Publisher's Note:  

Deep in the Kalahari Desert, a Corpus lab protects a dangerous secret…
But what happens when that secret takes on a life of its own?
When an educational safari goes wrong, five teens find themselves stranded in the Kalahari Desert without a guide. It’s up to Sarah, the daughter of zoologists, to keep them alive and lead them to safety, calling on survival know-how from years of growing up in remote and exotic locales. Battling dehydration, starvation and the pangs of first love, she does her best to hold it together, even as their circumstances grow increasingly desperate.
But soon a terrifying encounter makes Sarah question everything she’s ever known about the natural world. A silver lion, as though made of mercury, makes a vicious, unprovoked attack on the group. After a narrow escape, they uncover the chilling truth behind the lion’s silver sheen: a highly contagious and deadly virus that threatens to ravage the entire area—and eliminate life as they know it.
In this breathtaking new novel by the acclaimed author of Origin and Vitro, Sarah and the others must not only outrun the virus, but its creators, who will stop at nothing to wipe every trace of it.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Razorbill


by Jessica Khoury

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Overall Review:  

Kalahari by Jessica Khoury is an adventure/thriller, a (light) science fiction story, and, probably most importantly, a survival story.  The setting is fabulous, the characters are likeable, and the plot is intriguing.  This is a novel that at times feels like an action movie, and it never, ever lags. 


The author keeps the interactions and dialogue among the teenagers real; the swings in group dynamics and emotions lend additional authenticity.  The hodge-podge group of characters struggles under extremely difficult circumstances and the author shares that struggle and the protagonist's self doubts with the reader.  These elements are critical to grounding a story that has other fantastic, science fiction elements.  There is a romance element, but it is more of a sidebar and doesn't become the focus of the narrative, thus opening this book to a wide audience.  The conclusion is pulled together rapidly (maybe a bit too rapidly), but satisfactorily and the reader doesn't have to deal with this being the beginning of yet another series.


Frankly, this is just an exciting read and a page-turner that should find a wide and varied young adult audience.  Highly recommended!

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  12 religious exclamations; 10 mild obscenities; 1 derogatory name; 1 anatomical term; 1 offensive hand gesture.


Violence/Gore:  Report of death of parent in accident; gunshots heard; character encounters animal resulting in minor injuries; character is found shot, eventually dies from wounds, mention of blood; destruction of property; character slaps another; animal is shot; animal kills another animal; characters come upon many dead animal bodies; character knocked unconscious with blunt object; extended scene of confrontation involving tackling, shooting, deaths of people and animals (non-descriptive); animal attacks humans; characters kill birds for food; animal charges characters resulting in injuries; character hit in the face with butt of pistol; non-detailed report of finding dead animals; report of shooting and a couple of deaths; bee stings; extended multi-page fight scene (general/non-descriptive) involving shooting, animals attacking, injuries, implied deaths, chasing, crashing, mention of blood; character shoots self in head.


Sex/Nudity:  Reference to a "sexually frustrated elephant"; characters kiss; characters kiss passionately; character strokes hair of another; characters of the opposite sex hold each other and sleep next to each other (sexual activity not implied); character finds another attractive.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Scientific ethics, animal experimentation, murder, illness, death of a parent/family member, suicide.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Adults smoke.

Reviewed By Cindy
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