How We Became Wicked by Alexander Yates
The Quick Cut: Three teens scramble to survive in a crumbling post-apocalyptic world where bugs named stingers turn people wicked.
A Real Review:
The end of the world is a popular theme in books, TV shows, and movies. If you can imagine it, there's likely a story out there about how that particular method ends up. So when it comes to bugs, how could an author make the concept unique? With this fascinating twist involving how the sting affects each person, the tried and true idea is made fresh again.
Astrid and Hank have spent their entire lives in the secluded bubble community of Goldsport. It's the only life they have known as the world has been one filled with the singers: purple mosquito like bugs that carry a plague that has wiped out most of the population. The singers have left everyone in 3 categories: wicked (the infected who want to politely kill you), the true (hiding from the singers to escape infection) & the vexed (the rare few who were bit by the singers and made immune. Astrid is one of the vexed with her purple eyes being a bright indicator. Can the true hide forever? Or are wicked hiding closer than they think?
This book is a science fiction apocalypse story, but really it's so much bigger than that. Between the brillant world-building and the strong characters with deep back stories, you are lulled into the idea that this is your standard tale. However, under the careful details and immensely impressive connections, there lies a story about asking where wickedness truly comes from. Is what should be feared something that is induced by a disease or what comes naturally by human behavior? The way it plays out in this story absolutely blew my mind.
Our primary heroes (and narrators) are Astrid, Hank, and Natalie. Natalie is separated from Astrid and Hank most of the book, but once they're together, their connection is made clear. I wish I could say I saw it coming, but it took me by surprise. There were a few points in this book that side swiped me because I was so immense in the story.
With characters that feel real and a story that asks philosophical questions, this book will leave you asking for the right kind of more.
My rating: 5 out of 5