I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Orleans by Sherri L. Smith
Published by Putnam Juvenile on March 7th 2013
Source: the Publisher
Also by this author: Pasadena
First came the storms.
Then came the Fever.
And the Wall.
After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct… but in reality, a new primitive society has been born.
Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader’s newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans. In the end, they are each other’s last hope for survival.
Sherri L. Smith delivers an expertly crafted story about a fierce heroine whose powerful voice and firm determination will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.
‘The shape of our great nation has been altered irrevocably by Nature, and now Man must follow suit in order to protect the inalienable rights of the majority, those being the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, the foremost of those being Life.’
After Hurricane Katrina ripped through the South, six more Hurricanes followed, each more powerful than the last. Hurricane Jesus hit in 2019 and left the South changed irrevocably. Not only did it come bearing death and devastation but a new sickness as well: Delta Fever. Everyone in the affected areas became infected and The Blood Rules were formed.
Types AB, B, and A
Need to stay away
From O and from each other,
Plus from minus, sister from brother.
O positive can feed
All positives in need, But O neg is the one
For all tribes beneath the sun.
A new form of racism grew from the sickness as skin color no longer mattered, it became all about what blood type you were. AB’s required constant blood transfusions in order to keep the fever at bay, O positives were constantly being hunted and thrown into the blood farms, and it became survival of the fittest for all.
‘My name is Fen de la Guerre… I am an O-Positive. I’ma find a tribe, or let the swamp take me. But one thing for sure, I ain’t never gonna cry again.’
Orleans is told from the point of view of Fen de la Guerre, a fifteen year old girl that has had to adapt to survive in this treacherous world that is the only one she’s ever known. When her tribe’s chieftain dies in childbirth, Fen vows to honor her dying wish: to give the baby a better life. Fen struggles to keep the baby healthy and Fever free so that she can give her a better life, over the Wall. She encounters a scientist that risked exposure to study the Fever in hopes of discovering a cure who ends up being a huge asset to her and the baby.
The medical detailing throughout the book felt well-researched and certainly explained a lot but there was still a lot left unsaid. I attribute this to the fact that neither of the two narrators, Fen and Daniel, had all the answers and they were trying to understand it all too. For that reason I think details were left intentionally vague, because even by the end you still didn’t have all the answers.
This was an intense, realistic story of survival in the bleakest of worlds. Fen was an amazing narrator full of strength and perseverance. Her story of survival in her earlier years is told in bits and pieces and it’s certainly heartbreaking the things she experienced. The bit I loved most was that there was not a single drop of romance anywhere within these pages! Quite rare, indeed. The bit that I didn’t like as much was the dialect Fen uses which she refers to as ‘talking tribe’ was extremely hard to get used to. Reminiscent of the dialect used in ‘Blood Red Road’ this one definitely takes some patience, but there ends up being a reason behind this that you find out later.
Orleans is a very mature and gritty read that I think would be better read by an older YA reader even though it’s tagged as okay for 12+ readers. There were some very brutal aspects of the story that I felt would be inappropriate for a reader that young (i.e. rape and other forms of violence). This is one of those instances where I feel the book is tagged as YA but for no other reason but because the main character is a teen.
The ending didn’t leave off with a cliffhanger (as I don’t believe this is an intended first in a series) but it’s definitely an ending that left you with questions as to what comes next. Orleans is an extremely captivating and entrancing read that fans of the dystopian genre will likely enjoy.
This is for my personal (ARC) copy of Orleans and since I am covering the shipping charges this is open to U.S. addresses only. Sorry international followers!
Giveaway ends February 28th, 2013
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