At first glance, Viral Nation looks like any other dystopian novel we’ve seen on the shelves in recent years. Yes, Viral Nation is another dystopian novel. Yes, a Virus kills most of the human population and greatly decreases the quality of life for the survivors.
But what’s unique is the main character: 16-year-old Clover Donovan is autistic and incredibly smart. I must say, this appealed to me from the get-go. How does autism affect Clover’s life in the dystopia? Will it make her more vulnerable to the “villains” of the story? Is she treated discriminately because of her autism?
After reading the novel, I feel mixed as to what rating I should give it. On the positive side, I liked the “prologue” setting up the story. In addition, the alternating viewpoints between Clover’s older brother and Clover herself set up the perspectives quite well. I did like the issues portrayed at the Academy involving Clover’s autism. Near the middle, there’s also quite a lot of suspense and science fiction/corrupt power action.
On the negative side, the setup is a bit cliché, minus the autism. In addition, the author failed to delve deeply into the emotions and relationships between the tangled cast of characters. As readers, we hunger for depth in the themes – and unfortunately, there isn’t too much. 2.5/5
***eBook provided by Netgalley