The Blurb on Other People’s Words – Flash Virus

October 22, 2012 at 3:01 pm (Reviews, writing) (, , , , , , , )

Flash Virus: Episode One – by Steve Vernon

I was pleased to get the opportunity to read this before it was made available to the general public. Steve Vernon is a talented writer, with a quirky and dark sense of humour and a great way with words, so I didn’t care that much if this was a young adult novel when I normally prefer adult fiction. I had a feeling I was going to enjoy this, however, because of its dystopian/apocalypse spin. I was pulled in from page one when Billy Carver’s butt started ringing.

I was struck immediately by how well he captured the thought patterns of a teenage boy – the first person protagonist one with a very odd name, Briar Gamble. His thoughts are sporadic and all over the place, a reflection of a short attention span and an inclination to following impulse. That and Steve provides us with little glimpses of strange things that had happened and that would happen in the story to come – a bit of a tease.

The story opens with tainted cell phones, ones that can be used to subjugate a person’s will, handed out by the Black Masks. The popular kids are targeted, and pick up, first, the sheep follow suit, but the free thinkers recognize a bad thing when they see it and discard their phones, rebelling. From there, the story follows Briar and his other classmates who haven’t been “possessed”, in the face of Captain Albino (aka Mr. Millett) and the Black Masks, their fishbowl sunglasses, and their oddly translated phrases.

The story was fast paced and intriguing, with a goodly amount of humour and action. It does drift a little too much into “silly” for my tastes at times, but the characters are interesting and diverse, and I think the story would have a lot of appeal for the average reader of young adult fare. I enjoyed it, which says a lot considering it would not be my typical reading selection.

Of course, being the first episode in a serial, the story doesn’t end with this episode. In all, this episode includes seven chapters, enough to get you into the story proper and a fun read.


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