Thanks to NetGalley and Anchor Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: April 4th, 2017
Synopsis: From James DeMonaco, the writer/director of The Purge film franchise, comes the provocative and terrifying last stand of a lone outpost of women in the wake of a deadly pandemic.
Allie Hilts was still in high school when a fire at a top-secret research facility released an airborne pathogen that quickly spread to every male on the planet, killing most. Allie witnessed every man she ever knew be consumed by fearsome symptoms: scorching fevers and internal bleeding,madness and uncontrollable violence. The world crumbled around her. No man was spared, and the few survivors were irrevocably changed. They became disturbingly strong, aggressive, and ferocious. Feral.
Three years later, Allie has joined a group of hardened survivors in an isolated, walled-in encampment. Outside the guarded walls the ferals roam free, and hunt. Allie has been noticing troubling patterns in the ferals’ movements, and a disturbing number of new faces in the wild. Something catastrophic is brewing on the horizon and time is running out. The ferals are coming, and there is no stopping them.
Fair warning: Feral is not for the faint of heart. Given that one of the authors is James Demonaco writer/director of The Purge films, this shouldn’t come as a complete shock. There were some scenes though that even had me wincing and saying “Ew!” The first part of the book starts out strong as the reader sees how Allie deals with the end of the world as she knows it. Just a teenager, she witnesses the unimaginable and in order to protect herself and her 12-year-old sister Kim, has to do some horrible things in order to survive. As the story flashes forward three years, you see a much more hardened woman. She’s badass, and impulsive, yet still maintains her humanity somehow. Allie is really the best part of the book and she’s the main reason why I kept reading. Unfortunately, I ran into a few other issues. Feral alternates between first and third person POVs as well as between several different characters. While this style didn’t make things confusing, it did make the story rather choppy. I also wish Allie’s relationship with her sister Kim had been more developed. The other characters were unoriginal and also lacking in development and I wound up not connecting with any of them. And finally, while the book started out with a unique twist on the whole “end-of-the-world because idiotic scientists are messing around with something they shouldn’t be” trope, by the middle of the book things had become pretty predictable and I saw the ending coming a mile away. The action scenes though are masterfully done and the the book at under 300 pages is a quick read. Overall, Feral is an okay story that fans of gory horror may enjoy.