(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Razorbill on February 24th 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Love & Romance, Science & Technology, Survival Stories, Young Adult
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Deep in the Kalahari Desert, a Corpus lab protects a dangerous secret… But what happens when that secret takes on a life of its own? When an educational safari goes wrong, five teens find themselves stranded in the Kalahari Desert without a guide. It’s up to Sarah, the daughter of zoologists, to keep them alive and lead them to safety, calling on survival know-how from years of growing up in remote and exotic locales. Battling dehydration, starvation and the pangs of first love, she does her best to hold it together, even as their circumstances grow increasingly desperate. But soon a terrifying encounter makes Sarah question everything she’s ever known about the natural world.
A silver lion, as though made of mercury, makes a vicious, unprovoked attack on the group. After a narrow escape, they uncover the chilling truth behind the lion’s silver sheen: a highly contagious and deadly virus that threatens to ravage the entire area—and eliminate life as they know it. In this breathtaking new novel by the acclaimed author of Origin and Vitro, Sarah and the others must not only outrun the virus, but its creators, who will stop at nothing to wipe every trace of it.
Jessica Khoury has returned to the world where Corpus exists and is on the verge of eerie scientific experimentation. The third installment in this companion series follows Sarah, a girl who has lived all over the world, in all sorts of conditions while her parents recorded their scientific discoveries. Four months after her mother’s death, five teenagers arrive to learn about life in the Kalahari desert. Suddenly, they’re left alone after Sarah’s dad and Theo, one of her parents’ friends, go looking for poachers nearby. When they don’t return at the designated time, Sarah decides that she will go search for them in the morning.
When she finds things she was hoping not to see and her dad – thankfully – not one of them, she and people she’s only known a day are without any guidance. With the help of her years of expertise on surviving in strenuous circumstances and navigating the Bush, they find themselves on an adventure they weren’t expecting—and definitely aren’t going to enjoy. Sarah learns that “[e]very one has a secret that will break your heart” and the world she has always been a part of is smaller than she thought. It is a story of discovering oneself and learning new secrets of her character that she hadn’t even known.
In addition to her new self-discoveries, her world begins changing even more when she realizes that the nature she had once been so sure of is being corrupted. When the mercury lion nearly harms the group, leading them to scientific experimentations that would not only harm them but the rest of the world, the group of five, who have very little in common, have to band together to save something bigger than themselves.
I enjoyed the scientific aspect of the story and how Khoury makes the experiments believable. I felt as if I was really in the Kalahari, even though I’ve never been there myself, the entire time I read the novel. Vivid imagery and involving problems with the landscape made it not only a great setting for a story but an interesting one, also. While traveling the landscape, she remembers things about her mom and advice that she gave her over the years. “’People are like stars, but it’s stories that turn us into constellation. If we don’t tell our stories, we burn alone in the dark’” is one of the few novelties she kept from her mother, and Sarah realizes that she wants her constellations to shine bright, her new friends, one in particular, may help with that. Having friends is something that was difficult for Sarah to have because of the constant moving. The only time she was truly attached was at a school in one of the places her parents stayed for awhile. The new friendships she makes start out rocky but were interesting to read and watch grow, especially with Sam. Being accepted is something that Sarah constantly struggles with, but she realizes that the person she is just what they need. There are wonderful life lessons, such as making every day count and to enjoy each one no matter what problems arise.
I recommend all of Jessica Khoury’s book, which do not have to be read successively.