Title: Epitaph Road
Author: David Patneaude
Genre: YA Dystopian
Publication Date: March 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 272 Pages
ISBN-10: 160684055X (EgmontUSA)
ISBN-13: 978-1606840559 (EgmontUSA)
Reviewed by: Bridget
2097 is a transformed world. Thirty years earlier, a mysterious plague wiped out 97 percent of the male population, devastating every world system from governments to sports teams, and causing both universal and unimaginable grief. In the face of such massive despair, women were forced to take over control of the planet–and in doing so they eliminated all of Earth’s most pressing issues. Poverty, crime, warfare, hunger . . . all gone.
But there’s a price to pay for this new “utopia,” which fourteen-year-old Kellen is all too familiar with. Every day, he deals with life as part of a tiny minority that is purposefully kept subservient and small in numbers. His career choices and relationship options are severely limited and controlled. He also lives under the threat of scattered recurrences of the plague, which seem to pop up wherever small pockets of men begin to regroup and grow in numbers.
And then one day, his mother’s boss, an iconic political figure, shows up at his home. Kellen overhears something he shouldn’t–another outbreak seems to be headed for Afterlight, the rural community where his father and a small group of men live separately from the female-dominated society. Along with a few other suspicious events, like the mysterious disappearances of Kellen’s progressive teacher and his Aunt Paige, Kellen is starting to wonder whether the plague recurrences are even accidental. No matter what the truth is, Kellen cares only about one thing–he has to save his father.
Quick & Dirty: This was a unique post-apocalyptic thriller that had good action, and interesting characters.
Opening Sentence: Charlie frowned as muted sunlight leaked through the ragged umbrella of evergreen boughs overhead.
Thirty years ago there was a virus that killed 97% of the male population. It was a very fast acting virus that was airborne and if you got infected you had less than 24 hours to live. After that women had to rebuild society and they created a euphoric society with no crime or war. For the last thirty years the world has been at peace, there are still random breakouts of the virus so the male population is still a very small percentage. Males are treated as a lesser being, they can only work in specific job fields and they are basically just sperm donors. Everyone is happier now that there are fewer males or at least the women are.
Kellen Dent is 14 years old and one of the few boys to inhabit the earth. His father was one of the survivors of the male killing virus from thirty years ago. He hasn’t really had much of a relationship with his father since he left to live in a rural community that is made up of mostly males. Kellen is hoping to visit his father this summer, but his mother seems hesitant in letting him go. His mother wants him to stay at home and study for his impending trials. The trials will determine what type of job he can have and his mother wants him to be an influential adult, but as a male that is a hard thing to achieve. Secretly Kellen dreams of living like his father. He wants to be free and live a comfortable worry free life. His mothers boss decides to pay a visit and Kellen overhears a conversation that he shouldn’t have. The virus is heading to the small town his father lives in, and Kellen has to warn him. Kellen has grown up in Utopia but Kellen starts to wonder if the virus was an accident or not. What price was paid to make their world so perfect? Was it worth it?
The story is told from Kellen’s point of view. He had a good strong voice throughout the book. He is a caring person and your average teenage boy. He isn’t the most comfortable around girls but there aren’t any boys around to be friends with. Girls are always looking at him and flirting with him since he is such an anomaly. He had a good personality and can be pretty funny at times. My one problem with him was that at times he seemed so much older than 14 and then other times he acted his age. I wish that he would have been older, I think it would have fit the role he played a little bit better. Overall, I liked him as a character.
Tia is the love interest in the book. Her and her cousin, Sunday, move into the boarding house that Kellen lives in. The group becomes quick friends. Tia is very smart and independent. She has always questioned what really happened when the virus hit, and she wants some answers. She decides to help Kellen warn his father. She is cute and Kellen is instantly attracted to her. I liked Tia. She was interesting and fun to get to know.
This was a fast paced thriller that was interesting and unique. There was good action and a fun adventure. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and the idea was different. Unfortunately, I had a hard time believing in the story; it was just a little too far-fetched for me. I just couldn’t get a grip on a world where people would be better off with only one gender. The plot was really predictable as well, so that made the story not quite as intriguing. Overall, I would say that this was a good read but not a really great read. If the synopsis sounds interesting to you and you like post- apocalyptic books you should give this one a try.
As he switched it on, he foolishly half hoped for music, but this morning, as always, news filled the airwaves and the plague was all the news. No crime sprees, no crooked politicians, no environmental disasters, no weather, no sports. He imagined empty stadiums. No players. No fans.
Because no plague-related deaths had been reported in almost two days, scientists believed the disease had run its course. For now. Newborn boys were no longer dying. Ships were returning to port. Within hours of one another, the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, all officially noted the cessation of deaths.
FTC Advisory: EgmontUSA provided me with a copy of Epitaph Road. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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