I received an ARC version of this book from NetGalley in response for a fair and honest review. Haven’t heard of NetGalley? Check them out here: https://www.netgalley.com/
I must confess I don’t browse them very often but I received an email with the book advertised in it and I was immediately intrigued by the plot. I literally didn’t know anything about it, or the author, except the synopsis and that it was a YA novel.
The Maasai Mara Sleeping Syndrome has returned after a six-month hiatus. This time, it’s popped up in New York, and it’s wiped out an entire homeless shelter.
The same night of the outbreak, Harper, a seventeen-year-old girl, stumbles across a glowing figure in the desert outskirts of her neighborhood. As her suburb goes on lockdown, Harper finds herself isolated from her friends and family, and soon begins to suspect that the events — though thousands of miles apart — may have something in common.
Harper must find her bravery and embark on a plot-twisting adventure that will have her looking for answers in unexpected places… and worlds
I’m not entirely sure why but before I picked it up I assumed two things about this book: It was going to be a quick, albeit short read a la some YA on Amazon, and that I wasn’t sure I was going to stick with it.
First of all, I didn’t think it was a quick read. There are in the region of about 60 chapters, and whilst they weren’t the longest, they were actually long enough. It took me about a month to read from beginning to end. Part of that was because I didn’t have the most of amount of time to dedicate to reading, but also because I had to take a few breaks from the book.
There are both pros and cons to this book, so I’ll delve into that in a moment, but before I do I just want to skim over the plot.
We meet Harper, a 17 (I think!) something teen just run home from being out in the desert where she saw something that didn’t make sense. It saw her back, and chased her. She is terrified, and all she wants to do is hide with her family. We have a small flashback to earlier in the day as to why she was out in the desert in the first place, and explains a little about the Maasai Mara Sleeping Syndrome, where it’s popped up and where it popped up. Harpers mother is scared of this disease, and doesn’t want her children leaving the house. Harper, being quite unrelenting, goes out anyway. So naturally, this sleeping sickness comes to town and Harper is quarantined whilst everyone either dies or escapes. Queue some escape attempts and some aliens and a whole load of sci-fi, memory loss, special abilities and something-not-quite-right with the world and we have Potency.
I liked the friends Harper made when she had been abducted by the aliens and they were educating them on their history and cause for existence, but many of the other characters, including Harpers own family didn’t really feel like established characters, so much so that when one of the reveals happens later I was sort of like ‘oh yeah she has XYZ.’
Now I’ve delayed writing about the book because I know I have to rate it. Ultimately, I really enjoyed reading about Harper, and the world that the author created. I thought there was a lot to the story, and there were good plot developments and it did keep me entertained all the way to the end. Even one of the big reveals at the end to be fair I didn’t see coming. (I am not going to spoil it if you wish to pick it up!)
I think there were two things that pulled me out of the book a bit – one of them was that I couldn’t place when the story was being told. Perhaps it was just my misinterpretation but I thought that this was taking place in the near future, but there were a lot of references to Facebook, Instagram, the internet etc in those first few chapters that I struggled to get my head around that this perhaps wasn’t the near future.
The second thing that pulled me out of the story more times than I would have liked was the way that certain things were written. The book is told from a first person perspective (I seem to gravitate towards this style just lately) but some of the ways that things are written just jarred me. It’s nothing concerning or anything like that, but it’s colloquialisms like ‘brah’ that I took me by surprise. The way the story is written is also a bit long a big long stream of consciousness – which I guess it is as it’s in first person – but also meant that I didn’t necessarily pick up on all the details as they happened. I find this a lot in first person books though, so that could be just be me.
Overall I enjoyed the story here, I would like to read more from the author. There was a lot to take in this book, and perhaps not everything was perfectly explained (as can be the case in first person stories where there’s a lot going on in the authors head). I’ll keep and eye for the next book and see where the story goes.
My next book will be the new Laini Taylor one…. but completion of this book makes 1/12 for this year. (This years reading challenge is just one book per month. Anything above that would be nice but I’m not over reaching with it this year).
Until next time folks,