Survival Colony 9

336p. ebook available. S. & S./Margaret K. McElderry Bks. Sept. 2014. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781481403542. LC 2013034595.
Gr 7 Up—Fourteen-year-old Querry Genn is a member of Survival Colony Nine, the last remaining human group on a war-ravaged Earth. The colony is nomadic. They must move at the slightest hint of danger or risk being attacked and consumed by the Skaldi, an alien creature that invades and mimics a human host until they eat the person from the inside out. No one lives through a Skaldi attack except for Querry, who miraculously survived—minus his memories. Now, the protagonist's father, a domineering man who has led the colony all over the desert, is desperate for his son to recover his past for the sake of the colony's survival. After Querry's father makes a decision that puts the colony at risk, the teen becomes embroiled in an uprising that could be humanity's undoing. At first glance, the novel's premise feels like a mix of Stephenie Meyer's The Host (Little, Brown, 2008) and Justin Cronin's The Passage (Ballantine, 2008). The Skaldi are terrifying creatures, but perhaps not as terrifying as the desolate landscape that Querry and the colony must traverse. There's never fresh water for drinking or bathing and the only water that remains is greasy and acrid. Sentimental possessions are few and meager. Personal hygiene is nonexistent. There's only survival. Aside from pacing issues and some plot contrivances, Survival Colony 9 will appeal to sci-fi fans who will anxiously await the planned sequel.—Kimberly Garnick Giarratano, Rockaway Township Public Library, NJ

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