Book Wookie

Brutally honest book reviews

The Scourge – A.G. Henley

posted by Donna
January21
The Scourge Book Cover The Scourge
Brilliant Darkness #1
A.G. Henley
Self-published
January 31, 2012
Purchased


Seventeen-year-old Groundling, Fennel, is Sightless. She's never been able to see her lush forest home, but she knows its secrets. She knows how the shadows shift when she passes under a canopy of trees. She knows how to hide in the cool, damp caves when the Scourge comes. She knows how devious and arrogant the Groundlings' tree-dwelling neighbors, the Lofties, can be.

And she's always known this day would come—the day she faces the Scourge alone.

The Sightless, like Fenn, are mysteriously protected from the Scourge, the gruesome creatures roaming the forests, reeking of festering flesh and consuming anything—and anyone—living. A Sightless Groundling must brave the Scourge and bring fresh water to the people of the forest. Today, that task becomes Fenn's.

Fenn will have a Lofty Keeper, Peree, as her companion. Everyone knows the Lofties wouldn’t hesitate to shoot an arrow through the back of an unsuspecting Groundling like Fenn, but Peree seems different. A boy with warm, rough hands who smells like summer, he is surprisingly kind and thoughtful. Although Fenn knows his people are treacherous, she finds herself wanting to trust him.

As their forest community teeters on the brink of war, Fenn and Peree must learn to work together to survive the Scourge and ensure their people’s survival. But when Fenn uncovers a secret that shatters her truths, she’s forced to decide who and what to protect—her people, her growing love for Peree, or the elusive dream of lasting peace in the forest.

For the most part, I don’t intentionally seek out dystopian books that have zombies in them. In fact, I haven’t read such a novel since The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor last summer. That may have all changed after reading The Scourge by A.G. Henley. Although The Scourge isn’t primarily a zombie novel, it is certainly an integral part of the story. Arguably, The Scourge is a dystopian novel first, a romance novel second, and a zombie novel last. All three elements were wonderfully written, however, and I honestly can’t decide which I loved best.

Plot

What makes the book extra special is that the main character, Fennel, is blind (Sightless). When the Scourge comes (a.k.a. the zombies), Fennel’s people, the Groundlings, must escape to the safety of the caves in order to avoid being consumed. For some inexplicable reason, the Sightless are protected from the Scourge, so it becomes Fennel’s duty to collect water for both her people, and for the people who live above them in the trees, otherwise known as the Lofties. Fennel has a Lofty Keeper, Peree, whose duty it is to watch over her from the trees.

Character Development

It didn’t take long before the story jumped right into the thick of things, with Fennel taking up her Water Bearer responsibilities. It was so endearing to listen to Peree share stories with Fennel as she walked among the “fleshies”. I couldn’t help but love him and how he helped to talk her through it, protecting her as best he could. It was clear that he already felt a connection with her.

Fennel was also a wonderful character. She was not the least bit annoying, as so many teenaged girls tend to be. She was continually struggling with her duty to her people vs. what was best for herself. I perceived her as utterly selfless, almost frustratingly so. Some of her descriptions in the book felt a bit too visual for a Sightless girl, but for me, they weren’t glaringly obvious and I was able to easily overlook them.

The story quickly began to shift from the Scourge to the relationship between Fennel and Peree. While I wouldn’t go so far as to describe the Groundlings and Lofties as sworn enemies, they certainly weren’t allies, and there was an ever-present tension between the two groups throughout the entire book. This made the development of Fenn’s and Peree’s relationship all the more interesting, as it wasn’t something that was socially acceptable in their world.  I did feel that the sexual tension between them went on for a bit too long, but maybe that’s just my own impatience.

Pacing

The book started to drag in the latter half, even though this was where a good amount of secrets were revealed. We learn some astonishing things about Fennel, Peree, the Scourge and their world in general. The book picked back up again towards the end, and finished just as solidly as it started.

About the Author

Donna is founder of the Book Wookie blog and creator of the WordPress Book Review Plugin. She’s also a web developer who specializes in front-end and WordPress development. When not at the gym or undertaking a new home improvement project, she can usually be found curled up with a glass of wine and a good book.


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4 Comments to

“The Scourge – A.G. Henley”

  1. Avatar January 21st, 2013 at 5:36 pm Holly Snow says:

    Thank you!!! Something new different and surprising! I love the new world you shared with me! Looking forward to book 2!

    Reply


  2. Avatar January 21st, 2013 at 6:08 pm A.G. Henley (@AG_Henley) says:

    Thank you so much for reading The Scourge, and for the excellent review! Good luck in your writing aspirations, too.

    Reply


  3. Avatar January 30th, 2013 at 2:18 pm CM Albert says:

    Good review. I didn’t feel the drag the same way, but that’s an individual feeling by reader, I think. Your review was very well written – you have a good voice & pace yourself. I also gave the Scourge 5 stars on Goodreads and cannot wait for book two to come out! Woot-woot! BTW – LOVE your website banner. Too freakin’ cute.

    Reply


  4. Avatar January 30th, 2013 at 9:27 pm Book Wookie says:

    @Holly – Re: book 2. So am I!

    @AG_Henley – Loved it! Please keep them coming. :)

    @CM – Thanks for the compliments on my review. Can’t take the credit for the header image though. That was my husband’s creative genius!

    Reply


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