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July 11, 2013

Review: Half Lives by Sara Grant

Half Lives

Title: Half Lives 
Author: Sara Grant
 Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: July 9, 2013
Genre(s): Young Adult (Sci-Fi/Post Apocalyptic)
Source: Publisher (HBG Canada)
Format: ARC
Pages: 400
I learned that surviving isn't all it's cracked up to be. If you survive, you've got to live with the guilt, and that's more difficult than looking someone in the eye and pulling the trigger. Trust me. I've done both. Killing takes a twitch of the finger. Absolution takes several lifetimes.
Seventeen-year-old Icie's parents have given her $10,000 in cash, a map of a top-secret bunker, and instructions to get there by any means necessary. They have news of an imminent viral attack and know that the bunker is Icie's only hope for survival. Along with three other teens, she lives locked away for months, not knowing what's happening in the outside world or who has survived. And are they safe in the bunker after all?
Generations in the future, a mysterious cult worships the very mountain where Icie's secret bunker was built. They never leave the mountain, they're ruled by a teenager...and they have surprising ties to Icie.
This high-stakes, original, and thought-provoking adventure from Sara Grant follows two unlikely heroes, hundreds of years apart, as they fight to survive.
Half Lives was a doozy. It is told from two POVs told at two different time lines, one is set during the 21st century (our time) and the other is several hundred years later. What set the time is a viral attack that hit the world. I wish I could explain more about it but we find out close to nothing about it. Our current time protagonist is Icie, the child of a father working in the federal government and a dad who is a nuclear physicist. They figure out the plan of the viral attack and give their daughter a map, money, and the key to a bunker, which was constructed to house nuclear waste but the project implementation was never passed by the government. 
This is when the trouble starts, Icie seems to pick up stray kids her age and put 4 teenagers in an enclosed area for weeks, you know crazy stuff is bound to happen. I was rather excited to find out about the viral attack, its origin, and basically all the conspiracy and corrupt government issues we get with sci-fi/post-apocalyptic novels. Like I mentioned earlier, we are as clueless as Icie, who just lives without reason in the bunker, waiting for when her mother and father will come. However, take it several hundred years later, at the same location, and you find that the mountain that the bunker is in is inhibited by people, mostly teenagers, and children. Many of the children are deformed, and the people follow a higher being their believe is called the great I AM. What's is funny is that all those people are descendants of Icie and follow her way of life as if it is their religion. It was a bit weird, especially in the way they spoke. "Whatever" to them is like saying "Amen", but when you find out how it originated, you will laugh your butt off. Also, they say "Have a mediocre day" as in "Have a nice day" since Icie used to always say that with her best friend. Words like Facebook, Just Sayings (which is a book that contains all of the Great I Am's sayings), twitter guy (who keeps track of everything), as well as many other little acts and habits they have developed. These just made me crack up so much, but it was also frustrating just how blind they are to what is the real world. 
I grew very frustrated with the way the plot progressed. I wished their leader found Icie's diary sooner so I would have witnessed them finding out how their entire world was built on lies. I wanted them to venture outside of their mountain and see what happened to the world and what is the state of it. I did not appreciate the romance because it felt a bit rushed and I just felt that the plot lost its way during the later time. I honestly gave this book three stars because I enjoyed the current POV and liked seeing how these teenagers would survive and live with minimum necessities and in a foreign place with no way out. All in all Half Lives was a bit of a disappointment because I didn't know what the author wanted out of it but I did enjoy it enough and it was an interesting sci-fi novel. 


  1. Sounds interesting.

    I have it on my wish list.


  2. The premise sounds exciting but clearly, it seems that the story is trying to go everywhere and ending nowhere. Oh well, it's good that the characters are interesting.

  3. I don't think I've heard of HALF LIVES before today, and it sounds interesting. I don't know if I'd go out of my way to buy it, but I'm glad that the sci-fi aspect was likable!

    Fantastic review! <3

    Kaede @ Wake Up at Seven

  4. Oh no this sounds disappointing. I was looking forward to it but now I'm a little less excited.

  5. This sounds... intriguing. I'm sorry that you were disappointed, but I think I"ll still give it a shot.

  6. I've seen this book around, but I didn't really know what it was about. All I can say after you review is that I get why you found their language funny. Who says "have a mediocre day"? Weird! I don't think this is for me, but atleast you got some laughs out of it. Thanks for the review, Juhina!

  7. I haven't heard of this one but I completely understand you. I mean I always yell at the characters in the book and I'm frustrated when I want something to happen and it doesn't. Anyhow the whole idea of this story sounds really interesting :) Great review Juhina :)

  8. I Hadn't heard of this before. It sounds interesting, and the "religion" they follow sounds like it is quite entertaining. Great review!!

  9. I've been trying to finish Half Lives for about two weeks now, to no avail. It started to give me headaches and I was starting to wonder if it would ever get any better.

    - Ellie at The Selkie Reads Stories

  10. I have seen this a few times, it sounds like it might be interesting. I'm still kinds on the fence, so I'll check my library for it. :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.

  11. This is the first review that I read about this book - it sounds weirdly interesting - the religion aspect is funny - thanks for introducing me to this book :)

  12. Sounds like a definite middle of the road type read Juhina, and I'm in the mood for the WOW, THIS IS AMAZING! type of read:) The romance is one thing that I think would have really captured my attention in this book, so I'm bummed it felt a bit rushed, and maybe was even one of those romances that weren't even necessary or vital to the plot? I think I'll pass on this one for now, but I do love Sara Grant:)

  13. Oh shame this one was a disappointment, I was very interested in this one. Now I'm not really sure that I'll enjoy this.

    Fab honest, review, Juhina! <33

  14. I think I'll skip this one, mostly because of the romance and the plot. I usually find if those two things don't really work for me, I have a lot of trouble sticking with the book. I'm glad there were some redeeming qualities at least, and enough for you to give it 3 stars. Lovely review, Juhina!

  15. Hmmm....the different points of view seem interesting, but if you greatly prefer one to the other, that can be problematic. I haven;t heard abut this one at all!

    Kate @ Ex Libris>

  16. I could see how the plot development would be frustrating that way. I think it's hard to pull off multiple POVs in a story. Great review :)

  17. *Reads summary* Jumps up and down, this looks so good!! *Reads review* Noo such an interesting concept thrown away in favor of a rushed romance, and not enough science fiction juicy conspiracy *cries* As you can see, I'm a bit dramatic today :D Great review! :)

  18. Aaaaww, I was pining for this for the longest time because of the blurb but then to see one of my most trusted reviewers give it only 3 stars, I'm now kind of rethinking my excitement. But I might still get around to reading it when I do get a copy. Thanks for the honest review, Juhina! And sad this didn't work out for you!