Book review: Virals by Kathy Reichs

To start this post, I have to tell you about my obsession with the television series Bones. The series is  loosely based on the life and writings of novelist and forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs. I watch it religiously, and I’ve been rewatching the series from the beginning on Netflix.

I’ve never thought about buying any books Reichs had written, until I was in a Barnes and Noble store a month or so ago and picked up Virals, which is supposed to be about the niece of Temperance Brennan (the main character of Bones and in Reichs’s novels.)

Here’s the book’s description:

“Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage “sci-philes” who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.

As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot–if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer’s scent.

Fortunately, they are now more than friends–they’re a pack. They are Virals.”

This book was obviously written toward a young adult audience. It’s written from Tory’s perspective. Tory herself is sarcastic and tends toward cynicism. There are many quips that go through her head – though they don’t escape out her lips – that you think automatically, “She’s a teenager.” I found them distracting right at first, but as I got into the book, I just chuckled with each one.

I enjoyed the book. Even though I have been tending toward more difficult, intriguing “adult” novels (not necessarily racy, but just with more substance and “make you think” content), I still like to go back to a young adult novel every now and then and hear a good story. Tory’s pure “right and wrong” philosophy and dislike of the boss on the research island is a pure rebellious-teenager attitude, and it was refreshing and mindful of the fact that a lot of teenagers see what they see and don’t always look beyond it. (Obviously, teenagers aren’t the only ones who end up with that thought process.)

I’ve said this before, but I like it when characters aren’t perfect, and believe me, Tory isn’t perfect. She portrayed many typical teenager attitudes, which were almost stereotypical, but she also had other faults of her own. She was a good person, though, which made me root for her.

Was this book the best book I’ve ever read? Far from it, really. Still, I’m now going to be on the lookout for Kathy Reichs’s Temperence Brennan novels and the second in the Virals series, Seizure. I hope she brings a bit of romance into it, using Jason (a boy at school who displays an interest in Tory, but otherwise has a pretty small part in the novel), because now I’m imagining the many different plot twists she could incorporate into it using that, but I’ll have to wait and see.

Find Virals at: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

I'm a lover of writing and books. I graduated from South Dakota State with a master's degree in communications in 2011, the same year I was first published. I'm a wife and mom, and I work in content and digital marketing in South Dakota.

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