Published July 2nd 2013 by Berkley Trade
After a virus claimed nearly the entire global population, the world changed. The United States splintered into fifty walled cities where the surviving citizens clustered to start over. The Company, which ended the plague by bringing a life-saving vaccine back from the future, controls everything. They ration the scant food and supplies through a lottery system, mandate daily doses of virus suppressant, and even monitor future timelines to stop crimes before they can be committed.
Brilliant but autistic, sixteen-year-old Clover Donovan has always dreamed of studying at the Waverly-Stead Academy. Her brother and caretaker, West, has done everything in his power to make her dream a reality. But Clover’s refusal to part with her beloved service dog denies her entry into the school. Instead, she is drafted into the Time Mariners, a team of Company operatives who travel through time to gather news about the future.
When one of Clover’s missions reveals that West’s life is in danger, the Donovans are shattered. To change West’s fate, they’ll have to take on the mysterious Company. But as its secrets are revealed, they realize that the Company’s rule may not be as benevolent as it seems. In saving her brother, Clover will face a more powerful force than she ever imagined and will team up with a band of fellow misfits and outsiders to incite a revolution that will change their destinies forever.
What I love about this book is that the main character, Clover, is autistic - but the book isn't about autism. The book is about a dystopian future, time travel, and revolution. I want to see more books like this, but not just for autistic characters. I want to see more characters who are in some way different from the norm going on adventures or falling in love. I want to see them doing everything that "regular" characters get to do in books.
I did have some complaints about this book. For one, I thought the time travel aspect was introduced too late. I didn't read the book description before starting this book, so all I knew about it was that it was dystopian. A lot of the beginning of the book was showing how Clover and West lived, and talking about the Academy. When they finally started talking about time travel, I felt like it came out of nowhere.
I think I've mentioned before that I'm not a fan of multiple points of view. This book was told in the third person, alternating between Clover and West's point of view. And that was completely working for me, but then about halfway through the book she included a section from their father's point of view, and I didn't like that at all.
My last issue with the book is that I didn't feel anything was resolved at the end. As Clover and West unraveled the complicated web that they were wrapped up in, it just kept leading to more questions, and very few answers. I know that this book is the first in a series, but I still don't really like to be left hanging like that.
I'm not sure how the series as a whole will turn out. I think it will take a lot of skill to tie all the threads of the story together in a satisfying way. It could be incredible, or it could crash and burn. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Viral Nation is available today! I was able to read this book through NetGalley.