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  • Stung
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3.9 out of 5 stars7
3.9 out of 5 stars
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 April 2013
After reading Bethany Wiggin's first novel Shifting last year, I was excited to see what she would produce next and that result is Stung. First impressions then, the cover is brilliant, it's simple, interesting and lethal. It doesn't give any part of the story away but it does intrigue the reader. Then the synopsis introduced us to the basic idea of the novel and by this time I was sold on reading it anyway. I love dystopian and post-apocalyptic novels and this one sounded very unique. Fast forward a few months and I received a review copy and dug straight into it. Stung is a very original novel based on a problem with bees. That problem is so realistic. I mean it could happen in today's world. That in itself is scary but Wiggins has taken it to the next level and produced a fast-paced novel.

Stung begins when Fiona Tarsis wakes up in her home, with no memory of the past four years. Her home is in tatters and she is alone. It seems her parents left a long while ago. Looking in the mirror, Fiona notices her body has changed drastically and she doesn't remember growing up at all. The next thing she notices is a tattoo on the back of her hand of a ten legged bug. It marks her as a level ten and a possible beast. Leaving her already desolate house she realises the world is not the same. Caught up with the militia, Fiona is treated with severe caution, everyone around her is waiting for her to turn into a beast, after all it's inevitable. She has to survive a few days and wait for the wall to open and then she will be passed on to the lab that will use her for experiments. Only with the help of Bowen will she survive in this new world, where everybody is after her.

Fiona wakes up with no memory of the past four years; we get to see her shock and disbelief at what's happened to the world around her. It was really interesting to watch the main character learn about this world at the same time and pace as the reader. We both got to witness it together and in a way I believe that really helped connect the reader to the main character. Fiona was lost at the start and hence she was stepping out into a completely dangerous world with no knowledge of the harm that could come to her. She's scared and alone, and she has to trust the first person she meets. How scary would that be, just thrust back into the world with no idea at all? When she is taken by the Militia we begin to see her survival instincts kick in and her strength appear. She is strong when she needs to be and she knows that she has to survive and will do what it takes to keep her heart beating. Even when faced with danger, she's scared yes, but she doesn't scream and run like a little girl, instead she holds her ground. I really enjoyed reading Fiona's journey and character growth. I become very attached to her along the way as she really came into her own.

The other main character is Bowen. He's Fiona's captor and rescuer. He's also the love interest and is totally swoon worthy! Bowen is part of the militia and he's in charge of looking after Fiona before she goes to the lab. The thing is Fiona knows Bowen from the past and he can't bring himself to hate her like the others as he knew her before. He realises that she isn't a beast and is more relaxed around her. Bowen has come to terms with a lot of loss during the four years of change and this has changed him. Bowen sacrifices himself and his life to protect Fiona, knowing that she is different. I loved the connection between the two and I was falling for him from the start. He was perfect and I hope there's more of him in the future.

Now onto the world Bethany Wiggins has created. It's scary how realistic the problem featured in the novel is and how it could happen one day. The whole world created has been well thought out, with the wall and city inside being for all uninfected people up to the age of 55. Then there's outside the wall where the true danger lurks, with fecs hiding in the dried up sewers, beasts living in abandoned buildings and some survivors just hanging on to life there too. You have a whole new currency system of honey, a new government and a new military. There must have been so much planning to get this perfect but the final result is amazing. It's scary and harsh but also so realistic.

Stung is a very promising start to a series, and once again it shows the talent Wiggin's possesses. I can easily say this is one of my top reads this year. It's a fast-paced, compelling novel that will keep the reader hooked from the very first page. From a unique idea this brilliant book has developed into a fantastic novel, which is sure to be a favourite with readers. Wiggins' you are a very talented writer and I cannot wait to read the second novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 31 July 2013
I've never really thought about the important of bees. I mean, they're just tiny little creatures that fly around your face and food while you're trying to have a picnic or something, surely they could not impact the world so much if they weren't around? WRONG!

Stung transports us into the future world where bees are extinct and everything is in chaos. Only one thing can save humanity: the children. They are marked one to ten, as part of the cure. Fiona is ten, even if she doesn't know what that is. Fiona wakes up after a long sleep and the world isn't exactly how she remembered it. She has a tattoo on her wrist and barely remembers anything from before her nap. Then she finds a companion who fills her in on the vaccination that was meant to save the future generation, but instead transformed them into deadly beasts. A wall separates the beasts from the survivors and those who hold the information to rebuilding the world. Fiona is a ten with a strong chance of turning into a beast in the middle of nowhere with no one to guide her back to her family who may be on the other side of the wall.

As soon as I read the blurb I knew I had to try this book out even after reading some mixed reviews. And I'm so glad I did pick this up because I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. I loved the idea of it and the world building and it was just awesome!

Fiona wasn't tough as other heroines may be, nor was she whiny and irritating like some *cough* Bella Swan *cough*, she was in the good inbetween stage where you could at least relate to her at some point; her decisions, her personality, etc. Especially when she has an unlikely encounter with her childhood friend, Dreyden Bowen.

At first he isn't very nice to Fiona because he thinks she is a monster, but when he recognises who she is... he softens. And overtime, well, I say "overtime" but I don't mean a really long period of time, their feelings for each other grow and I loved how that showed a lighter and more innocent side to the story. First love and all.

