Most helpful positive review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Fast-paced, realistic and very compelling
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.