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Friday 30 September 2011

Variant by Robison Wells

Title:- Variant
Author:- Robison Wells
Publisher:- Harper Collins
Publishing date:- October 4, 2011
Source:- Netgalley

Available from BookDepository now or via pre-order through Amazon.

Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.

He was wrong.

Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.

Where breaking the rules equals death.

But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible. - Goodreads
Benson Fisher has been moved from foster home to foster home, so when he finally got accepted for a scholarship at Maxfield Academy, he thought that this was the beginning to his future. He is now able to begin his new life, no one will know him as the "poor orphaned child", he will have a story and he won't be excluded, he may even play a sport, he may even get a girlfriend...

As soon as Benson steps through the front doors of Maxfield Academy, he soon realises that Maxfield was a school like no other, that part was true, but not in the way he had hoped. Maxfield Academy was ran solely by children, no adults and no real lessons. Surely that would be the best school ever known to children, right? Wrong! 

Without the adults to supervise, the students have taken it upon themselves to create their own system and divided themselves into gangs; The Society, The Havocs and The Variants. Each of the gangs are delegated into doing certain jobs within the school. 

Their only adult supervision comes in the way of a man that sits on a large screen that delegates the time table for the day. Their clothes and other equipment comes via a hidden elevator in their cupboard and the points they gain for chores can be used to purchase items that can be ordered via the computer. They are in lock down! No where to go and constantly being watched.

"Variant" is a thriller, dystopian, debut novel by Robison Wells. It was fast paced, well written and filled with lots of startling twists and turns. The ending was very unexpected, I couldn't get through the pages fast enough. 

Benson is a great yet reluctant hero. He's selfless and was focused on his goal despite the discouragement that he was receiving from his peers. I also liked Curtis, leader of "The Variant", he too was focused on his goal but yet he continued to follow the rules to ensure the safety of his fellow students. He was also fair and discouraged violence. I liked Becky, the school administrator, towards the end when she decided to stand up for what was right.

The eerie boarding house amidst the New Mexico desert with high fences and surveillance cameras, prison-like atmosphere, really created the perfect backdrop for this novel. Combined with it's thrilling plot, "Variant" was well thought out and certainly one of the good dystopian novels out there. Eagerly anticipating the second book in this series. 

Please click here for six sample chapters of "Variant", courtesy of Harper Collins.



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