Posted by Literary Titan
Craig DiLouie’s One of Us follows a group of teenagers named the plague generation. Known to locals as monsters, these youngsters have been placed in orphanages as they bear the markings of the most extreme genetic mutation. Abandoned by their parents, the monsters have been raised away from those normal members of society, with a clear divide in place for many years. Yet, that divide is now at risk as these kids see adulthood on the horizon and tire of those normal people dictating their life to them. With tensions already high in a town that is still rife with racism and all manner of other prejudices, it’s only a matter of time before both worlds collide, with deadly consequences.
After having read One of Us, my first thoughts are, inevitably, this has to be made into a film! This has got to be one of my best reads this year.
Firstly, the setting and the timing in One of Us is faultless. The teenagers, both plagued and normal, are all at that point in their lives where confusion, emotions, and anger is high. Add in the many judgmental residents and old-timers of the town and the tension is bubbling at the very beginning.
Yet, Craig seems to present both the normal and the plagued with an element of good and evil, so much so that you find yourself veering between them, switching your opinions back and forth. So, you feel for the plagued, but at the same time, you understand the fear the normal people might have of them.
The book’s message is stark, and the plague is said to be spread as a sexually transmitted disease, as the normal teenagers have this message hammered home to them constantly. A sense of shame hangs over the town and its residents, with the news continually touted that all that those with the germ should never procreate.
Yes, there are a few scenes that make for uncomfortable reading, be it the actions of the older normal residents toward the plagued kids or the plagued kid’s acts of revenge, in particular Brain’s horrific act of retribution. But in reality, I think these harder to read scenes merely force us to question how we as adults have a level of power over children – which unfortunately some can and do act upon.
One of Us reminds me a little of the book, The Girl with All the Gifts, which I also thoroughly loved. However, I feel One of Us has the advantage here as it goes further by delving further into each character and offering us more individuals than just the one. As a result, you feel more invested in the plagued kids and the normal kids fighting on their behalf.
One of Us doesn’t let up with pacing that verges on perfection. When you add to this a bunch of entirely compelling characters, the result is a book you will not want to put down.
Pages: 400 | ASIN: B0776QMHPT