Reviews for Orleans

Booklist Reviews 2013 February #1
*Starred Review* In Smith's compelling and disturbing novel, the Gulf Coast has been formally separated from the U.S. since 2025, after a deadly plague called Delta Fever emerges from the horrific conditions following years of increasingly destructive hurricanes. A brief but effective "Before" section summarizes years of backstory with a time line showing the dates and casualties of seven hurricanes (starting with Katrina in 2005 and ending in 2019). There are also excerpts from the "official" declarations of quarantine (2020) and separation (2025). The "After" section begins with the dialect narrative of 15-year-old orphan Fen de la Guerre. Survivors have divided themselves into tribes based on blood type, which now matters more than race, religion, or wealth. Fen's tribe is ambushed, and her leader and best friend, Lydia, dies in childbirth, leaving Fen to care for the baby girl. Determined to honor Lydia's dying request to get the infant outside the Wall to the safety of the Outer Lands, Fen begins her journey and meets Daniel, a determined, naive young scientist who has illegally crossed the Wall, believing he can find a cure for Delta Fever. Alternating chapters of Fen's strong and often lyrical voice and a third-person account from Daniel's point of view move the complicated plot briskly. There are a few too many plot threads, but ultimately, they do not detract from the powerful, relevant themes: global warming, racism, political corruption, and the complexity of human nature. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
When a category 6 hurricane hits and destroys New Orleans in 2019, what remains is a walled-off necropolis, with its population suffering from a fatal fever. Sixteen-year-old Fen becomes the caregiver for an infant, and her one hope is to transport the child, disease free, from Orleans. The bleak setting becomes a tableau for life s basics: survival and sacrifice, compassion and greed.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2013 #2
With near-biblical cadence, sixteen-year-old orphan Fen recites the flood stories of New Orleans, enumerating the hurricanes that have battered the city over the years as they increase in frequency and intensity. In the beginning, "the sky and the sea can't live without New Orleans being they own, so they start to fight over her." When Jesus, the seventh storm and a category 6, hits the city in 2019, "that be the end of New Orleans. She love that last storm so much, she run off with him and leave only Orleans behind." What remains is a necropolis, walled off from the rest of the U.S., and with its population suffering from a fatal fever. Here Smith gives us characters faced with two choices: live or die. When Fen becomes the caregiver for an infant, her one hope is to transport the child, disease free, from Orleans. Soon she meets an idealistic scientist whom Fen believes can courier Baby Girl to freedom. Smith effectively tells their stories through both voices: his idealistic, naive, and grammatically perfect; hers, street-wise, in the dialect of the tribes of Orleans. Carefully crafted backstories, revealed throughout the novel, allow readers initially to form opinions and later have these either confirmed, denied, or altered. The bleak, austere setting becomes a tableau for life's basics: survival and sacrifice, compassion and greed. betty carter

Kirkus Reviews 2013 January #2
Smith imagines a captivating and truly frightening future for the United States, one in which six devastating hurricanes follow Katrina's path right into the heart of the crippled Gulf Coast. On the heels of the storms came the quarantine of the entire Gulf Coast region because of Delta Fever in 2020 and the government's complete abandonment of the disease-ravaged sector a mere five years later. Thus, in 2056, 15-year-old Fen de la Guerre and others like her find themselves eking out a living in a primitive society, many choosing to organize themselves into tribes by blood type to gain a modicum of control over the spread of Delta Fever. When Fen's dear friend dies while giving birth, Fen decides to try to get the newborn over the wall to the Outer States so she might have a better life. Meanwhile, a young scientist named Daniel sneaks across the border into Orleans to further his search for a cure for the fever. Fen and Daniel become strong, if unlikely, allies. While a couple of plot points stretch the bounds of believability and some loose ends remain, the richly textured worldbuilding and the complicated relationship between Fen and Daniel, as well as the constant and varied dangers they face, will keep readers up long past their bedtimes. A harrowing and memorable ride. (Science fiction. 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2013 April

