Sunday, June 24, 2012


The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch
In an America devastated by war and plague, the only way to survive is to keep moving.

In the aftermath of a war, America’s landscape has been ravaged and two-thirds of the population left dead from a vicious strain of influenza. Fifteen-year-old Stephen Quinn and his family were among the few that survived and became salvagers, roaming the country in search of material to trade. But when Stephen’s grandfather dies and his father falls into a coma after an accident, Stephen finds his way to Settler’s Landing, a community that seems too good to be true. Then Stephen meets strong, defiant, mischievous Jenny, who refuses to accept things as they are. And when they play a prank that goes horribly wrong, chaos erupts, and they find themselves in the midst of a battle that will change Settler’s Landing--and their lives--forever.

The Story:  I really enjoyed "The Eleventh Plague".  I love dystopian, especially when it involves the destruction of today's world, where things are familiar yet different.  Buildings are crumbling and there's still signs for Starbucks and McDonald's, but they're overgrown with vines and weeds.  In "The Eleventh Plague" we're introduced to a world that has been decimated by war.  Most of the population was killed by a horrible disease after America was bombed by China with a virus called P-11, or The Eleventh Plague.  It's been twenty years since the war and subsequent collapse, and fifteen year old Stephen Quinn's family have become salvagers, people that wander from place to place trying to find things which they can trade for the things they need.  Stephen has watched his mother die when he was just a small child, and he's just buried his grandfather.  When his father ends up in a coma after an accident Stephen is taken to Settler's Landing where they have medicine and a doctor to help his father.  There the people have rebuilt and are trying to maintain a normal society.  As skeptical as Stephen is he finds himself enjoying the normal life with these people.

"The Eleventh Plague" feels extremely real in that it's a look at a future that is a very real possibility.  Actually, it's not even a far fetched reality, which makes it all the more scary.  Stephen is a very likable character.  He's spent all of his life with his father and grandfather.  All he knows is scavenging, so when he's brought to this "town" he can't believe his eyes.  He can hear his grandfather's harsh warnings in his head telling him the people can't be trusted.  He's convinced that they are crazy to believe that they can continue to live as if the world on the outside isn't falling apart.  All he wants is for his father to wake up so that they can get back on the trail and back to their lives.  But when he lets his guard down he begins to make friends and his opinions about the world begin to change.  Stephen is understandably mature for his age.  He sees the devastation around him and blames it on the mistakes of past generations, and he even strives to be better than they were.  He makes important choices and many mistakes, but he always tries to do what's right, sometimes even making the adults around him see the error of their ways.  While the prose is aimed at the younger generation, it's easily enjoyed by all ages.

The Narration:  "The Eleventh Plague" is read by Dan Bittner.  After Googling him I realized he is apparently also an actor, and he did an amazing job.  He read with emotion and put lots of action into his storytelling.  His characters voices were well defined,  and I had no trouble distinguishing between them.  In my opinion, that is the most important quality of a good audiobook narrator.

Story:  4 Stars * * * * *

Narration:  4 Stars * * * *         


I got my audiobook copy of "The Eleventh Plague" FREE from SYNC, and since I already have an ebook and a hardback copy I'm going to do a giveaway.  If you would like to win a Brand New hardback copy of "The Eleventh Plague" be sure to enter below!

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