Published: March 13th 2014 by Bloomsbury Sydney
Format: Paperback, 336 pages
Genres: Science Fiction
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The world lies ravaged by a lethal virus. Children have been left feral by a deadly vaccine. One girl, bearing the mark of the beast, survived it all: Fiona Tarsis.
For 2 years, 10 months and 16 days, Jacqui has been hidden away. It's been even longer since her brother, Dean, left their family home. Now, a cure for the great-children makes a future possible and Jacqui can't just keep going Dean will come back. She has to find him.
The one person who can help Jacqui is Fiona Tarsis. But following Fiona is a great risk: the real threat to humanity is still out there and, unknowingly, Fiona is leading Jacqui straight to it ...
Cured has been an anticipated read for me ever since I read, and enjoyed, Stung earlier this year. Although I wasn’t expecting the change in protagonist, I think it worked well once I got over the fact that I wasn’t going to be in Fiona’s head again.
Cured is the story of Jacqui, who we met briefly at the beginning of Stung. Since she and her mother were denied residence behind the Wall, Jacqui has lived her life as a boy named Jack. A few years ago, her brother Dean set out to help Fiona’s mother find sanctuary, but he never came back. When rumours of a cure reach her, Jacqui decides find out what happened to her brother, and hopefully bring him back to their family.
While Jacqui’s story intertwines with Fiona’s (Jacqui basically marches to the Wall’s gates and demands Fiona come with her to find her mother), in many ways it provides a counterpoint. This means that I struggled to connect with Jacqui because she was so different to what I’d expected. I ended up liking her, but not nearly as much as I love Fiona. Jacqui often came across as immature and selfish, and I would have liked her to show a lot more common sense than she did.
Many aspects of Kevin’s character creeped me out, and I cannot fathom why Jacqui insisted on trusting him where there was so much evidence against him. One of my favourite sequences in the book is when Jacqui is exploring Kevin’s hide-out and finds some intriguing clues about who, and what, he might be. But this element was too quickly pushed into the background for my liking, For example, Jacqui tests Kevin to see if he will open up to her and he easily lies to her. She gets momentarily saddened at his deception, but then kisses him and basically forgets about it. The romantic element felt very forced to me this reason: Jacqui would be debating whether to trust Kevin or not seconds before they started making out, and I never felt like she really took the threat he presented seriously.
In my opinion the plotting of Cured is weaker than in Stung. I just couldn’t focus on it the way I did with the earlier novel, and I think it’s a combination of forces in my life, and the lack of urgency and danger in the book. While there’s a lot of action, the dangerous situations feel contrived, and I never felt any sense of urgency from the characters. I would have thought they’d be more anxious about the cure, more worried about their family members, less trusting of strangers. I often felt distanced from the characters, which made me sad.
I enjoyed Stung a lot, but I’d gone into with fairly low expectations because it hadn’t gotten the buzz I still feel it deserves. I wonder if I went into Cured with my expectations set to high. There’s no doubt that I enjoyed Cured, however, and I recommend it to readers who enjoyed Stung. This series brings a fresh angle to the dystopian genre, and I think it’s perfect for readers looking for something new and exciting.