Stung by Bethany Wiggins
|Stung by Bethany Wiggins|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: It has a great dystopian premise (catastrophe after bees become extinct) and lots of thrilling action and pace, but this book is somewhat let down by a rather limp Mary Sue of a central character. One for readers who are looking for themed romance rather than dystopian fiction that happens to feature a love affair.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 294||Date: July 2013|
|External links: Author's website|
Fiona wakes up confused and disoriented. She's in her bedroom but her bedroom has never looked like this. It's filthy. And abandoned. Where is her family? And how has she come to have a strange tattoo on her hand?
I'll explain quickly. The tattoo was intended to be a protective sign, proving that the bearer had been vaccinated against a deadly flu virus that had spread worldwide shortly after the bee population had become extinct. But the vaccine had terrible side effects, turning people into violent, ravening beasts. In this post-bee, post-disaster world, the few remaining healthy people live inside the Wall. A militia patrols the outside, protecting the Wall's inhabitants from the "beasts". And the tattoo marks Fiona as a beast. Everyone wants to kill her. Captured by the militia, Fiona finds an unlikely ally in Bowen. But can the pair find a way for Fiona to survive?
I really, really, really wanted to like Stung. Actually, I wanted to love it. It's a great premise. What would happen if the bees went extinct? You hear it being talked about but not enough. It would be a disaster. It's a genuine threat. So a book about it - complete with accidentally disastrous human attempts to stall catastrophe at the very last moment - was something I found quite exciting. I also like my central characters to be female - I'm a girl after all. And I did kinda sorta enjoy the book. The set up is very cool, with Fiona waking up in her childhood home only to find it abandoned and the world outside a truly dangerous place. There are some great action sequences, too. A siege as Bowen and Fiona hide from the militia and a fight at the book's climax are particularly great.
But. But, but but. Fiona is not my idea of a great central character. She's so passive. People do mean things to her and she just sits there, cries a bit, and is amazed. But the everyone she's met since she woke up has been mean to her, so the handwringing is pointless. But Fiona just doesn't seem to get it. It got to the point where I wanted to slap her. And she's in love with Bowen in seconds. In fact, it seems as though Fiona places much more importance on finding a guy to love than she does on finding out what's going on and righting all the wrongs in this horrible new world. I just did not want Fiona to be such a Mary Sue and I felt very meh that she was. And there are some passages that come perilously close to purple prose.
If you're looking for a romance novel with a dystopian setting, then Stung is one for you. It has all the tropes and the setting is cool. But if you're looking for a dystopian novel that might happen to include a love story but isn't all about a love story, then, like me, you might feel a tad let down. It's horses for courses, you know?
If you're looking for a love story in a dystopian setting but prefer your female characters to have some kickassedness about them, then you might well enjoy Divergent by Veronica Roth.
You can read more book reviews or buy Stung by Bethany Wiggins at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Stung by Bethany Wiggins at Amazon.com.
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