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Review: Orleans (Sherri Smith)

The Deets:
Audience: YA
Pages: 336
Publisher: March 7th 2013 by Putnam Juvenile
ISBN: 9780399252945
genre: dystopian
source: e-ARC from Netgalley



Orleans
First came the storms.
Then came the Fever.
And the Wall.


After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct… but in reality, a new primitive society has been born.

Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader’s newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans. In the end, they are each other’s last hope for survival.




Move over Tris and Katniss, because Fen de la Guerre is ruling the dystopian scene.

I really hope this is the beginning of a series, because the final page left me breathless. I have to know more about what this future America is like. Sherri Smith did an amazing job creating a world within a world.

The Delta region has been destroyed by hurricanes and left for dead. Survival of the fittest. No one expect the people living in New Orleans to survive the Delta Fever, so when Daniel, an overly optimistic scientist, sneaks across the border to New Orleans he is shocked to find that everything he has been told is a lie.

The Delta is very much alive, and it's terrifying. Blood hunters become the new form of slavery and human trafficking. They are ruthless and they lurk behind every shadow. Poor Fen is O Positive, which means she's a hot commodity to those suffering from Delta Fever. Her blood could give them life, and she is constantly being hunted for it. I don't know about you, but that right there was enough ot make me go "OMG" as I read this book. What an imagination! How terrifying this new America is!

The characters were pretty solid. Daniel was certainly foolish, but he meant well. Fen was fierce. She was determined, and she certainly wasn't going to sit back and accept defeat without a fight. Her quick thinking saved her numerous times throughout Orleans. The villains are many, and you can't limit them to one type of person either. I don't think it gets any worse than a blood hunter, but then I read about the evil woman that ran a blood bank/brothel using innocent orphans. That was pretty awful. Betrayal lurked everywhere.

I have to be honest, though, that I was a little worried when I started reading. Fen is from deep in the Delta and so she speaks with a distinct dialect. It was hard to read at first because my brain was revolting against the lack of subject-verb agreement. Ultimately, however, that distinct voice is what made this book so unique. Fen was very believable-- from her speech patterns down to her love of her hair. It was so real, and my heart ached for her in the end.

In short, this is a must read. No questions about it. It is by far one of the best dystopians I have read in 2013. I really, really, really hope it will be a series because I can't get enough of Orleans!

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