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The Farm by Emily McKay

While Katy turns to Star Wars to deal with her anxiety over the the impending Mayan Apocalypse, I’ll now return us to our regular programming.

The Farm by Emily McKay

The Farm

By: Emily McKay

Release Date: December 4, 2012

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Summary: Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…

And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.

Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…

Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race…

I really liked The Farm… until I didn’t. I guess this is another case of me getting the wrong impression from the description; that’s happened a lot to me lately, but, most of the time, it’s the teaser giving away too much. In this case, just the opposite, because the minute I got to what Carter’s secret was, my enthusiasm for this book instantly went to zero. Let’s just say it’s not a good sign when your own characters are making fun of how stupid the plot twists are.

From the description, I’m thinking this is going to be a book about humans being farmed for food to feed vampires and two sisters having to escape from ‘The Farm’. And it is, at least at first. A bit predictable, but one of the sisters, Mel, is mentally handicapped and her point of view is rather good – I have to hand it to Emily Mckay, she did a really good job making sure Mel’s story comes across despite how she’s telling it. I didn’t like Lily as much, she’s really on edge and her frustration with her sister even frustrated me, but it’s easy to tell her heart’s in the right place nonetheless. So Lily and Mel go about describing their predicament and making plans to escape, and then, as promised, new kid Carter comes into the picture with a hidden agenda and the girls’ plans go straight to hell. So far so good, right?

Not really, because that’s exactly when the problems started popping up left and right for me. First of all, Carter obviously knows exactly what’s going on, so it’s kind of weird that McKay would write from his point of view at all when the first few chapters hinge on the girls and the reader being in the dark about his secret. Even worse, she writes his point of view as ‘I know what’s going on, I feel real guilty about not telling Lily, but I’m gonna keep the whole thing to myself’. Wow, what a useless point of view that tells me nothing, especially with how ambiguous his reasons for not telling Lily are. But as it turns out, Carter should’ve kept his secret a secret, because knowing that secret ruined the rest of the book for me.

Why? It turns what was a plot about escaping a facility where kids are farmed for their blood to feed mutant vampire like creatures called Ticks into a plot about vampire (real ones, not Ticks) conspiracies and people with mass mind control powers. WTF?!! McKay obviously recognized how unbelievable this is because Lily calls Carter out on it every time he opens his mouth and says something even more ridiculous than the previous ‘bombshell’ he drops. (Actual line from Lily: I don’t need to think about it to know that this is the stupidest, most ridiculous fantasy I’ve ever heard. My reaction: I don’t need to think about it to know that this is the stupidest, most ridiculous fantasy I’ve ever read.) And it’s not like these plot twists are even necessary to the story, the only thing they do is turn Lily from an average if annoyingly stubborn character who may not always know what’s good for her into a lame savior type with a massive hero complex. Oh, and the massive number of inconsistencies that result: the Ticks are nocturnal, nope they attack during the day, the Ticks can’t enter consecrated ground (looool), nope they attack a church because it doesn’t look like a church even though Lily and Co. hid in another church that doesn’t look like a church a few chapters earlier, the Ticks are dumb brutes, nope they implanted Lily’s tracking chip (I’m sure this last one is just an author slipup, but it all goes to show the premise is just convoluted).

I’m not saying the book stops making sense once Lily, Mel, and Carter (plus their friends Joe and McKenna) escape the Farm. Most of the time, the gang’s fending off Ticks or trying to avoid recapture and I’m actually having a good time reading about it, Mel and McKenna as the stereotypical cheerleader turned tough survivor in particular, although Lily and Carter are so generic I couldn’t remember their names while writing this review and had to leave them blank before going back to look in the book and filling them in mad lib style. But, somebody (usually Carter) always has to bring up the stupid premise this book doesn’t even need and the only thing it’s good for is a lame Twilight Vampire Diaries reference before I’m reminded that even the most well conceived books can go bad on the way to crazyville.

I think Emily McKay should’ve quit while she was ahead. The book’s fine as it is without the need for the ridiculous backstory slash explanation for the Ticks, all it does is add a dose of crazy to a perfectly good book that didn’t need it. Maybe she’s doing it to set up a sequel, but I don’t think I’ll be back.

Go to Mitch’s review on Goodreads.

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  1. Katy
    December 20, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Katy has been sitting in traffic for over an hour and not even halfway home bc a stalled truck closed two lanes at her exit causing her to drive 0-5 mph for the last 10 miles, probably slower the remaining commute.

    • December 21, 2012 at 4:21 am

      ugh! sucks!!

      is katy gonna read this by any chance?

  1. January 14, 2013 at 11:07 am
  2. August 17, 2013 at 10:52 am

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