Title: Variant by Robison WellsRelease Date: Oct. 4, 2011
Pages: 336 pages
Genre: Thriller, Science Fiction
Source: Publisher through NetGalley
Goodreads Summary: Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life. He was wrong.I’ve been reading a few really good ‘boy books’ (written by male authors featuring male main characters) lately and Variant is definitely one of them.
Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive. Where breaking the rules equals death.
But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible.
Variant has a certain Lord of the Flies feel to it only as far as both books involve a group of young people who are stuck in an isolated situation where their efforts to form a society produce interesting results. Make no mistake, Maxfield Academy is no deserted island, it’s a really nice boarding school that offers its students many luxuries except the most important of all, freedom. Additionally, the school dictates all their activities and has strict rules that are enforced through a horrendous punishment and reward system. In short, the place is a nightmare, a pretty prison where the threat of death looms constantly the students.
Variant is an original addition to the YA thrillers out there and I really enjoyed it. I could not wait to find out who or what was behind the school’s existence and what its ultimate purpose was. I love that Variant has two sets of villains: the school itself and the kids who run it. While I can’t describe Benson Fisher as a typical nice guy, I liked him. He is a foster kid that is rough around the edges but ultimately, very strong willed and exactly what the other kids need in order to see just how wrong things at the school are.
While I classified Variant as a ‘boy book,’ it’s a book that will appeal to everyone who loves a great thriller with a nice dose of science fiction. YA books tend to be a bit predictable but there are some awesome plot twists in Variant that I did not see coming. Fast paced, action paced, suspenseful and so exciting, Variant ends in a heck of a cliffhanger. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
Content: Kissing, mild swearing, heavy violence.
My Rating: Really Good!