“The stronger hurricane seasons we have been confronted with here in the United States takes center stage in this dystopian novel that jumps us ahead about 10 years. Strong hurricanes have continued to strike the Gulf Coast with major severity ... so much so that some of the latter ones are awarded a new Category 6 ranking. As a result, the country has given up in trying to rebuild after strike after strike and the remaining residents are dealing with a new disease called Delta Fever.
Delta Fever has totally redesigned the culture of the region. The states that make up the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida have been evicted from the US as a result of the disease, and those areas are totally walled off. In many ways, society has fallen back into a tribal makeup with blood types making up the main dividing line, rather than race, language, or socio-economic status. Basically everyone is fighting to survive the regression as the swamps are reclaiming the lands that technology once controlled. The blood types have become important because the Fever strikes at different severity. For example, O positives (or OPs as they are called) are carriers and seem to have little side effects while ABs become so ill that they hunt down the other blood types for their blood in the form of forced transfusions. In fact, blood has become a resource that people are willing to pay for ... and they are also willing to kill for it.
Fen de la Guerre is a an OP, and she feel fairly comfortable with her tribe, which has grown large and secure. Before finding the tribe, she had lost both of her parents to the harsh environment. Lydia Moray is the leader of Fen's tribe, and she has become so powerful that she has actually started to reach out to other tribes and other blood types with the hopes of forming peace. That all goes terribly wrong when a tribe of ABs strikes, and it couldn't happen at a worse time because Lydia is going into labor to give birth. When all is said and done, the tribe is shattered, Fen is on her own with the newly born Baby Girl, and Lydia has not survived the birthing. Fen and Baby Girl's only hope is to make it to Mr. No, a wizened hermit everyone respects.
Daniel, a doctor from the other side of the wall (called the Outer States) has found his way into Orleans with the hope of finding a way to cure the Fever so the country can be united once again. He has his great knowledge and technology to keep him safe and, hopefully, allow him to reach his goal. He also has something to prevent things from going horribly wrong: a failed cure that takes out the disease, but also kills the patient in the process. Since everyone in Orleans has the Fever, it would take everyone out. He has the best of intentions against insurmountable odds.
Little do he and Fen know, but their fates are entwined, and they will find themselves fighting to survive and protect Baby Girl from the environment and from the Hunters.
I actually think this is one of the best environmental books I have read to date. Most seem to fail pretty quickly. This novel follows a certain logic and is timed to a very timely issue in the States. In some ways, I kept being reminded of the setting of "Thundarr the Barbarian," that old Hanna-Barbera cartoon that was on when I was little. I thought Fen and Daniel were both pretty interesting characters, and I definitely wanted to keep turning the pages to see what was going to happen to them in the end.
The ending did feel a little bit rushed, but I felt like it was truly an ending. A dystopian work (well, heck, any teen novel now) that seems like it ties things up with just the single volume is pretty refreshing. I do have one warning in that those looking for the super-optimistic happy ending will not find that here, but it is a really strong and realistic ending for the circumstances are characters find themselves in. I really liked this one.”