Review: Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes

Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes

After a virus claimed nearly the entire global population, the world changed. The United States splintered into fifty walled cities where the surviving citizens clustered to start over. The Company, which ended the plague by bringing a life-saving vaccine back from the future, controls everything. They ration the scant food and supplies through a lottery system, mandate daily doses of virus suppressant, and even monitor future timelines to stop crimes before they can be committed.

Brilliant but autistic, sixteen-year-old Clover Donovan has always dreamed of studying at the Waverly-Stead Academy. Her brother and caretaker, West, has done everything in his power to make her dream a reality. But Clover’s refusal to part with her beloved service dog denies her entry into the school. Instead, she is drafted into the Time Mariners, a team of Company operatives who travel through time to gather news about the future.

When one of Clover’s missions reveals that West’s life is in danger, the Donovans are shattered. To change West’s fate, they’ll have to take on the mysterious Company. But as its secrets are revealed, they realize that the Company’s rule may not be as benevolent as it seems. In saving her brother, Clover will face a more powerful force than she ever imagined… and will team up with a band of fellow misfits and outsiders to incite a revolution that will change their destinies forever.

Clover is a brilliant autistic teenager and I absolutely loved seeing the story unfold through her eyes. Full points to the author for wonderful representation of autism. Something that people need to understand is that autism spectrum is large. I personally know a couple of autistic people and no two of them are alike. In this book, Clover is a brilliant kid with an eidetic memory through visuals but she has her problems. She can't handle intense situations, is not good at reading people and hates being touched. Looking at the dystopian world and the other characters through Clover's eyes is interesting for she notices the little things about people that we don't. There was one thing that was disappointing though. It's mentioned that she hates people touching her but she is hugged by people in the book a lot of times and she seems fine with it. during the beginning, Clover tells someone to not touch her shoulder but there is this scene where a complete stranger hugs her and she says nothing.

West is the extremely protective older brother who has given up opportunities just to make his sister's dreams come true. He has turned down an offer from the prestigious Academy because he knows that if he's not around, Clover would be sent to foster care. I loved how caring and practical his character was and enjoyed the couple chapter from his PoV too.

The plot, while unique, wasn't well fleshed out. The pace of the story was good and made sure I was never bored but there was nothing that made me jump out of my seat. The books ends abrubptly, leaving many questions unanswered. While this makes we want to pick up Rebel Nation immediately, I did not like how abruptly the book ended. I swiped to the next page and realized the book was over only when I saw the Acknowledgement page staring back at me.

The writing was wonderful. It flowed quickly and at the same time was descriptive enough. There is some dark humor interspersed in the dialogue which I enjoyed. Te imagery was on point and I could picture just about all the characters and places in my head.

- Autistic Protagonist
- The characters
- The time travel
- The writing

- Certain plot points

It's not everyday you come across a science fiction book with an autistic protagonist. Initially this is what drew me to the book and I'm so glad it did. Now I'm quite invested in all the characters and can't wait to see what happens in Rebel Nation!

View all my reviews