The Farm (The Farm #1)
Read from my local library
The Farm is little more than a prison, despite the fact that it claims to be a haven. Full of teenagers who are kept locked up and used for blood donations to feed the creatures that lurk outside the electric fences, The Farm is definitely not what was promised.
Lily and her twin sister Mel are holed up in the Farm they were taken to, an old university campus. They hide out in the science building, away from other people. It is Lily’s job to take care of Mel, who is on the autism spectrum and is not coping particularly well with captivity. Whereas Mel was relatively high functioning in the Before, now she struggles. She’s reverted back to communicating in nursery rhymes and Lily considers it her personal responsibility to not only keep Mel safe, but to get her out of the Farm. Even though there are unimaginable horrors out there, Lily wants to get herself and Mel out. They cannot just stay here, where soon they will be 18 and an entirely new fate awaits them.
But then Carter, an old crush of Lily’s from high school years ago shows up mysteriously and the plans change. Carter is determined to get Lily out, but on his own terms. He knows she won’t survive if she and Mel go it alone, there’s too much she doesn’t know. Carter and his crew believe that Lily is special and can help them in their rebellion – and they also know that there are others out there that would seek her for the abilities they believe she has, in order to destroy her.
The Farm is a futuristic dystopian-style novel, a bit of a young-adult version of The Passage. There are some similarities – vampiric creatures have taken over North America and the remaining population huddle behind high walls and electrified fences. In this novel however, it was all of the teens that were rounded up and they are ‘harvested’ for blood to feed the outside creatures. Apparently the hormone concoction in a teenager’s blood is the creatures preference. However there are some questions in this story – why are the “Deans” forcing the teenagers to donate to feed the creatures that have just about wiped out humanity?
There are some ***SPOILERS*** ahead.
Lily’s former schoolmate Carter arrives at the Farm in which Lily is incarcerated (for lack of a better word) because he believes that she possesses a special ability, that which is the ability to somewhat control the creatures using her emotions and feelings. They need people like this, for their own rebellion but also they need to keep the “creator” of the creatures from being able to find people that possess this ability and taking them for their own needs, or simply killing them. Carter tells Lily several times that he believes she has this ability but he doesn’t attempt to teach her how to use it. This is because of course, it is not Lily that possesses this ability, it is Mel, her autistic twin sister. The reader already knows this because the back of the book spoils it. The blurb clearly states that it is Mel who has the ability, despite the fact that the characters in the novel believe it to be Lily right up until pretty much the end of the book. I spent half the time reading it thinking the blurb was wrong and yelling at Carter to tell her what to do with these amazing abilities as they fled from group after group of creatures. It was extremely frustrating and when I realised that the back of the book had it right and Carter had it wrong, that was even more frustrating. Because it basically spoiled a huge plotline. I still don’t understand why Carter didn’t attempt to get Lily to use the ability that he believed she had. If they’d tried it immediately on leaving the compound, they’d have discovered that it wasn’t Lily, but Mel. And then maybe they could have changed the outcome of this book.
I felt that this book had some potential to be great and I really enjoyed the beginning of it – until Carter showed up and began telling Lily exactly why he thought she had a special ability. I honestly couldn’t decide if it was poking fun at instalove (the only way he would be so interested in someone like Lily was if she had emotive powers over him!) or if the author was making a genuine attempt to have a reason at a mismatch. Whatever it was, it came off highly insulting to Lily – and she does react this way!
Endeth the ***SPOILERS***
I actually kind of liked Lily as a character and I really enjoyed reading about a character like Mel, with the autism spectrum disorder who did have trouble communicating and found other ways to get across what she needed to say – nursery rhymes. It made it very interesting and it was something different.
However, there were too many strange, unexplained and quite honestly, poorly thought out or executed things going on in this book. And the ending bordered on ridiculous. I’m not sure that I’ll be bothering with book 2 of this one.
Book #55 of 2013