Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Review: Orleans by Sherri L. Smith

Author: Sherri L. Smith
Release date: March 17, 2013
Published by: Putnam Juvenile/Penguin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Delta has endured storm after storm. 

Then the Fever came, which eventually brought the Wall.

The fierce Fen de la Guerre is an OP and number 2 in command in her tribe. Tribe is life in the Delta.

Daniel Weaver is a scientist hoping to save them all, but what he carries with him could destroy them all.

Thrown together, they are each other's only hope whether they want to admit it or not. 

Will they be able to navigate this wasteland of Orleans, save them all like Daniel hopes, and help Fen deliver on a dying wish? Only time will tell, and they're running out...

My thoughts: Fascinating and horrifying! I feel like I've been put in one of those old washing machines that literally twists you up and squeezes you out over and over again! Smith has taken the event of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and created a continuing, horrifying future based from that which I pray to the Gods will NEVER happen! It's a timeline with hurricane after hurricane. The first few storms allow a year for recovery even though they are very intense on the Saffir-Simpson Category rating system. Except that's where things begin to go very, very wrong because next there are two right on top of one another, one Category 4, July 27 of 2017, and another, a Category 5 on July 29 of 2017.  They can't even keep track of the casualties anymore at this point. Two years later...Hurricane Jesus slowly makes its way from one end of the Delta to the other and it is the strongest storm they've ever seen; so strong in fact that they can't even categorize it! They just guess at how strong it was and at how many people are left in the Delta.
Smith's "documents", timeline, the images that separate the "Before", "After", and the "Parts" are BRILLIANT! They set it all up for me! I have been gushing about this book to whomever has seen it in my hands and have dragged it everywhere with me! My ARC looks a bit like it went through a storm at this point which is rather unusual for me since they tend to look brand new when I'm done knowing I want to put them in one of our giveaways. :( I guess it will have to be a "gift" instead. :) (Update: I already passed it on to my best girlfriend when I picked my girlie girls up from school! LOL!) 
NOW, she certainly did NOT "white-wash" anything for anyone in this future. This is definitely a Young Adult book, or 8th grade at the youngest, in my personal and School Librarian opinion. Of course, that's just my opinion as a generality.  I was a VERY different creature in middle school as an only child living with adults, books, PBS, and the news...I would've been able to handle something like this easily. I also watched the movie Power of One around that age and it rocked me to my core changing my life completely! This would certainly fit as a read-alike to Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins! 
Society in the Delta has turned quickly into exactly what "those crazies" as I like to lovingly call those Doomsday Preppers on the NatGeo Channel are prepping for. (Of course in the back of mind I eye the gun safe during those commercials, and think, "I could totally take a Zombie if I had to!" Or, "I could protect my family if I had to." But training for it and sleeping in a spider hole by choice? HECK NO! Yuk!) Those folks would be SPOT ON in this world! Yikes! What those folks predict and prepare for!?...That's exactly what happens, and fast! :(
What I loved the most, was that Smith made sure to create a main character who was absolutely butt-kicking, strong, and amazingly resilient beyond anything I could possibly imagine when she should have been one of the most fragile people in the Delta! Fen de la Guerre survives over and over again, and when I tell you that she survives...she survives many of the same horrors that the Nazi concentration camps specialized in. And she's 15! That's right! And just wait until you find out what she has with her throughout all but the very beginning of the book. Fen has just crept right up onto the step just below Finley Jayne as my most favorite butt-kicking character ever...I'll have to think about it for awhile, but she might even jump ahead of her! She probably will! She blows my mind! See! I'm gushing! Talk about a force for good in a world that seems as if it has gone completely bad, bad, bad!
But, of course it hasn't! That's the brilliance of it all that Smith has put together here! There's Mr. Go. Oh, wait until you meet him! He's brilliant, and wonderful, and good, good, good! There's Daniel, who's risking everything to save everyone! There's Lydia, a chieftain, who teaches Fen to love again and teaches her who and how she wants to be someday. To hope again. There's even the smuggler, McCallan, who risks it all everyday to bring things over the Wall to them. For personal gain, yes, but there's so much risk involved that the personal gain has got to be a joke in the end! Most of all there's Enola.
Hope is everything. Hope for a cure. Hope for the future. Hope for peace. Without hope, what else is there? Hope is everything.
My Orleans Soundtrack...
I always listen to music, but once in a while there are specific songs, artists, or albums that jump out at me while reading a book. These three become ones that I couldn't get enough of while I was reading this book!

Barton Hollow by The Civil Wars - "Miles and miles in my bare feet. Still can't lay me down to sleep" "I'm a dead man walking." 

Seven Devils by Florence + The Machine - "Seven devils all around me and I'll be dead before the day is done." 

My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark by Fall Out Boy - "Writers keep writing what they write, Somewhere another pretty vein just died. I've got the scars from tomorrow and I wish you could see that you’re the antidote to everything except for me. A constellation of tears on your lashes, Burn everything you love, then burn the ashes. In the end everything collides, My childhood spat back out the monster that you see."

Do you have any to add to my soundtrack if you've read Orleans? I'm always looking for new music!
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  1. I loved this book. I thought the reality of it all was chilling, especially the new role of the Superdome.

    1. I know! That was amazingly chilling! I could picture that perfectly along with so many things.