Dreyden? I loved him. I loved his protective side and the way he always tried to help Fiona. I loved how they told childhood stories to each other and made the world around them seem so much more tragic.

The book seems to end on an interesting cliffhanger that I'm sure the sequel will pick up nicely. I am actually really excited and genuinely looking forward to the sequel. Monsters, a broken world and a gripping romance, Stung is a dystopian that you won't want to miss in 2013 if your looking for debuts.
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on 20 August 2013
Fiona woke up in her house, in her room, in her bed. But it is not the world she remembers falling asleep in. She can't remember how she got there, how she seems to have aged four years over night. What happened to her family. How she got the tattoo on her hand.

Her neighbours are armed and she if it wasn't for Arrin, a filthy fec, Fiona wouldn't have survived the night. In return for saving her life, Arrin demands a favour to help rescue her brother...that ends up with Fiona the one under guard. She doesn't understand why people fear her until she sees a `beast' in action. Beasts are kids who have turned after being injected with a cure. They are measured by the number of lines. No one has ever seen a coherent and lucid ten...until Fiona.

But then Fiona meets someone from her past and as they dig deeper on what has happened to the world, it starts to become a scarier place with armies chasing them and unable to trust anyone. Someone wants Fiona dead. And they won't stop until she is.

Okay, I just adored Stung. I've been a big fan of dystopian books since The Hunger Games and Divergent but apart from the really big contenders, there haven't been a whole lot that I've genuinely enjoyed reading. But Stung was just an incredible book. I was kept guessing, was right there along with Fiona as she struggled to learn what was happening to the world.

The only negative thing I could say about this books is the romance. Don't get me wrong, I liked Bowden and I liked Fiona, but the bridge between I hate you and I love you was pretty much nonexistent. A bit more development would have gone a long way.

I cannot wait for the sequel.
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on 3 August 2013
What happens when the bees die out? The answer is the end of the world as we know it and the start of a dystopian nightmare for those who survive. When Fiona wakes up in her bed, she has no memory of the last four years but the world has changed rapidly with some people living in the sewers, beasts who were once people roaming the land and a select few living in relative safety behind the Wall. Fiona is lost, confused and doesn't know what is going on...

Fiona may not know what is going on but she trusts people to easily and even manages to give her heart to a guy who has done nothing but assault her and keep her captive. I found myself getting very frustrated with her as she never really seems to fight for herself or even others. Added to which I found it difficult to imagine the whole country had changes so rapidly in just four years with people so quickly divided into levels and organised behind a wall. The character I was most intrigued by was Arrin/Arris and felt like they could have been explored more. There is much left unexplored and for once I feel that this story would have worked with a little more background - perhaps some other characters point of view to answer questions Fiona doesn't even think to ask!

Stung is fast paced though and it was only once I put the book down and started to think about the world and the characters that I really had any problems. The plot is pacy and there are enough action scenes to keep most thrill readers happy. The romance was far too quick for my liking and not based on much substance but it wasn't a focus of the plot so it wasn't too distracting. This was an easy enough read but with choice of dystopian YA overwhelming there wasn't anything that gripped me. Nice idea but I want a little more.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2013
I am pretty sure this book should have been amazing; on paper it had all the elements needed to be a great book. I was so intrigued and was almost certain that I was going to love this. But I didn't, I didn't love this book at all.

The first issue was that from the start this book was confusing and not everything added up. There was little explanation as to what was going on, and I had to re-read the blurb in order to get some idea of what was happening. This is not just a problem at the beginning of the book but all the way through. There is a lot of telling not showing and a general lack of world building, detail and structure which adds to the confusion.

The other big issue is Fiona the MC who is just silly. She is constantly doing ridiculous things which made me want to bang my head against a brick wall. She wakes up in a desolate world being chased by her mutated and violent brother, she thinks she is 13, she has no idea where her parents are and despite coming across people often she never once asks what has happened, where her family is, what the tattoo on the back of her hand means, why the world has ended. She is captured by soldiers and she just sits there in a daze and doesn't utter a word or try and find out what is going on, or protest her innocence. Instead she spends all her time thinking about how dreamy her captor is. I could talk about ways in which Fiona is ridiculous all day but it would ruin the book for those who want to read it so I will refrain. She is also a complete Mary Sue she is perfect, beautiful, saviour to the world etc, etc.

The romance was no better; there was no real reason why Fiona and Bowen are together. I get that he has always had a crush on her but that was not really explored and I think this book would have been a bit better and the romance more believable had it been. Fiona appears to fall in love with him almost instantaneously and they suddenly can't live without each other. It was boring, it was unbelievable and together they lacked chemistry. They made no sense together at all and I got the feeling that Fiona would have fallen in love with whoever was available such was the extent of her neediness.

There was also a lot of cheesiness and I mean A LOT of cheesiness. Gosh, it was never ending.

"I kiss him like I am the blood transfusion he needs to stay alive"

That is a prime example of the cheesiness, this line was also used twice which was just not needed. There is a reason that she is a blood transfusion he needs and that reason is cheesy to.
The more this book went on the odder and more confusing things became. Stuff was just randomly happening and there were people and I honestly just did not get it.

I am giving Stung stars for:

* Being able to finish it
* For being a good idea and having some half decent action scenes

This gives it a total of 2 stars.
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on 16 August 2013
Lots of action, a touch of romance, horror and mystery. Loved it and will be reading the next book! :)
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on 26 August 2014
Enjoyable and worth a read
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