. After nearly two decades teaching middle school, I've developed strong opinions about YA fiction. A married mother of many adult children, and a practicing Catholic, my moral paradigms do play into my reviews.
Stung, by Bethany Wiggins
This story of what happens when the bees die off was mildly interesting at first, but became tedious rather quickly. Genetic engineering gone wrong is the premise that sets up this dystopian world. butalmost nothing is said about it until halfway through the book, and even then the explanation is..... thin. Our heroine, sadly, is annoying as heck and difficult to care about. And this is more about a really shallow romance than it is about the world they are living in. That made this book almost impossible to finish. I had to force myself.
Fiona wakes up from what appears to be a coma, a nearly fully grown woman of 17 who last remembers being only 13. Things had started to fall apart in the world she remembers, but the world she wakes up to is pretty far gone. There's a few isolated fortress-like cities left. Inside the walls, people have plenty to eat and live fairly comfortably. Outside the walls, you chew leather to stay alive and must constantly hide to avoid both rape gangs and monstrously powerful zombie-like humans who have been 'stung". These creatures all bear "the mark" Anyone who bears "the mark" will eventually turn into something resembling a terrible zombie. And Fiona wakes up with the mark, alone, unable to remember the last four years, in a deserted house.... outside the walls.
I got pretty tired of Fiona, frankly, and the bleak landscape she travels through. The romance was a bit obvious, and the violence pretty graphic, very constant, and too overly described for my tastes. "Her left hand swung around to connect with his cheek" sort of thing.
Women in this book sit and worry and flap their hands helplessly for the most part, while the men run about rampaging and raping and being generally ape like butt heads.Ah stereotypes, so good to see you being reinforced yet again.
I wish more time had been paid to the whole bee thing, but it is dismissed early on.
A few things I am tired of in this genre:
Why do all dystopian novels have to get sidetracked by an annoying unlikely romance?
Why does youth fiction always have to have rape mentioned?
Why do the writers of dystopian youth fiction so rarely use the collapse of society to examine an issue, such as racism, sexism, issues of governmental control or SOMETHING??? Instead they so often just create this frenetic background and then throw their characters in to it.
Also why does the heroine always have to have a twin brother?