Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Rains by Gregg Hurwitz

Chance and Patrick Rain are as close as brothers can be. Orphaned and now being raised by their aunt and uncle, the two teens are always side by side. Just as they are the night they notice something strange at a neighboring farm. Upon inspection, they find two kids locked up in their house while their own mother tries to attack them. Their father? Well he'd climbed a water tower and physically exploded, spreading what looks like spores through the air. 

Confused, the two boys (with the rescued siblings in tow) return home only to find their own guardians have suffered the same fate. It doesn't take long for them to realize it's the fate of all the adults in their small town - anyone over the age of eighteen, in fact. And as they take refuge amongst a small band of kids at the local high school, they desperately search for answers and a cure to the strange outbreak - before Patrick turns eighteen himself. 

Gregg Hurwitz makes his teen debut with The Rains, a fun and fast paced alien invasion tale.

So an asteroid has crash landed in Creek's Cause, the small town and farming community that Chance and Patrick call home. And it doesn't take long for them to draw the conclusion that what's happening to the adults is tied to said asteroid. There's some science-y talk and theorizing on the part of the one surviving adult, a doctor who's retired and become a high school teacher after multiple sclerosis prevents his continued practice. The theory is that the spores attack the brain's white matter, which is still forming in children, leaving them immune until they turn eighteen.

The literal minute they turn eighteen.

But that's not the only danger to the children. The changed adults have been witnessed attacking and snatching up children. To what purpose is something the  brothers will only later discover.

The story is told from Chance's perspective, laid out as a journal that he's written in an attempt to recount the strange occurrences in Creek's Cause. I liked Chance as a character. Through his eyes, the reader is given a clear understanding of the situation and a look at the beginning breakdown of the society of remaining kids. And he's fleshed out quite well, with lingering issues over his parents' deaths, a strong loyalty and bond to his brother, and a bravery that comes in handy as their situation worsens.

There was a bit of a cheesy element to the story, though. The fact that the kids turn right at the time of their eighteenth birthday doesn't necessarily gel with the theory that the spores attack white matter considering human development doesn't really work that way - and this is somewhat addressed as a curiosity, but not to the extent that any explanation is found (which makes sense all things considered). This is, however, one of the the first of many bombshell moments (again something that's literally addressed by one of the character's comments), which start to feel just a little too... convenient, excessive, trite. Maybe just too.

Basically, The Rains is a fun read if you don't think too hard. If you don't poke some of the plot holes. And especially if you don't mind that it's THE FIRST IN A MULTI-BOOK STORY!

I wasn't expecting that last one. I did come to the realization that there was not going to be a satisfying conclusion when, with about 20 pages left to the book, things weren't really wrapping up in a way that made sense for that few remaining pages. And of course because there is no conclusion and we have to wait for a second installment, there was yet another bombshell in the end as well. Two, actually.

I'm not quite sure how I feel about the end. Again, this was a fun and fast paced read. I love the alien invasion aspect and especially the kids left to fend for themselves (which will make great tension for a second book if we are to continue in Creek's Cause in particular). And there was a bit of a hint towards one of those last revelations as well, which I am anxious to see an explanation to. But the way it was executed felt thrown in at the last minute. Like someone decided it should in fact be a series rather than a standalone and what can we do to stretch it out.

Rating: 3/5


Jennifer | Book Den said...

I was anxious to read this review because I've been on the fence about this one. I think I still am! But you addressed some of the questions I had so I will definitely have the correct expectations if I decide to try this one. Truthfully, I can't stand when books split without a full story so I should probably decide on this one after the next part of the story comes out.

Becky LeJeune said...

Yeah, I really wasn't expecting it to be a multi parter. Totally my fault, but I'm better with it if I know from the start that's the case.