Rummanah Aasi
  For the past few months or so I've been having dystopian fatigue. With the excitement surrounding the Hunger Games movie and the influx of dystopian reads in the YA world, it's hard to not get swept up in the frenzy. Unfortunately, when a genre becomes popular you get a lot of books that are derivative-filled with the same plot and characters. Just when I thought I read your average dystopian book, along comes The Apocalypse Gene by Suki Michelle and Carlyle Clark which dares to go beyond the dystopian boundaries and dares to do something new.

Description (from Goodreads): Global pandemic is raging.

Olivya Wright-Ono's once loving home has been converted to a hospice for the dying. Her ability to see auras forces her to witness, with agonizing detail, the vibrant colors of life consumed by malignancy. 

  The beautiful and troubled, Mikah, is an elite Empath in the ancient Kindred clan, led by the brooding, ever-morphing, monster named Prime. Mikah has learned a terrible truth . . . the plague is linked to Kindred origins. When Olivya sees evidence of disease creeping into her mother's aura, she has no one to turn to but Mikah. Can he unearth the Kindred secrets and find a cure?
   Can she trust this boy whose power allows him to manipulate her very emotions? With her mother's life, and that of the world, in the balance, Olivya and Mikah embark on a quest to stop the Pandemic, only to discover it is far, far more than a mere disease . .

Review: By combining elements of the dystopian, paranormal/supernatural, science fiction, fantasy, and adventure, The Apocalypse Gene is a book that can be enjoyed by readers of all these individual genres. The story world building is intriguingly built as the past and future begin to collide. Ethical dilemmas and modern-day humor add depth to the tale while we are shown somber visions of apocalypse with every twist and turn of the plot. The different genre elements are put into play as the neck breaking actions begin at the very first page. While we aren't given answers right away and feel disoriented at first, we are swept away by what is unfolding right before our eyes just like our main characters.
  Olivya has the ability to see auras, something she has always tried to control and keep separate from her daily life, which is extremely hard to do when your house is turned into a hospice. Who would want to see the vibrant colors of death and diseases? Olivya’s abilities lend a very vivid and artistic element to the story. I enjoyed the descriptions of emotions through color and a glimpse of what it means to be a member of her world. I also loved the fact that Olivya is of mixed race, part African American and part Japanese, which both cultures play an important role in her life. Despite the dark ambiance surrounding Olivya, her humor is what keeps The Apocalypse Gene from being a dark and dreary read.
  While Olivya is rooted to reality, Mikah is otherworldly. He brings a mythical and supernatural slant to the book with his not quite human abilities. His story also connects the death Olivya is surrounded by every day with worlds beyond imagination and monsters of alien background. I had a fun time trying to figure out what exactly Mikah is and his role with the pandemic.
  The combination of Olivya and Mikah twists classically separate genres into the main story arc. Although I loved the different elements incorporated into the story, I felt it made the plot very convoluted. I had to get past all the various mythological creatures, invading aliens, technological gadgets, etc. to get to the root of the story, which is about belief-believing in yourself, your friends, your family and the hope of a better future. The characters come alive when things are kept simple, allowing the readers to connect to the characters at a personal level. If the authors decided to concentrate and develop a few elements in their story, it would have worked better.
 As a whole, The Apocalypse Gene was a very interesting albeit frustrating read, that offers a genre buffet-style read, which should appeal to many different readers.

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language and PG-13 violence. Recommended for Grades 8 and up.

If you like this book try: I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore, Possession by Elana Johnson
11 Responses
  1. I've heard a lot of reviews of books say, "I didn't understand it, I was confused"...I kind of like being disoriented, at least at the beginning of a book. Under the Never Sky is one that I heard those comments a lot, but I liked that book very much. I'm very interested in this one. Thanks...

  2. The Kindle ebook is only $2.99! I just bought it....

  3. Jenny Says:

    It's super exciting that this one brought something fresh and new to the table, but it's a shame some of that creativity got muddled with all the different plot elements. I felt similarly with Arcadia Awakens, there were just so many offshoots of the main plot that I could barely keep up with them all. Fabulous review Rummanah!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Oh wow- this sounds kind of interesting. Im pretty harsh on my dystopians as of late due to the mass flooding in the market right now, but if its new and original Im all for it...;)

  5. Hello Rummanah!

    Thank you so much for taking he time to read and review our novel on your wonderful blog.

    Wishing you all the best,

    Carlyle & Suki

  6. I reviewed this one a while back and i agree with your observations. I thought this book got way complicated and there was a lot of information piled on the reader, I also really did not like the Hollo character, her speech was borderline obnoxious. It was an interesting read though.

  7. Hmm, I never have really understood what an empath is. I know they feel others emotions, but they kind of scare me. I keep thinking of the one from J.R. Ward's series and he always scared me. So they get a bad wrap from me. Not sure I want a buffet of dystopian. I'm only just now finding some that I like. This may go overboard for me.
    Great review, though. I like how you broke it down into the various and numerous genres.


  8. Sounds a bit like it leans toward the fantasy. Sometimes those can be frustrating at times. This does sound like something I would enjoy. Haven't heard of it before. Thanks!

  9. I like the idea of mixing genres and having lots of things going on - makes everyone happy - but I can see how it would be convoluted. Still, I like the idea of auras as well as a mixed race character.

  10. Candace Says:

    Hmmm... I hadn't heard of this one before. I like that there's some humor to lighten it a bit as dark reads (or TOO dark anyway) aren't really my thing. It certainly sounds different and that's a very good thing! I'm also a big burnt out on dystopian so that's great this one brought something new to the table.

  11. This one sounds interesting. I've never heard of it but I like that it's an amalgamation of genres although that can get frustrating as well. I like stories that have a deeper meaning so I'll see if this one is available at my library (since you only gave it a 3). Thanks Rummanah!

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