Release Date: 04/02/13
There is no cure for being stung.
Fiona doesn’t remember going to sleep. But when she opens her eyes, she discovers her entire world has been altered—her house is abandoned and broken, and the entire neighborhood is barren and dead. Even stranger is the tattoo on her right hand—a black oval with five marks on either side—that she doesn’t remember getting but somehow knows she must cover at any cost. She’s right.
Those bearing the tattoo have turned into mindless, violent beasts that roam the streets and sewers, preying upon the unbranded while a select few live protected inside a fortress-like wall, their lives devoted to rebuilding society and killing all who bear the mark.
Now Fiona has awakened branded, alone—and on the wrong side of the wall.
My thoughts on the book:
Stung is one of the best novels I've ever read. It is definitely in my top 5 favorite Dystopians of all time. Wiggins does not disappoint in this thrilling novel. The characters are believable AND likable, the world-building is phenomenal, and the plot is nonstop action and suspense. And of course, there is a super hot, swoon-worthy guy. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat from the first page until the last. Be prepared to lose some sleep with this one.
Fiona is an incredibly strong and likable character. I could relate to her instantly, and I respected her ability to survive and keep her wits about her. She woke up in a world that had completely changed overnight, in her view. Everything was different, including herself. But instead of crying about it and feeling sorry for herself, she takes care of herself and she survives against all odds. I'm now convinced that Wiggins is a master at creating strong yet likable females.
Bowen is swoon-worthy, and I want to have his puppies. I don't even want puppies, and he's a fictional character, but wow. He's just wow. Ahem... anyway... He, too, is strong, yet somehow vulnerable. He doesn't shut people out, but he's not a jerk either. He's willing to be kind when he can be, but he's not afraid to kick some ass either. He isn't some clingy emo creep, like a lot of YA male leads are. He's just amazinggggg. I think he's my new favorite YA guy (sorry Daemon).
The world-building is amazing. Wiggins does a terrific job of showing how awful this post-apocalyptic society is. A lot of Dystopians have characters who just whine about how awful things are, but the authors never actually show how bad it is, so it's hard to understand and/or believe it's as bad as the characters think. Wiggins, however, shows us little details along the way. She expertly weaves these details in with the action, so you gain a full picture of the society in which the main character is living. Because of that, I felt like I was in this creepy version of Denver instead of just hearing about it second-hand.
The plot is intense and action-packed. The romance is sweet and a little steamy. The pacing is perfect. I could not put this book down. It's over 300 pages long, and I finished it in around 4 hours. There are so many mysteries, fight scenes, etc., that I wasn't bored for a second. Every time I thought things had calmed down, something else happened, and I was on the edge of my seat again. There are tons of betrayals throughout this book, too, and many characters surprised me.
Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves good writing... especially if you're looking for a unique and action-packed Dystopian with excellent world-building, a strong and likable heroine, and a swoon-worthy love interest. This is one book that you do not want to miss.
About the Author:
Bethany Wiggins has always been an avid reader, but not an avid writer. She failed ninth grade English because she read novels instead of doing her homework. In high school, she sat alone at lunch and read massive hardback fantasy novels (Tad Williams and Robert Jordan anyone?). It wasn't until the end of her senior year that the other students realized she was reading fiction--not the Bible.
Once upon a time, Bethany's sister dared her to start writing an hour a day until she completed a novel. Bethany wrote a seven-hundred page fantasy novel that she wisely let no one read--but it taught her how to write. She is the author of Shifting, Stung (April 2013), and Cured (2014).
Click read more to see my interview with Bowen and enter the giveaway!
Amber: Hi Bowen, and thank you for being here today *bats eyelashes*.
Bowen: Thank you for having me.
Amber: When did you first suspect that Fiona was the marked person you were charged with watching?
Bowen: There were a couple of things that clued me in to the fact that she wasn't a boy--was someone I used to know. First, when I tackled her to the ground to get the cuffs off of her, I felt her hips and saw her cleavage and knew she wasn't a boy. But when I looked right into her eyes, there was no doubt. I was straddling Fiona Tarsis.
Amber: What did you think when you realized it was her?
Bowen: I was furious with myself for the way I had treated her. It made me rethink about the way we--the militia--treated Fecs, because they're all human. And I knew I had to protect her, even if it meant dying, because she's the girl I had a crush on in elementary school and I'd never forgive myself if something happened to her. She was special. She was a link to my past, to a world long gone.
Amber: Aww. You don't seem as harsh and inhumane as the other military guys... was it hard to be around them on a daily basis?
Bowen: No. Not after a while, at least. Because the militia compared to the rest of the world were the most humane people I knew. We kept each other safe. We had each other's backs. We died for each other.
Amber: What do you love and hate most about Fo?
Bowen: Her innocence! It was like this ray of sunshine after living in darkness for four years. She was everything the old world used to be--soft, gentle, full of hope--but at the same time, those were the traits that got people killed in this world. It put us both at risk.
Amber: What was the most traumatic thing you saw as the world changed?
Bowen: The death, carnage and violence. They became a way of life outside of the wall. Innocent people being murdered, innocent children turned into deadly beasts. And the raiders.
Amber: What kept you going when life as you knew it ceased to exist?
Bowen: I don't know. I guess, in the beginning, the will to live was stronger than the fear of giving up. After a while, the desire to fight for something better when everything around you is going to hell is a pretty strong motivator. I had to hope that things would eventually get better, and I did what I could to help that hope along.
Amber: What do you miss most about the way things used to be?
Bowen: Living without fear. I cannot do anything now without it being tainted by fear. I don't sleep well 'cause I'm afraid of what will wake me up. I eat fast 'cause I don't know if I'll ever eat again. I can't even walk ten steps without looking over my shoulder to make sure no one is following me. Everything is tainted with fear.
Amber: If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be and why?
Bowen: I would tell the government not to genetically change the bees! If they would have left the bugs alone, the world wouldn't have gotten all screwed up.
Amber: What are your plans for the future?
Bowen: Spend as much time with Fo as possible. Maybe help repopulate the earth. One thing I've learned from all the crap I've been through is live in the moment. Enjoy what you have while you have it, because you never know when it'll be gone.
Amber: Good advice. Thanks again for taking time out of fixing the world to speak with me. I wish you and Fo the best of luck in the future (though I'm a bit jealous of her, haha!).
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