Sunday, August 26, 2012

Quarantine: The Loners by Lex Thomas - Review

Pic & Description from Goodreads:
It was just another ordinary day at McKinley High - until a massive explosion devastated the school. When loner David Thorne tried to help his English teacher to safety, the teacher convulsed and died right in front of him. And that was just the beginning.

A year later, McKinley has descended into chaos. All the students are infected with a virus that makes them deadly to adults. The school is under military quarantine. The teachers are gone. Violent gangs have formed based on high school social cliques. Without a gang, you're as good as dead. And David has no gang. It's just him and his little brother, Will, against the whole school.

Per my previous post, I do loves me gritty SHTF novels. And, happily, it doesn't get much grittier than Quarantine: The Loners. As others have noted, it definitely puts one in mind of Lord of the Flies.

What was fascinating to me, was this complex, social eco-system *world building* created by the author, and how all these mini-gangs worked/traded/fought each other once the original teacher/student structure had ceased to exist.

As the story's time line progressed, the various gangs utilized and re-purposed whatever materials they could lay hands to. It really was amazing and quite imaginative to see the *uses* that such mundane items as pipes, books, desks, etc could be put to. As the novel progressed, it even became frighteningly plausible.

Gangs distinguished their identity by dying their hair by whatever means they could, typically Kool-Aid garnered from the military *food drops* which were air-lifted in every two weeks. At first.

Off the top of my head, gangs were the Skaters, the Geeks, the Sluts, the Varsity, the Pretty Ones, the Freaks and the Nerds. Those unfortunates without gang affiliation were called the Scraps.

Oh, and per the teachers exposed to the infected students - they died. And were *buried* (stuffed) inside lockers.

Grim stuff indeed.

Now, sometimes a good book can make the reader uncomfortable. The two *power* gangs - Varsity and Pretty Ones, had that effect on me. Sam, the leader of the alpha athletic gang (Varsity, duh!) was such a sociopath that I wanted nothing more in life than to see him get 'put down'. Permanently. Sam took *ugly* to a new low and I despised him from the get go.

As far as the female counterpart of Varsity went, the Pretty Ones, these were the most attractive girls who were taken care of and protected by Varsity. In return for sexual favors, that the girls had to acquiesce to in order to survive. This was certainly animal herd behaviour at its finest (?).

Quarantine: The Loners* finishes up somewhat open-ended, and I can't wait to read the next in the series. I do highly recommend this book, the author did an incredible job, but do beware of heavy violence & sexual situations. Not for young readers or the faint of heart.

*I received this book as a gift from my daughter and have in no way been compensated for my honest review. So there ;D


  1. I definitely want to read this one! I must say that your review made me very curious to read it. I read a book a few years back called Blindess (which has since been made into a movie). It has to do with an outbreak and the way people react when quarantined. I thought the book was fascinating- so I would love to see another perspective on this topic. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Intriguing. I really want to read this book. It will be interesting to see how the cliques on crack play out in a postapocalyptic situation. Great review!

  3. @DMS - Oooh, good call! Whilst I haven't read the book (got to, now lol) we did happen to see the movie a few years back. And though I can't remember all the deets, it seems as if it did end on a fairly *up* note, I think. I do know I really enjoyed it, and thank you for bringing it to mind :D

  4. @Titania - (don't know why I called you & Jess by your bloggie names, must be getting *nap* time lol)

    ANY hoo, *Cliques on CRACK* hahahahaha omg, that is perfect (wish I'd thought of it)!! ;D

  5. And yet another one for the wishlist!

  6. Sully, I think you'd REALLY like this one!!
    The only thing it lacks is zombies (drat)(double drat) :(