Friday, April 29, 2011

Living Hell by Catherine Jinks

Living Hell by Catherine Jinks
Release Date : April 2010
Publisher : Graphia
Age Group : Young Adult
Pages : 256
Source : Barnes and Noble
Rating : 5/5

"The smell was the first thing we noticed.  It was a terrible smell that made us all cough: a smell with another stench overlaying it.
     Then we saw Firmus standing by the door.     He pointed.     "Something is trying to get in," he rasped.

What happens when a single moment changes everything?  For seventeen-year-old Cheney, life on earth exists only in history books.  He and more than one thousand other people have known life only aboard the spacecraft Plexus: self-contained, systematic, and serene.  But that was before the radiation wave.
Now Plexus has suddenly turned on them, becoming a terrifying and unrecognizable force.  As the crew dwindles under attack, Cheeny and his friends need to fight back before the ship that's nurtured them for so long becomes responsible for their destruction."

Cheney has lived aboard the spaceship Plexus his entire life.  Plexus is a ship sent out to find a habitual planet for the human race to survive on.  Every four years his shift goes into an incubation period while another set of people wake up and run the ship.  Cheney has no memory of Earth; he is a shifter, meaning he was born during one of the four year periods.  He has lived on this ship all his life and only knows of Earth through books and simulations.  Plexus has been running smoothly for around 30 years but then they run into a cloud of radiation they can’t possibly avoid.   Once the ship travels through this radiation it starts to come alive.  The whole ship turns itself into an animal with the humans inside like the bacteria in our intestines.  The humans and the ship seem to be in harmony for a couple minutes but soon the ship turns on the humans and starts to kill them.

Cheney’s character grows and matures throughout this book.  When the book starts Cheney is at a birthday party.  All he is thinking about is how annoying the boy he is a “big brother” too and how to catch the eye of his long-time crush.  But when Plexus becomes an animal Cheney suddenly finds himself in charge of protecting a group of children.

Because of this book Catherine Jinks is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.  I have read Evil Genius and Genius Squad by her and while I liked them, I found them to have a very slow pace.  Living Hell was very different it was fast paced and squeezed into fewer pages.  The writing was action-packed and the plot was thrilling and solid.  If you have tried Catherine’s books before and found that you liked them but they were too slow for you, I would definitely urge you to give this stand alone novel a try.  I would also suggest this book if you were looking for a good sci-fi/horror book.

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