Jul 17, 2016

Born - Tara Brown

Published in 2012. Emma, a 19-year-old girl, who has lived alone in a hut in the woods for a decade since her father passed away, was taught the basic rules of survival and how she should hide and protect herself from the infected. Up to this day she has followed the rules as she was instructed and avoided any contact with other human beings; she only has her faithful wolf Leo as her sole company.

But one day she hears the chilling knocking at her hut’s door; a crack she had feared all these years and now the panic confirmed that the time had come. For a few seconds she tries to make up her mind on what to do, and then takes her gun and decides to pull the door ajar.

My score:

Born is the first book of the trilogy, but it gives the impression of being the second one. Apparently crucial events occurred ten years ago, such as the end of the world, just to mention one; but the author does not give many details about it. The lack of background gives the feeling that we missed an essential part of the story, or that we simply opened the book at a random page and have started reading from that point. Ten years ago many people died and many others got infected, of what? We do not know. And only a small percentage of the population survived, and our heroine of course, belongs to that percentage.

The argument takes place in a rural area where the characters must supply themselves with very meager resources and sometimes of their own invention: such as the manufacture of bows and arrows. However, incidentally the use of phones and other technology is mentioned which suggests that the story unfolds in present time or at least not far from ours.

The beginning of the work is a little slow; we do not know what the characters attempt to besides surviving in a rural sector and with limited means. Only halfway through the book begins the action and the plot takes an interesting twist. There is a site whose purpose is to reproduce healthy humans in order to preserve the species. Unfortunately this episode is temporary so the narration falls back into the camp life, meetings in the evenings around a campfire and songs accompanied by strings.

I found the scene frankly boring, it struck me as tiresome. Though there was a time when the protagonist comes to town and it seems she will find more adventure there, but she just decides to turn back to the monotony of the field.

Emma is a teenager who knows how to take care of herself; however, her heroin role is magnified to disproportionate levels. With no more preparation than hunting animals, making arrows and living alone; Em achieves to dismantle an organization with the help of a group of people that operates under her leadership. When did she acquire such a skill? We do not know. It's a kind of tall tale the fact that this girl who clearly doesn’t know how to manage a relationship with a guy actually has the guts and the wit, essential elements to plan and execute a massive rescue.

The appearances of zombies are sporadic and their role in the plot is unclear. I imagine that this point will be further discussed in the next volumes of the trilogy.

In conclusion the book aims at a teenage audience, whith sensual scenes where guys are willing to have fun while girls fall in love are frequently described. In my opinion it is a monotonous narration with a point of interest, but nothing really compensates for the weaknesses pointed above. However I must admit that I had the bad sense of reading a poor Spanish translation (the price we’ve got to pay for free stuff) and this failure certainly took its toll since I didn’t have the chance to know the writer’s style; therefore, this circumstance has also contributed to the fact that I found this work unattractive.

If I decide to read the second part, I hope to find more precedents that explain a little more what happened ten years ago as the first book left many loose ends.

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