Today, I'm reviewing The Well's End by debut author Seth Fishman. This is a interesting science fiction story, which I can pretty much guarantee you'll want to read.
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 25th 2014 by Putnam Juvenile
Format read: E-ARC via publisher
Synopsis via publisher:
Sixteen-year-old Mia Kish has always been afraid of the dark. After all, she’s baby Mia, the one who fell down a well. That was years ago, though the darkness still haunts her. But when her classmates and teachers at ritzy Westbrook Academy start dying of old age from a bizarre and frightening virus that ages its victims years in a matter of hours, Mia becomes haunted by a lot more than the dark. Their deaths are gruesome and Mia worries she and her friends may be next. In order to survive, Mia and her small crew must break quarantine and outrun armed soldiers in hazmat suits who shoot first and ask questions later.
And there’s only one place to go—the Cave, aka Fenton Electronics. Mia knows it’s somehow connected and hopes her dad, Director of Fenton Electronics, who has always been strangely secretive about his work, has the answers she needs, and more importantly a cure to save everyone before the whole town succumbs to the mysterious virus. Unfortunately, it’s not answers Mia discovers, but something far more treacherous and impossible than even the virus itself.
A high-stakes, fast-paced adventure with imagination and heart.
In The Well's End, debut author Seth Fishman (and kick-ass literary agent, by all accounts), brings a deadly airborne virus to the hometown of Mia Kish, a sixteen-year-old who has spent almost her entire life living down a unfortunate childhood tumble into a local well.
Mia, a student at the elite Westbrook Academy, is suddenly faced with the dawning realization that her friends and teachers have inexplicably dying from a virus that rapidly ages and kills them, all within a matter of hours. It's now up to Mia and her friends to both break free from the school, and to find answers to the deaths.
Unlike many other authors out there, Fishman begins The Well's End by taking the time to build up Mia's background and the relatively normal setting of Westbrook Academy, so by the time the action (and fairly gruesome deaths) begin to occur, readers are fully immersed in Mia and her world.
Once Fishman does establish the danger being faced by Mia and her friends, he expertly interweaves mystery, horror and tension into the Mia's desperate escape from the quarantine surrounding Westbrook Academy, so that we're hanging on to every twist and turns with baited breath.
Despite the occasional figure who felt slightly cliched - e.g. the mysterious father, who can't talk about his work - Fishman also builds up an impressive cast of secondary characters who not only help Mia on her quest to break free of the quarantine, but also gets readers strongly invested in their own side stories as well, as they grapple with the realities of their situation.
Things that didn't work/Things to consider:
Never mind the fact that they were basically running for their lives, but I also couldn't really believe that characters would risk becoming intimate with each other before understanding how the virus spread.
YMMV though, and I'm interested in hearing what all of you think!
I recommend this book for fans of science fiction, and for readers who've liked books like Nil and The Maze Runner.
About the author:
When not writing, Seth is a literary agent at The Gernert Company (www.thegernertco.com), and thinks writing and agenting are the two very best jobs in the world. Thanks for checking in!