Friday, March 22, 2013


Six hurricanes post Katrina have devastated the Gulf Coast.  Those who survived and remained in New Orleans were hit with a deadly blood disease.  Unable to find a cure and fearful that the disease would spread throughout the country, the United States government built a militarized wall around the city.  Residents behind the wall were left to die, but that’s not what happened.  New Orleans may have perished but Orleans is still fighting. 

In the years following the construction of the wall, those left behind discovered that the disease affects the various blood types differently.  O Positive and Negative types are carriers of Delta Fever but do not suffer the symptoms.  All other blood types suffer a slow, painful death unless they can receive constant blood transfusions.  This creates a dangerous situation for the O-Positives and O-Negs who must stick together to avoid being kidnapped and forced into being a blood slave.

Fen de la Guerre is the fifteen year old heroine of Orleans.  Her parents were killed and after a few horrific years of being on her own, she is taken in by an O-Positive tribe.  When her tribe's chieftain dies in childbirth, Fen saves her baby and promises to give the child a better life.  She has five days to find a way to get the newborn over the wall and out of Orleans before the child contracts the virus.

Daniel is a promising epidemiologist who lost his beloved little brother to Delta Fever.  Living in the Outer States, he has spent years looking for a cure and has come very close.  Unfortunately, his new miracle drug not only kills the virus, it also kills the host.  He does not have access to good specimens for testing and development on his side of the wall; therefore, he decides to undertake a risky, secretive mission to illegally enter Orleans to gather the necessary data to fix his cure.  He expects to find an uninhabited wasteland, but what he discovers is a very dangerous city with plenty of survivors.  If he hopes to get out of Orleans, Daniel is going to have to partner with Fen and help her save the newborn baby.

Sherri L. Smith’s new dystopian novel is a wildly imaginative adventure that would pair well with the film Beasts of the Southern Wild or the novel Shipbreaker.  The setting is both haunting and intriguing.  The pacing of the novel moves very quickly, and the intense scenes will appeal to horror fans.  There is quite a bit of violence, including a rape, which renders the book more appropriate for older teens.  In a nice change from the abundance of young adult dystopian novels published these days, Orleans does not bother with a romance storyline.   Fen is a strong main character who never veers from her mission of protecting the newborn.  Daniel is less well developed but still very interesting.  Their story will stick with readers long after the novel is over.

4.5 of out 5 stars
Recommended for grades 9 and up

No comments:

Post a Comment