Monday, September 17, 2012

Adaptation ~ Malinda Lo (earc) review

Adaptation (Adaptation #1)
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
September 18, 2012
400 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

Reese, her debate partner David and their chaperone are in the Phoenix airport when the news comes on: a plane in New Jersey has crashed, killing all aboard and witnesses say it happened after the plane collided with a flock of Canada geese.

The news sends shock through the airport - but not as much as the subsequent news announced in the next few moments. It is not just one plane that has crashed. Multiple planes have been brought down, seemingly by groups of birds and the FAA has grounded all planes.

With no other way to get home - and sensing that the crashes are more than some flukes of nature, they begin the drive home.

David and Reese somewhere in Nevada when the crash happens. A bird flies into the headlights and the car flips over.

When Reese wakes up, they're in some kind of military hospital. She can't remember what's happened since the crash - despite being told it's been almost thirty days. The doctors won't tell them where they are, how they were treated or how they're suddenly, so surely feeling so much better. Nor are they allowed to tell anyone else they little they do know.

Upon returning home, things are even different than she expected: military enforced curfew, men in hazmat suits picking up the dead birds before speeding off, the feelings she has for Amber, the girl who literally crashed into her, someone who may be following her . . . and her own recovery.

Reese may be the most different thing of all.

Adaptation has one of my favorite opening sections of really any book I've read lately. It builds the tension, the fear and, also, the fear of what's to come incredibly well. While it does involve planes crashing and does, ever so briefly, mention September 11th, it still feels separate from that. The events of Adaptation's opening are so clearly encapsulated in Adaptation that you don't feel like it's a rehash of anything.

It introduces us well to not only the present characters but also to Reese's friend Julian and his love of conspiracy theories - which are a big part of Adaptation and also help push things along.

As much as I loved the beginning, I did feel as if there was a bit of a disconnect between the first group of chapters, the first five or six and the latter parts of the story. They built up the tension and this anxiety . . . and then it didn't quite play out.

San Francisco, a month after all of these events, didn't need to be massively effected, but it felt more like there was a curfew which influenced maybe one or two scenes. Then they picked up birds. Both things are in the synopsis. Maybe that was part of the point, that everything was made to see fine - but if so, then the curfew seems odd.

I liked Reese's struggle with how she was feeling about Amber and what those feelings meant about who she, Reese, was all while she was trying to figure out just what they'd done to her at the hospital. It's nice when characters aren't completely taken over by one side of the story (either their intrapersonal conflicts or figuring out the 'other' aspect).

The story as a whole did lack a bit of tension or drama or anxiety for me. Whether that was due to the stellar opening that seemed to promise a different type of day to day life (not necessarily drastically so) or because the outcome or 'what' for several characters was really quite clear from about midway through, I'm not sure.

The way the ending itself actually played out, was not obvious so I'm looking forward to the second book in this series for where things go.

Rating: 7.5/10

thank you to LBYR and NetGalley for my review copy of this


  1. never even heard of this book... nice review. thanks!

    1. Thank you! This one seems to have been a little more under the radar than some.

  2. I have seen mixed reviews on this one but it sounds oh so creepy! I love strong opening chapters like that but it's too bad it wasn't followed by something equally awesome. I plan to read it very soon so I guess I'll know what to expect. Great review!

    1. Thank you :) It seems to be a book capable of eliciting a lot of different reactions. I loved the feeling created in the beginning so I actually hope people disagree with me and think that continues ;-)

  3. Great review now I know what to expect ... Pity that there was a disconnect between the chapters :(

    Krazyyme @ Young Readers

    1. Thank you :) I may have been expecting something different after the opening, but things never quite clicked.

  4. I agree that it the beginning of the novel set up for an intense read and then it just lulled and I was bored for most of it. I was super excited for this one, and it just didn't work for me. Awesome review!

    1. Thank you! I was really excited by the first several chapters . . . and then life was sort of back to normal (albeit with a few changes, but not all I was expecting).


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