The Farm by Emily McKay
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Publication Date: December 4, 2012
Source: received by publisher, in exchange for honest review
Buy It: Amazon | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
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…In the Before, everything was like it is now in the real world. Vampires sparkled in movies, instead of chowing down on human flesh in real life. But, now, monsters known as Ticks have taken over a nation in less than six months. Teenagers reside in Farms, where they are fattened like cattle to bleed dry for the Ticks outside the fence. Lily and her autistic twin, Mel, intend to escape before their 18th birthday. When Carter, a familiar face from Before, shows up and offers a way out, they take it. Now they just need to survive.
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...--Goodreads
When I read what The Farm was about, I was ready to dive right in. As much as I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read another vampire book, there was something about this one which made me want to read it right away. It sounded so similar to The Daybreakers, a film made in 2009, about vampires taking over the world. In the movie, just like this book, the vampires farm the humans for blood. As much as the movie was just okay, the concept of farming humans and vampires taking over the world seemed very promising. The Farm was different in the way that it was in the perspective of one of the farm occupants. The Daybreakers trailer is below.
Emily McKay created this world filled with vampire lore. One of the most fantastic storylines with vampires I have heard in a long time. She calls them Ticks (and Tocks), just the title makes them sound remarkably unique. Her writing blew me away, from beginning to end. I wanted to continuously jump ahead because I almost couldn’t stand not knowing what was going to happen next.
Alternating point of views are sometimes not the best, if written the wrong way they can easily be confusing. However, with The Farm, the narratives were written nicely and I didn’t get lost at all. It was interesting to read about and get in the mind of an autistic girl. There are too few novels with main characters who have autism. Carter was the cliché hot boy of the group but McKay wrote him in such a way that made him seem much more than that. He was compelling and I wanted to know more about him. I enjoyed Lily’s narration the most; she would doubt herself often which was a fantastic way to get the reader to doubt what was happening as well.
The plot flowed at a good pace, not too fast and not slow at all. However, it was the action packed scenes which kept me reading for more. There were a bit of twists in The Farm but the most anticipated twist was predictable. There was a superpower talked up throughout the entire book but one minute I would understand it and the next something would throw me off. Something didn’t add up with it. The ending upset me. It seemed too rushed and I felt McKay could have slowed down in the plot. However, I am anticipating the release of the second one because McKay left it off at such an agonizing point.
The Farm was a magnificent take on vampires. As much as the vampire era is leaving for a while and dystopia has taken the world by storm, make sure you read this one. The Farm is fresh, unique, and action packed.
“Some days, you just want to let the bad guys win.”-The Farm by Emily McKay, p. 1
Rated R for blood and gore, action sequences, and violence.
Writing Style: 4