Beauty versus beasts.
In the wake of a devastating biological disaster, the United States east of the Mississippi River has been abandoned. Now called the Feral Zone, a reference to the virus that turned millions of people into savage beast-men, the entire area is off-limits. The punishment for crossing the border is death.
Lane McEvoy can’t imagine why anyone would risk it. She’s grown up in the shadow of the great wall separating east from west, and she’s curious about what’s on the other side – but not that curious. Life in the west is safe, comfortable . . . sanitized. Which is just how she likes it.
But Lane gets the shock of her life when she learns that someone close to her has crossed into the Feral Zone. And she has little choice but to follow. Lane travels east, risking life and limb and her very DNA, completely unprepared for what she finds in the ruins of civilization . . . and afraid to learn whether her humanity will prove her greatest strength or a fatal weakness.
Inhuman was chosen for the American Booksellers Association’s 2013-2014 Kids’ Winter Indie Next List, which features the top 10 children’s titles for the winter publishing season organized by age group. All Next List picks are based on nominations from independent booksellers across the country. “This futuristic tale begins amidst a zombie-like apocalypse that has rocked the United States. People aren’t turning into zombies as we know them, but rather gradually take on animal characteristics until they become feral and lose their humanity completely. Delaney Park has grown up on the side of a massive wall that keeps the remaining uninfected humans safe from the feral beasts, but when she finds herself on the other side of the wall, she realizes that some of these ‘beasts’ may be more human than anyone knows.” —Madison Butler, Liberty Bay Books, Poulsbo, WA
Falls’ first novel for teens is the nail-biting start of a new trilogy.
Nineteen years ago, the deadly Ferae Naturae (“of a wild nature”) virus killed 40 percent of America’s population. Now, 16 year-old Lane McEvoy lives a safe, sterile life in the shadow of the Titan, a 700-foot-tall wall that extends from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, separating the uninfected west from the Feral Zone to the east. Lane’s life is turned upside down when the head of Biohazard Defense makes her an offer she can’t afford to refuse. Director Spurling has evidence that Lane’s father, Mack, is a “fetch,” paid to retrieve valuables left behind during the exodus two decades before. Unless Lane locates her father so he can recover something the director has lost, Spurling will expose Mack’s treason, and Lane will lose him to execution by firing squad. As she ventures into the Feral Zone, Lane picks up two unlikely allies: the enigmatic feral-hunter Rafe and the militant, by-the-book guard Everson. Readers will find themselves drawn into Lane’s story through the author’s consistent worldbuilding and striking turns of phrase. Lane is an appealing and credible protagonist; her progression from obsessive cleanliness to fearless engagement with the infected is subtle and believable. Sure to satisfy fans of the dystopian-romance genre and to gather new ones along the way.
Falls begins a trilogy set in a dystopian America, a generation after a hybridized virus killed or mutated millions. Survivors live west of the Mississippi, with a giant wall protecting them from the “Feral Zone” to the east. When 16-year-old Lane McEvoy’s father goes missing, she learns that he was a “fetch,” illegally journeying east to retrieve precious artwork and other items. A powerful official blackmails Lane into helping find her father; when she’s unsuccessful, she must complete his assignment herself. Accompanied by rule-breaking bad boy Rafe and handsome border guard Everson, Lane ventures into the Feral Zone, trying to survive the legacy of the Ferae Naturae virus, including animal crossbreeds and feral “manimals.” Despite the obligatory love triangle, Falls presents Lane as a competent, admirable heroine who more than holds her own. The setting holds great promise, and its dangers are quite entertaining: from the dreaded chimpacabra and piranha-bats to people infected by lion, tiger, or fox DNA, there’s lovely and bizarre imagery involved. A solid start, even when the book falls into familiar patterns for the genre. Ages 12–up. Agent: Josh Adams, Adams Literary.
