Welcome to my blog. I often think I was born with a book in my hand. I have always enjoyed reading, but more importantly, talking about books. This blog is partially about reviews, but is really a forum to talk about what I'm reading, and express all of the thoughts and feelings that there simply isn't room for in a professional review. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on your favourite books as you follow my reading journey.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Variant: A Sci-Fi Thrill-Ride

Benson Fisher thought that Maxwell Academy would be the answer to all of his problems. A Foster Kid, bounced from home to home, he's looking forward to attending a good school where he can make friends, study, and participate in extra-curricular activities. It sounds perfect right? WRONG! What Benson finds when he arrives is a building surrounded by a razor-wire fence from which nobody ever leaves. A place run entirely by students divided into three factions. A place where breaking the rules equals death. When Benson stumbles on the real secret behind the school, he realizes that escape- his best chance for survival- may just be impossible.

The world of Maxwell Academy is combination of Lord of the Flies, Maze Runner, and the Escape From Furnace series. Run entirely by the students, the only thing they know is that the creators of the school are always watching, and nobody comes back from detention. Benson knows that something strange is going on and constantly thinks about escape, but he's conflicted. As part of the Variant Faction, he starts making friends and feeling like he fits in somewhere. On the other hand, there is a lot about Maxwell that doesn't make sense, and Benson's got more questions than answers. (As will the readers) Who is actually behind Maxwell Academy, and what is its purpose? What happens to the students who get detention? Are they really killed as the others believe? And most importantly, what is it that everyone's so afraid of, and why doesn't anybody ever manage to escape?

WOW! It's rare that a book can keep surprising me to the last page, but Robison Wells managed to do just that.  The atmosphere is tense, creepy, and unsettling, and  just when you think you've figured something out, Wells throws in another twist. And then, when you think you finally know where the story is going,  it takes another crazy turn. It's like a perpetually changing maze that's impossible to map, and yet, it all makes sense and it works. It's fast-paced, thrilling, edge-of-your-seat good, and boys in particular are going to eat this up. Not only does it end on a cliff-hanger, but it ends with another twist that I'm positive you won't see coming!
I only regret that the pub date isn't until October, because it means that much longer a wait for book two in this amazing new series.