Saturday, April 13, 2013

Stung by Bethany Wiggins

Title: Stung
Author: Bethany Wiggins
Format: ARC
Pub. Date: April 2nd 2013
Source: WinterHaven Books blog


A very difficult 2.5, rounded down.

Fiona wakes up to a world that's different from the world she fell asleep in. She's alone in her dirtied, abandoned room with a tattoo on her wrist- an oval with five lines on either side. She knows she should keep it hidden as she walks out into the barren wasteland that, before the bees, was once her home. She must find out the meaning behind her tattoo, why she has been left alone, and why everyone who sees her mark wants her dead.

I'm honestly torn here on a rating. I'm going to say a 2.5. It had some really strong points, but too many negatives for me to give it a three.

First, the positives:

+I love the concept. Bees are important, and most of us don't think about the impact that they have on the Earth on a daily basis. It was cool to see how honey became a luxury good, and just how much the world could be in danger if they were simply to disappear (or be modified by the government.....).

+In true dystopian style, I like the conflicting levels in society. The Fecs, who live in the sewers, the beasts, who are dangerous, the criminal raiders, and those who are allowed inside the wall. Each were affected differently by the change, and none of them are an ideal place to be in.

+I love a good fight to the death. A bit like the Hunger Games, those with the tattoo are pitted against each other in fights until only one is standing. There's something morbidly fascinating about children/young adults trying to kill each other, and I liked that addition to this story.

+I love the cover design. It does represent the major plot of the story in a cool if simplistic way.

But for me, that's where the positives end.

-Instant love. Why is that such a recurring theme for the books I read lately? What happened to learning to love someone, or even the old cliche of enemies becoming loves? I found the main couple in this book to be almost nonsensical and a bit over the top, especially considering all of the danger and threats surrounding them.

-The beasts (those injected with the vaccine in the "change") went from being sci-fi creations to being odd fantasy mixtures. Strong, crazy, violent.... With healing saliva? No thanks.

-Arrin/Arris is one of the most insufferable characters I've ever come across. I don't care what gender they are, or what point in the book it is, they're mean and little and always popping up a bit too conveniently. I was very excited at the end of the book when they got what was coming to them.

-It really fell apart for me in the end. I feel like it was somehow both rushed, and yet, didn't answer anything. At the end of soap operas, when they some up all of the crazy shenanigans about twins and comas and alien babies.... Well, that's how this ending felt for me.... But I was left with questions.

*Why am I supposed to hate the government so much? I understand it's supposed to be evil, but there wasn't enough background information for me to feel passionately about their downfall.

*Where were the bees? The book is called Stung. There's a bee on the cover. But really, they weren't discussed very much. I would have liked to learn more about them, or the change, or something.

*Why is there a fairy tale style happy ending at the end of a dystopian novel? Everything was somehow patched up at the end.... I'm not sure if shit's about to go down in a sequel, or if that really is just a very very very wishful thinking type end scenario, but I feel like I was left out of part of the story.

-To be honest, I didn't find the writing itself to be all that well structured or thought out. The characters felt very shallow and underdeveloped- I didn't really care who lived or died throughout most of the novel. The characters keep referring to the incident that changed America as "before everything changed." I feel like it needed a name, Bee Day or something. Admittedly, whenever I read that line, I actually read "everything changed when the fire nation attacked". The villains were talked up as being super dangerous and rape-y, but the protagonists didn't really seem to have much of a challenge. A quote from the book that sums up the writing in my eyes: “Three minutes,” the doctor says over his shoulder, sounding just like a … doctor." ....Really? All in all I was disappointed with this book. I thought it was going to be a four star read, until the last quarter or so just fell apart for me. I cannot stress this enough I love the concept for this book, and I want to like it. Unfortunately, it fell short. I wouldn't really recommend this, but if you're a fan of books like The Hunger Games or Matched, you may like this. If you didn't like The Hunger Games, I wouldn't recommend getting this book.

Thank you to WinterHaven Books blog for my ARC copy.