Gr 8 Up—Years ago, genetic experimentation gone wrong unleashed the Ferae virus, which killed millions and mutated more into half-human, half-animal hybrids. Humanity fled west and built a wall along the Mississippi River. Sixteen-year-old Lane McEvoy has grown up in the West, but she’s just found out that her father, who she thought was an art dealer, is actually a fetch, someone who illegally crosses the quarantine line to retrieve items from the East. She’s blackmailed into breaching the wall and convincing him to do a job for a powerful government official, but when she can’t locate him, she must perform the fetch herself with help from mysterious border guard Everson and infuriating mercenary Rafe. This first installation in a trilogy is well imagined, set in an original world whose convincing history, politics, and social norms come out naturally as the story unfolds. The animal hybrids are sometimes intriguing and sometimes terrifying (like the half-bat half-piranha weevlings) but are always compelling. While the love triangle is perhaps inevitable, Lane, Everson, and Rafe are believable, and new facets of their personalities are revealed over their journey. Although ethics in Lane’s universe are, at first, clearly delineated, as she sees more of the world past the wall, her sense of what makes people human-and humane-evolves. This is a perfectly plotted, deliciously suspenseful journey through a lush, intriguing society in which nothing is quite as it seems.—Gretchen Kolderup, New York Public Library
An amusement park attraction gone wrong gives way to a devastating virus that turns humans into feral “manimals.” Delaney, Lane for short, has heard similar stories from her dad in the form of fairytales, but these “manimals” are not the cute and cuddly kind. Lane is safe as long as she stays confined behind the feral zone. Then, she finds out her dad is out there. He is a “fetch,” a person who enters the zone to obtain priceless items, punishable by death. But Lane’s dad is wanted for one last fetch that may save his life. On her quest to help him, Lane meets two boys; a soldier on a mission to find a cure, and an unruly boy who grew up in the zone and seems to know more about her and her dad than he lets on—and both boys are adorable. Who has time for romance, though, when you are fighting off cross-bred, rabid humans trying to infect you, all while living out your bedtime stories? Lane intends to risk her life to find out. This novel is reminiscent of H.G. Wells’s The Island Of Dr. Moreau with a hint of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park. The inhuman world that author Falls has shaped is both disturbing and fascinating. Falls’s creatures are frighteningly beautiful as are the traits that distinguish them from human and animal, a very small distinction at times. This is recommended for readers looking for a thrilling, page-turning read. Reviewer: Tanya Paglia
Dark Life is set in the near future when global warming has caused the oceans to rise and reduced America to half its former size. Fifteen-year-old Ty and his family live on an ocean floor homestead. When outlaws attack the pioneer settlement, Ty teams up with a girl from the “Topside” who’s come subsea to search for her brother. Together they face dangerous sea creatures and venture into the frontier town’s rough underworld to discover the secret behind the outlaws’ eerie abilities.
An exclusive bonus chapter found only in the audio book here!
Dark Life was nominated for the following state book awards:
Florida’s Sunshine State Young Reader Award
Georgia’s Children’s Book Award
Illinois’ Rebecca Caudill Young Reader’s Book Award
Minnesota’s Maud Hart Lovelace Award
Missouri’s Truman Readers Award
Nebraska’s Golden Sower Award
Ohio’s Buckeye Children’s Book Award
South Carolina’s Junior Book Award
Utah’s Beehive Book Award
Vermont’s Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award
What School Library Journal says about the audio book of Dark Life:
Gr 6-10–The wild frontier meets Jacques Cousteau in this futuristic novel by Kat Falls. Global warming has done its job and the oceans have risen. The coasts lie beneath hundreds of feet of water and people living topside are crammed into stacked housing developments, fighting for inches of space. Ty and his family have all the space they want. They have chosen to homestead the ocean floor—in the Dark Life. Gemma is a topsider who has come to the deep-sea colony looking for her brother and hoping to escape being placed in an orphanage. Ty and Gemma team up to help each other when outlaws begin attacking the ocean settlements. Ty calls upon his dark gift—the ability to communicate with sonar—to rescue his community and Gemma. Narrator Keith Nobbs distinguishes the characters well, and his quick pacing will appeal to listeners. Action, suspense, romance, and a few surprises make this a good choice for middle school boys.–Tricia Melgaard, Library Journals LLC
Rip Tide, the sequel to Dark Life, follows Ty and Gemma on another action-packed aquatic adventure. When Ty’s parents are kidnapped by a savage group of ocean dwellers known as surfs, he and Gemma make a desperate alliance with the Seablite Gang in order to get them back.
Read the first chapter here!
You can find my books online at Amazon and at IndieBound.
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