Pub. Date: 24th January 2012
Series: Fallen World (#1)
Readership: Young adult
Genres: (Slightly) post-apocalyptic
Sixteen-year-old Kaelyn is living on a Canadian island when a viral epidemic occurs. People she’s known for her whole life start to get sick: It starts with an itch you just can’t shake. Then comes a fever and a tickle in your throat. A few days later, you’ll be blabbing your secrets and chatting with strangers like they’re old friends. Three more, and the paranoid hallucinations kick in. And then you’re dead.
Kaelyn has faith in the government, believes that they’ll do everything they can to discover a cure for the virus, but then the island is quarantined—no one is allowed leave or enter. The community begins to feel abandoned. They must do everything they can to protect themselves, because no one else is going to.
I enjoyed The Way We Fall, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted (and expected) to. It made me think about what I would do if an epidemic occurred in Britain. If a virus started spreading through England, Wales and Scotland, would they quarantine us and then leave to protect the rest of the world? Would we have to fend for ourselves?
However, I did have two main issues with the book. The first issue, and this is by no fault of the author or the book, is that I constantly felt like I reading something I’d already read before. I’ve read a few similar novels recently like Life As We Knew It, Dark Inside, and Ashfall, and so the events that occurred did not elicit any emotion in me. I wasn’t shocked by the way people behaved. I also suppose I like post-apocalyptic-type novels to be quite dramatic (i.e. zombies!) whereas The Way We Fall is much more understated and realistic. This is something I probably would have enjoyed more if I read it a year ago.
The other, and most important, issue I had was with the narrative. The events are described to us through Kaelyn’s letters to her (ex-)best friend Leo. We know at the very start of the book that the two friends had an argument before Leo left the island to go to school. I felt that this was slightly forced and was only created as an excuse to have the narrative written the way it is. (However, this book is part of a series and it is hinted that Leo will have a role in the sequels.) The narrative didn’t really work for me because it meant that Kaelyn’s letters were brief, with only the bare minimum described. I thought that her voice came across as monotone and bland. I didn’t get to see real emotion, I think: the characters were odd in the sense that there’d be a death and everyone would just accept it and move on straight away. Because of this, I didn’t feel that the novel was as “poignant”, “powerful” or “gripping” as the book trailer and synopsis suggests. Nonetheless, this is just personal preference and I can see why others absolutely loved the novel and thought it was chilling and emotional.
The Way We Fall is a realistic novel about surviving on a remote island during a viral epidemic, to be published 24th January 2012.
This book was obtained as an e-Galley from Disney-Hyperion.