Gr 8 Up--After Hurricane Katrina, a series of hurricanes hits the Gulf Coast and decimated its population, leaving behind destruction and illness. Fifty years later, Delta Fever has set in, and the government abandoned the residents and constructed a wall to keep illness away from the Outer States. People in Orleans live in tribes according to their blood type, and with blood transfusions often necessary, blood is a commodity that many will take by force. Fifteen-year-old Fen lives in Orleans with her tribe, O-Positive, and her job is to watch over pregnant chieftain Lydia and protect her. When the tribe is attacked, and Fen is left alone with an infant to care for, she faces her past to try to find a better life for the baby. Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States, watched his younger brother die of Delta Fever. This drives him to find a cure, but when he crosses over illegally into Orleans to further his research, he finds that things there are not as he expected. As Fen's and Daniel's paths converge, her tough, experienced character is juxtaposed with Daniel's naïve one. Fen's memories reveal a background that is disturbing. Her voice is unique, and the layers of her character are revealed slowly but flawlessly. The few threads that are left dangling could lead easily to a sequel, particularly the hints of government secrecy and the future of the child, but this dark novel stands on its own nicely.--Kelly Jo Lasher, Middle Township High School, Cape May Court House, NJ

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VOYA Reviews 2013 February
Set in a chilling but much-too-plausible future, Orleans is the tale of a city devastated by a series of increasingly severe hurricanes following Katrina. In 2025, after five years of quarantine due to an epidemic known as Delta Fever, the United States has withdrawn governance of the Gulf Coast states. The survivors have banded into tribes based on blood type and resorted to smuggling goods, trading, and blood hunting to survive. Told mainly by Fen de la Guerre, a fifteen-year-old trying to save a newborn baby, this book will satisfy readers wanting another strong female protagonist struggling through situations that seem unable to get worse--until they do just that. She is thrown together with Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States, ignorant of life in the Delta and searching for an answer to the cure he was sure he could find. His confidence turns to doubt when he sees the reality of the Delta, as opposed to what his datalink tells him about it and the Institute of Post-Separation Studies. Gritty and dark, with plenty of glimmers of humanity, this book screams for a sequel, a trilogy, maybe even a prequel. Chapters written in the well-crafted first-person of Fen's tribal dialect clash with Daniel's third-person narrative chapters, but perhaps that was part of Smith's plan. It is a minor flaw in a book that will fly off the shelves and thrill readers of realistic, as well as science, fiction.--Rochelle Garfinkel Smith, Sherwood. Revenant Eve. DAW, 2012. 416p. $25.95. ISBN 978-0-7564-0744-5. 4Q 3P J The final entry in the Dobrenica trilogy opens with Kim Murray engaged to Alec, heir of the Dobrenica throne. Kim is clueless when it comes to organizing a royal wedding, but anything can happen in Dobrenica, a country where magic, ghosts, demons, and vampires exist. When Kim discovers a false door, she goes back in time 200 years to the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte. Kim is told she has been called upon to guide the child Aurelie back to save Dobrenica, or Kim and all of Dobrenica (including her betrothed Alec) will cease to exist. It is no easy task serving as Aurelie's spiritual guardian. Only Aurelie can see or hear Kim and their communication is limited. Kim does her best to guide strong-willed Aurelie without giving away too much of the future for fear of damaging the timeline. Together, they travel for nearly ten years throughout Europe making enemies, making friends, encountering many dangers, and escaping many near misses along the way to saving Dobrenica. In the previous two Dobrenica novels (Coronets and Steel [DAW, 2010] and Blood Spirits [DAW, 2011]), Kim served as the main protagonist. Though told entirely through Kim's spiritual guardian eyes, this third entry is focused on Aurelie's story and can easily stand alone. Elements of fantasy, adventure, and romance are abundant in this heavily detailed historical novel. Smith does a great job of bringing the time period to life. Even though the writing is good, the adventure takes a while to kick in. This is a good choice for avid readers who do not mind a slower pace, can pay attention to detail, and like to be fully immersed in historical settings. Both Kim and Aurelie are strong, intelligent, and highly adventurous heroines making this a great read-a-like for Tamora Pierce and L.A. Meyer stories. Purchase this where the other Dobrenica books circulate well.--Sarah Cofer 4Q 4P J S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.