Monday, April 28, 2014

Book Review: Orleans by Sherri L. Smith

0rleans  Discussion
Title: Orleans
Author: Sherri L. Smith

Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 7th 2013 by Putnam Juvenile

15721624Recommendation. I recommend this book for older teens who don’t mind brutal, graphic books.  Readers who like dystopian novels, but not the ones with advanced technologies will enjoy Orleans.  Readers who like books about epidemics or societies that become more primitive, should give this book a try.  It has post-apocalyptic elements in it.  Also, I feel like readers living in Louisiana (like me) or the other Gulf Coast states will have a special connection to the story that readers in other regions may not have.  But, if you are a reader who does not like colloquial narration, you should skip this book; the story is written with incorrect grammar.

Fen de la Guerre is an OP, O-positive, living in the Delta about fifty years after the wall was constructed.  She is a lanky black girl with scars all up and down her arms.  She’s tough, mostly fearless and is 100% dedicated to Lydia, the Chieftain of the OPs. She has it relatively good; she’s in a tribe and she’s an OP.  O-Positives are effected by the Delta Fever, but not as seriously as the A’s or B’s, and certainly not as bad as the AB’s.  But, just because Fen isn’t an AB doesn’t mean her life is good, no far from it.

First came the storms.
Then came the Fever.
And the Wall.

In the start of our book Fen, a very pregnant Lydia, and the other OPs are preparing for a powwow with another tribe, the O-negatives.  Lydia is a dreamer and wants all the O’s to live harmoniously.  Tragedy strikes, and the powwow is overrun by the AB’s, LâBete’s tribe, the fiercest, most blood thirsty tribe in Orleans.  Many of the O’s, both positive and negative, are slaughtered and few survive.  Fen tries to help Lydia get away from the invading tribe, but she goes into labor and dies in childbirth.  Before Lydia’s dying breathe, she makes Fen promise to give Baby Girl a better life.  Fen takes baby girl in her arms and flees; she plans to find a way to get Baby Girl out of the Delta and into the Outer States.  In the Outer States, Baby Girl would be able go to school and wouldn’t have to always be on the run from Blood Hunters.

Daniel is a microbiologist in the Outer States; he has been working for years to find a cure or vaccination for the Delta Fever.  Daniel thought he was close to finding a cure, but in actuality he developed a virus that would quickly kill the virus and its host.  He could eradicate the Delta Fever, but it would also eradicate ever man, woman, and child in the Delta.  Daniel fears that if the military finds his virus that they will use it to clear out the Delta.  Daniel never wanted to be a mass murderer; he just wanted to help the people that had the same disease that killed his brother.  Daniel decides that the best way to stop the virus is to go into the Delta and get new samples of the fever.

Daniel and Fen meet when both find themselves captured by blood hunters and put in a makeshift cell to await their death.  They make a deal; if they can help each other get out of the cell, then Fen has to take Daniel to the Professors in Orleans and Daniel will help Fen get Baby Girl to the Outer States.

This was a very good book.  Some parts were hard to read, because of the violence and abuse that occurred in the book.  It took me about four chapters to get into the book, but it was well-worth the read. 

·         I like the some chapters were in Fen’s point of view and others in Daniels.  I really like how it didn’t just alternate evenly. Sometime Fen would narrate 4 chapters and then Daniel would narrate just one, and then it would do back to Fen.
·         I liked how Fen doesn’t immediately love Baby Girl; she sees her as a chore or task.
·         I like how historic and tourist landmarks of New Orleans are used throughout the book.  Being that New Orleans is somewhere I have visited several times; I can imagine the events of the story very well.

·         The language made the book hard to read at first.  Fen’s chapters are written with poor English and use the helping verb “be” a lot.  It did get easier as story went on, and it helped me differentiate between Fen’s and Daniel’s point of view.
·         We don’t know what Fen’s plans are at the end of the book.  Her character doesn’t conclude well.
·         I don’t quite understand how Mr. Go purified his home.

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