Title: Strain of Resistance (Book One)
Author: Michelle Bryan
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016
Genre: NA Dystopia, NA Science Fiction
**I received a copy of this book free from the Author in exchange for an honest review**
Whoa. That was a crazy ride. Like, for real. I was expecting a little more YA, but that book is definitely a New Adult book. I guess it just took me by surprise.
The book centers around Emma Bixby, or just Bixby as she prefers to be called. She comes from an alcoholic father and an enabling mother. We are introduced to her at the age of 12, and one night a strange crystallized dust scatters over the town. Bixby is attacked by it but skipped over, and when she runs home, her father has killed her mother…but it’s no longer her father. Some sort of alien-like worm protrudes from his mouth, and Bixby is forced to kill him. She is found days later by other survivors who are immune to the alien plague.
We see her again eight years later, now a complete badass. The cover image is supposed to be her: the tattoos disguise a face-long scar from the night when her dad attacked her. She cusses like a sailor and refuses to get close to anybody…because the last boy she loved disappeared on a run. She casually sleeps with Luke, but she runs from his declarations of love. She, along with so,w other survivors, live in an old hotel called the Grand, and she fights what they call “the leeches” to protect themselves. Other bands of people called Ravagers are cannibals that seek out fresh meat. The world has become a dangerous place.
One day they get a distress call from their fellow traders at St. Joseph’s hospital. The first wave of people to go check out the situation don’t come back. This forces Bixby and others to see what is going on: the radio message last said that there were monsters, not leeches or Ravagers. What they come up against is a new evolution of the infected…a new “strain” of alien AND human DNA. They can reason. And speak. And all they want is to feed off the survivors of the first wave of infection.
Is it Classroom-Appropriate?
Oh, hell no. There’s so much swearing, and not just “shit.” Full on “F-word” status here, along with some creative uses of other swear words. There’s even an instance of a word that sounds like “wussy.” I’ll leave it up to that to convey the level of language. Then there’s the sex. Not as explicit as an adult erotica novel, but one scene we get blow-by-blow coverage. Yeah…this book would never enter a classroom of mine. So I must say the NA tag on it is appropriate. Do not confuse this for YA like I did, and like some NA can be. This is strictly for adults.
Um….18 and up? I guess that’s a little too conservative of me. Probably at least 16 and up. Not for the young ones. Be prepared when reading this: this is NOT YA. If you remember that, you should be good to go. I did not, so I was surprised suddenly by it all.
I enjoyed it. It ends with a painful cliffhanger that leads you to want to know what’s going to happen next, so I couldn’t put this series down now if I tried. I don’t see a release date on the next installment, so it’s a waiting game. It was hard for me to rate this one. I wanted to keep reading it, but I was left with a lot of questions about the aliens and the rest of civilization. Maybe that will be addressed in book two…maybe not at all. Bixby’s character was pretty interesting: she’s devastated by a loss, so she refuses to get close again. A little bitchy for me. But apparently it’s part of her harm in Luke’s eyes. The amount of crap she dishes out to him, and he just takes it….well, it just boggles my mind. I’m going to go with 3.5/5. On Goodreads,chat means I’ll have to round up and do four stars. So for star rating systems: ★★★★☆. For all other intents and purposes: ★★★ and a half.