Published by: Putnam Juvenile on March 7, 2013
Genre: Dystopian, Post Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon • Goodreads
Rating: Did Not Finish
First came the storms.
Then came the Fever.
And the Wall.
After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinctâ¦ but in reality, a new primitive society has been born.
Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader's newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans. In the end, they are each other's last hope for survival.
Sherri L. Smith delivers an expertly crafted story about a fierce heroine whose powerful voice and firm determination will stay with you long after you've turned the last page.
I have only not finished a handful of books since starting my blog, and so far I haven’t actually posted those “reviews”. I usually just post DNF reviews on Goodreads. But I’m making an exception for Orleans. I didn’t read enough of Orleans to be able to tell you whether it’s a ‘good’ book or a ‘bad’ book, but I read enough to realize that it’s not the book for me. I feel like Orleans will appeal to very specific tastes, so I think I can at least help people decide whether it’s the book for them or not, and that’s why I’m posting this review.
There were three key things that attributed to my not finishing this book:
1. Complete lack of emotion. This book is written very ‘scientifically,’ and by that I mean all facts, figures, and no emotional investment. I knew there was a problem when the main character’s best friend DIED and Fen is just like, “Okay I’ll just grab your baby now and leave.” I’m sorry.. WHAT? She didn’t shed a single tear? She didn’t even sound upset? She was so… mechanical about the whole process. If it weren’t for her colourful dialect/accent/whatever it’s called, Fen would seem very robotic. Orleans is lacking any sort of emotional streak and for some people that might work really well, but it doesn’t work for me.
2. There’s no romance. I actually had my concerns about this and checked other reviews to confirm that there is in fact no romance in this book. Again, this might totally work for some people, especially those who are sick of romance being thrown into every single YA book. But it doesn’t work for me. I tend to feel very disconnected and bored with books that have no romance. And I think books with no romance also tend to be the ones that have no emotion overall (see above).
3. The narrator was so hard for me to follow. I don’t even know the proper terminology to describe this.. but the narrator has a very heavy dialect/accent/whatever. It made it so tough for me to read this book and the person inside me who likes good grammar was cringing. Example:
They be family, all right. I can see it in they lines, the way they both be draping so lazylike in front of someone else’s fire. Brave fools, I think. And that mess run in the family.
That’s just a short little snippet, but it gives you an idea of what the ENTIRE BOOK is like (except for Daniel’s chapters). I think this was the biggest downfall for me. Literally as soon as soon as I read the first page of the book, my face just fell. I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up. I was having to read and reread sentences just to make sure I understood them right. I almost don’t know how to say this without offending people who might actually talk like that, but it felt like reading a severely under-edited book with immense grammatical issues. I know that this dialect or whatever is intentional, but I’m just trying to convey how hard it was for me to read it. I hope I’m not being offensive, but man, it was tough.
I wanted to love Orlean because I thought the plot sounded awesome. I still enjoyed some of the overall world building ideas in Orleans, but I could just tell that too many other factors made this book not for me. If you read this review and the things I mentioned don’t bother you, then I would highly encourage you to give Orleans a try. I think there might be a cool story there and I really hope you enjoy it!
But, I’m most disappointed because I spent SO LONG working on the background of my graphic for Orleans and then I didn’t even get to finish it. I usually ‘prepare’ my graphics before starting the book. I get the background already and then add on my quote/text later. I literally spent over an hour working on the base for Orleans but never got to the point where I could add a quote.
Click to read more about my experience making this graphic..
All of my graphics have the same dimensions: 1000 pixels wide by 400 pixels high. This is because they go in my image slider, which is that exact dimension. But in order for this to work, I need a photo of the cover image that is at least 1000 pixels wide. Sometimes, I just can’t find one.
With Orleans, the largest one I could find was only 600 pixels wide—that’s 400 pixels too short! I could have just made a smaller graphic and put it in the review but not in the image slider. Or I could have made no graphic at all. But, damnit, I was determined! I pasted the cover photo in my 1000×400 document and stared at the white spaces. What next?
About an hour later, I managed to transform the image on the left, to the image on the right:
Obviously it’s still not perfect (*cough*the-building-on-the-left*cough*), but I managed to achieve a lot! Here are a few notes on what I did:
Admittedly, I did have some help with Photoshop’s content aware fill tool, but I actually sat there and PAINTED the left side of the wall. Then I had to digitally duplicate and manipulate the tree on the right.
So, my point is, I spent freaking ages getting this background image to look presentable, and then I never even got to use it. Cue all those “self pity” feelings.