We got this! I can do this! We can keep going! I believe in it!
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Synopsis From The Book
As a lethal plague sweeps through the land, Ani Mells is shocked when she is unexpectedly captured by the governor’s wardens and forced to submit to a test for the deadly Scourge. She is even more surprised when the test results come back positive, and she is sent to Attic Island, a former prison turned refuge — and quarantine colony — for the ill. The Scourge’s victims, Ani now among them, can only expect to live out short, painful lives there. However, Ani quickly discovers that she doesn’t know the whole truth about the Scourge or the Colony. She’s been caught in a devious plot, and, with the help of her best friend, Weevil, Ani means to uncover just what is actually going on.But will she and Weevil survive long enough to do so?The Scourge is an explosively thrilling tale of adventure and intrigue, courage and heart from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer A. Nielsen.
Fantasy | MG – E | Mention of Death, Manipulation, Fear, Distrust, Prejudice, Snakes, Attempted Murder | Love, Friendship, Truth and Lies, Coming of Age
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
I found out that she created a new series. I love her Ascendance series and so when I saw this, I was like. Yessss. It’ll be a quick read but I expect it to be entertaining. (I also found out she wrote more books for the Ascendance series and another series. Goodness. I need to read them all)
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
I will say that this book wraps up very cleanly. Considering that there were whole groups of people that were enslaved and a ton of racism, it cleared up very cleanly. I won’t be too harsh on that, however, since this is a MG/children’s book. Still it was a fun read.
Ani Mells is in a tree trying to get a piece of fruit when she hears some men called Wardens talking on how they’re gonna test her people on if they have the Scourge or not. She refuses to come down when they catch her, because she’s stuck and then she’s cut down. Her friend Weevil tries to save her, but they are both taken by the Wardens to be tested for the Scourge.
The two try to escape and in the midst of it, they find a girl named Della on a boat. Della accuses Ani of stealing her boat and slaps Ani. Both are captured to be tested and Ani lies saying that Della had the Scourge. Both are tested and said to have the Scourge. Weevil catches up to them, and they all take the boat to the colony where they put all the people who have The Scourge.
In one hour of being at the colony, Ani causes issues and the wardens try to punish her. Weevil tries to take the punishment, she disagrees, and they are told the worst friend will take the punishment. Ani wins and hurts Weevil by admitting she’s been giving his mother wheat. She is beat and then put in a cage. Della steals her medicine that night. Weevil comes back that night with food for her and stays with her the whole night.
The next day, Ani is assigned new duty and they find out where people are hiding. They meet the recovered and find out that they won’t be able to escape and those who tried were sent right back to the colony.
Ani tells everyone that the medicine is bad for them. After risking her life, she is forced to run but is captured and brought before the governor. The governor tells her they are out of the plant they’re using to mimic the scourge and that they are gonna use snake venom to do it. She then tosses Ani in a well with the snakes. She escapes and Weevil blows up the infirmary. They find out that the infirmary was healing people and sending them to another country to be slaves. They board the slave ship and find Weevil’s father. They then commandeer the ship and take it to the min land with more survivors to expose the governor.
They do so and then Della’s father becomes the new governor and the slaves are returned to their country.
What I Liked:
Characters; In general, I think that the characters were well developed. It is a short book and for how short it is, we get a good development for Weevil, Ani, Della, and some interest in the side characters. We have a full character arc for each of the main three, a love story, and a story of new friendship. In general I thought this was really well done.
General execution of the plot; Also, considering the length, we got a lot done in a short amount of time. We had a capture, an imprisonment, and a revolution all in one book. Nielsen executes this excellently, using the character moments to build on the lore of the world as well as the progress in the story.
Moral and Message; I like the whole of what this book is trying to get across in terms of panic and hysteria. Additionally what it says about trusting people and fighting for what one believes in.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed: