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Radiant Shadows

The Eleventh Plague

The Eleventh Plague - Jeff Hirsch I really enjoyed this debut novel by Jeff Hirsch; it was a quick read, but kept me turning the pages as I tried to anticipate's Stephen's next move. I loved Hirsch's references to modern-day establishments (Starbucks, McDonalds), and was fascinated by Stephen's descriptions of how they had fared post Collapse. Hirsch's explanation as to how (and why) a war is started hits disturbingly close to home, and the resulting war (America launching nuclear weapons, China responding with a biochemical attack - an enhanced strain of influenza) is completely probable - which is why reading about it is both so eerie and captivating.At times, I did forget that Stephen was only fifteen (as some of his actions reflected someone much older), which left me feeling bewildered with some of his more juvenile actions (like the prank which starts the war between Settler's Landing and Fort Leonard), but other then that, I felt he was a very well-rounded and easily relatable character - a teen trying to figure out who he is and what his place is in the world. I cringed when he stole from the Greens, worrying for him and what it would mean if he were to get caught - would they throw him out of the community, would he ruin any chance of having found a stable place to call home - as I genuinely cared about what happened to him. I liked the relationship between Jenny and Stephen, although the (almost) love-at-first-sight bit was a little far-fetched, and their first kiss had me begging for more. I wish there had been a little more character development for Jenny, as I didn't always understand her (or her motives), or why she was so against being a part of the Green family, which made me find her ungrateful and disrespectful towards the people (and community) who took her in when she was just a baby - to be honest, other then a couple of moments with Stephen, I didn't really like her character.Overall a good read, but more suited towards a younger audience.Originally published on my blog, Radiant Shadows