Book Review: Virals

Virals by Kathy Reichs - Hardback Cover

Virals by Kathy Reichs – Hardcover, 464 pages – Published May 12th 2011 by Arrow (Young)

Virals is the first book I have read by Kathy Reichs. The majority of the story is written from the viewpoint of 14-year-old Tory Brennan, the niece of Bones star Temperence Brennan, with a few chapters following a different character (or group of characters).

Tory and her friends face a series of challenges after unearthing some incredible mysteries on their beloved Loggerhead Island – where many of their parents work at LIRI, an animal research facility. At first glance, this book may seem like a typical kids-solving-problems kinda tale, which I feared at first, but it turned out to be far more. Due to the young gang of characters that lead this story, many younger readers will be able to relate to their troubles in the way that they are fed up of being looked down on by adults, with their revolutions and discoveries always being deemed as “childish ideas” or somewhere along those lines. The teen female protagonist also brings a lot of relatable content in the form of her language, actions and thoughts. However, Tory may be too young a protagonist for some readers.

One thing I really liked about this book was the scientific element. I’ve recently developed a love for crime novels and forensics, and this book has elements of both. It includes a decent amount of terminology and information rather than dumbing it down for “kids”. For some, this may not be such a good thing as it may be harder to understand or become emerged in, but I personally appreciate it. (Plus, I managed to use it as an excuse for reading instead of completing schoolwork. I mean, I was technically learning stuff, right?)

Another debatable aspect of Reichs’ writing style is the modernism. Again, I think this will appeal to the younger generation as they are accustomed to it, but there may be some readers who are not so keen on the modern terms and descriptions.

There were a few typos and mistakes that I noticed, but nothing hugely terrible. The writing is mostly quite to-the-point, which I wasn’t sure about at first, but it did grow on me as I read on. There were also some wonderful details and descriptions, though some aspects seemed a little repetitive. (I don’t know, maybe I’m just picky.)

Overall, Virals is a gripping, adventurous book that any science-nut or crime-lover should surely enjoy. It’s quite long at 454 pages, and the plot-line definitely thickens with each chapter. Seemingly individual story lines entwine later in the book to create a complicated, exciting scenario full of twists and surprises. I’m giving this book 3.5/4 stars out of 5, and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Seizure.