Thursday, 28 May 2015



Book Title: Terminal
Author: Kathy Reichs & Brendan Reichs
Series: Virals #5
Date Started: May 26th 2015
Date Completed: May 28th 2015
Genres: Adventure, Thriller, Romance, Sci-Fi
Quality Rating: Three Stars
Enjoyment Rating: Four Stars
Final Rating: Three stars

For the finale of a mystery series, there was a surprising lack of mysterious happenings and puzzles for the characters to solve. While I still liked the book, I felt the story itself had lost its direction: the last instalment of the Virals series should've been the biggest mind twister to the point where forgot that I wouldn't get to read about these characters again. Instead we still got an entertaining book, but not quite what I would've liked as an end to Tory's adventures.

I like Reichs' writing for its simplistic nature, but ability to include and expand on quite complicated scientific explanations and logical reasoning. Maybe I'm not selling it as the most exciting, but (when it's there) her action is still exciting to read and easy to follow. It's just that her ability to sustain dialogue for quite long periods of time isn't as easy to come by as you might expect. Having said that, the use of slang is sometimes unnecessary and feels a bit forced to try and make the characters seem younger.
As a reader who's followed this series pretty much since it first came out, the information dumping about Tory and the Virals' previous adventures at the start was tedious - not least because it didn't actually remind me of the things that would've helped the story (for example her relationships with her new-found friends - sorry Ella, but I couldn't remember who you were). It puzzles me a little why it's there in the first place anyway, since the series is definitely one of those you need to read in order to understand what's going on.

The biggest issue in this book will be repeated loads of times in this review, and that is that Terminal wasn't really a mystery novel. I thought it was great that we were featuring other aspects of the story more heavily than usual, but the main storyline fell flat because it just didn't fit with the series, the characters or even the predicament they were in at times. The biggest disappointment from this was that I didn't feel as much anticipation or tension because there wasn't the awareness that something unknown was at stake. You don't get many proper YA mysteries - especially ones featuring so much accurate science - that have all-round strengths in characters and writing as well as story, and by losing this in the last book it just fell short of what I was expecting. I also found that it was a lot less inclusive for the reader; the wonderful thing about these books is that you can work out the puzzles along with the protagonists - this time it was more like a contemporary thriller that's just for the characters.
One of the reasons for this was the romance: it took over most of the story. Though the romantic subtext has been around for a few books, up to this point there's been a good balance of that and the actual story. But this time the romance was clearly intended to be one of the biggest veins of the story, and it ended up dominating everything else. At times the girly teenage angst did feel like it was included for the hell of it, and could perhaps have been subtler for a more meaningful impact. On the other hand, there was a good conflict of feelings, and I'm proud of Tory for sticking up for herself within the love triangle - it just didn't fit with my love of the Virals series.
As well as romance, we dived a little further into the sci-fi realm. Now I admit I'm being a bit picky here, but the dangers of their powers and how they could overcome them became a bit stupid. The solution became very convenient, and I again felt like what was their biggest problem wasn't treated as the main danger for them. (Spoiler) I understand that the Virals loved their powers and wanted to be unique, but let's be sensible: if the condition is going to eventually kill you, you take the curse - regardless if there's military officers out to experiment on you on top of it all.
But the biggest let down was the climax: or shall I say what felt like a lack of one. There was a point where things looked bad for the characters, sure. But where was the tension? Where was the actual, immediate, tangible danger? Even Code two books back had bigger ending drama: at both points that could be considered the climax, none of the Virals seemed to be in too much serious danger (maybe we're supposed to imagine what could happen if they don't work something out, but after some of Reichs' other endings, it wasn't what I was after). It really did feel like saying goodbye, with all the references to the other stories, and the characters finally getting into the positions they'd been after the whole time, but it wasn't quite what I wanted. And I'm not sure it was quite what the Virals would've wanted either.

My sentimentality towards these characters sometimes overrides their stupidity, but overall I was happy to see the Morris Island pack together again. The sheer amount of minor characters featured at various points in this book overwhelmed me, but I appreciate the effort to link all their previous adventures together in their goodbye.
Although Tory's expansive knowledge still comes across as a bit too convenient and mature of her fifteen-years, I still loved every minute of her. She makes some pretty stupid decisions in this book, particularly on the romance front, but her moments of practicality and quite honestly her actions throughout the whole series were more important to me. (This will be one of the only times I don't rant about an unnecessary love triangle.)
I still don't like Chance, and, like Ben, still don't understand why they'd trust him with a crayon, let alone their secrets. I understand that Tory owes him, but the amount of times he goes back on his word and withholds information from them is clear evidence that he is not the best person to involve in your group that's already threatened.
Ben, however, I do like. Though not as much as I think I'm supposed to. Honestly, he hasn't really changed that much in the series - apart from those anger issues - but he's become more and more important to the storylines. This was quite important to me, since at first glance he seems to be the typical male interest that doesn't really have anything else to bring to the table. But Ben's character and decision-making has developed gradually overtime, and now I get his genuine benefit to the group.
Hi and Shelton felt sidelined in this book. Partly because they weren't involved in the love triangle, but also from the lack of mystery genre where they were usually given the opportunity to shine. All they were really given the chance to do this time was make sarcastic and freaked comments whenever they found themselves in inevitable trouble.

I can tell Reichs wanted to do a lot with this last book: there's links to the previous books, and new ideas spanning into different genres. And for once, I don't think the idea itself was a bad one - I love that Tory's faced with more adult decisions, and their abilities are now having consequences. But because of the length of the book everything just became rushed, and most of the little storylines were never developed. (Things like Kit and Whitney's relationship took a really interesting turn, and I would've loved to see how Tory dealt with her dad's decision beyond her initial reaction.) The easy solution to this was basically to have made the book longer.

I still liked Terminal (admittedly mostly from sentimentality) and I think any fans of the series would enjoy it. We steer away from the mystery adventure style the books had been taking, and delve further into the realms of something between contemporary and sci-fi. I like where the characters are now - and do really hope to see them in a future seres (please Kathy, please) - but the way we got to the end of the road wasn't what I expected.

Image Source -

No comments:

Post a Comment