|REMADE (Remade 1) by Alex Scarrow|
|Reviewer: Nigethan Sathiyalingam|
|Summary: A top notch genre novel for teen fans of horror, that ably lays the foundation for what looks set to be another epic series by the ever consistent Alex Scarrow.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 384||Date: June 2016|
|Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books|
|External links: Author's website|
It started as one of those news stories no one really paid too much attention to, just another virus infection in a faraway country. But as knowledge of the pathogen and its capabilities spreads, the medics, biologists, epidemiologists are the first to realise that the world is staring at an extinction level event. With no species barrier and seemingly limitless transmission capability, the virus is utterly unstoppable, mercilessly liquidizing its victims, leaving just bare bones and tufts of hair as a reminder of what once was. Leon was never cut out to be a hero, but fortuitous circumstances find him somehow among a small group who manage to escape the initial purge. However, as Leon tries desperately to look after his injured younger sister, Grace, he soon comes to realise that the ever-looming threat of the virus is far from the only danger in this post-apocalyptic world.
It's been a little while since I've read a genuine, unadulterated horror story, and this book reminded me why, when it's well written, horror is one of my favourite genres. I simply couldn't turn my eyes away from the atrocities unfolding on the page, observing the depiction of society's brutally efficient eradication at the hands of a most merciless executor, in a state of horrified fascination. I was fortunate enough to meet the author, Alex Scarrow, when he attended a horror panel at 2016's Young Adult Literature Convention (YALC!). Having read Remade beforehand, it was no surprise to see him talk so passionately about the horror stories and movies that inspired him. There's a real sense of homage being paid to classic tales of horror. Gruesome gore is splattered generously across the pages, and there is unashamed use of standard horror and post-apocalyptic story tropes, but all done in such an entertaining and stylish way that it somehow manages to transcend cliché.
It does help that I'm a big fan of Alex Scarrow's seasoned writing style. He's a real expert at balancing vivid world-building and large casts of interesting, realistic characters, alongside fast-paced, thrilling plots that really indulge in the unique opportunities offered by a particular genre. Although I did find the plot mostly predictable, the urgent pace of the story and the horrifying descriptions of the chaos caused by the virus were plenty enough to keep me relentlessly turning the pages. In particular, I really enjoyed the brief science-y interludes that shifted to the perspective of the virus itself, describing its gradual growth and evolution from its primal biological purpose to something a little bit more complicated, and a whole lot more sinister.
Leon wasn't the most distinct of protagonists in this book, but I did get the sense that the author is playing a longer game; plenty of character groundwork is laid throughout the story, making me very intrigued to see how things turn out in the sequel, both with Leon and the rest of the cast. The end of the excellent TimeRiders series, Alex Scarrow's first foray into YA, left a real hole in my reading life, so I'm delighted to report that Remade is a very solid opener for a series that I very much look forward to following.
My thanks to the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
If you haven't read Alex Scarrow's aforementioned TimeRiders series, which I absolutely adore, it is well worth checking out for any sci-fi fans, as well as lovers of adventure and historical settings. Meanwhile, Michael Grant's Gone and Will Hill's Department 19 are two of my absolute favourite YA series, and standout at the very top of the busy supernatural-horror-action-thriller market. Finally, there's no way I can complete my recommendations without bringing up darling of The Bookbag and Master of Horror himself, Darren Shan. Both his Demonata and ZOM-B series are filled with gory goodness that'll sate even the hardiest of horror fans.
You can read more book reviews or buy REMADE (Remade 1) by Alex Scarrow at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy REMADE (Remade 1) by Alex Scarrow at Amazon.com.
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