Author: Emily McKay
Series: The Farm, #1
Relase date: February 14th 2013
Paperback, 432 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository
Well, well. Color me impressed. If you would have told me, three months ago, that someone could still offer an original take on vampires, I’d probably have laughed in your face. So far we’ve seen nightwalkers, daywalkers, vegetarian vampires, vampires with magical powers, sparkly vampires, bloodthirsty monsters, gorgeous vampires, hairless ugly vampires, and just about everything else you can possibly think of. But Ticks? Trust me, they’re new.
They’re not quite vampires, true, but genetically altered humans, even more frightening because of their mindlessness. They drink blood, but they take it straight from your heart after they rip it out with their bare hands. The one real vampire in this book is still a far scarier monster, true, but the very thing that makes him more dangerous, his ability to blend in, is the same thing that makes him easier to accept.
Their frames were too bulky and broad, their arms too long, but it was their faces that churned my stomach. The almost human quality to their features. Their eyes darting fervently under hair that was shaggy and unkempt. Their heavy jaws and bulging leonine teeth.
Ever since The Farm’s US release, I’ve been dutifully reading reviews and I’ve noticed that people tend to point one (or all) of three things: their surprise over the originality of Ticks, their love for all things Carter-related, and their disappointment with Lily’s character. I agree with the first, tentatively agree with the second, but I absolutely can’t agree with the third. As someone who is extremely socially awkward, but also fiercely protective of those few people I consider my own, I found it very easy to sympathize with Lily and her willingness to do anything to save her autistic sister. Yes, there were times when she seemed almost prejudiced, but there’s no way to know how any of us would react after six months on a Farm, being used as a cow. Lily understood herself very well and she was willing to change when circumstances required it, or when she realized she was being unfair. Some of my favorite heroines started out as mildly unlikeable only to become fascinating and admirable later on, and I have a feeling Lily will find her place among them soon enough.
Including a few short chapters from Mel’s point of view was a risky move, and one that didn’t pan out in my opinion. We can’t possibly know what goes on in an autistic mind, and while McKay approached it in an original way, there were still a few problems; the most important being that her narrative was barely understandable. Mel’s thoughts made very little sense, and while I appreciated both the original attempt and the fact that they were supposed to be messy, I still didn’t see the point of those chapters at all.
Another thing that stood out was a pretty big plot hole someone should have noticed and pointed out in time. Carter came on the Farm looking for Lily specifically, because he thought she was an abductura, a powerful individual able to influence the emotions of others. I didn’t like his reasons, and I thought the entire thing was incredibly insulting to Lily, but I understood him to a point. What I didn’t understand was how he was able to convince others with such a weak argument, especially a four thousand year old vampire who should have demanded more proof. Whether Carter was right or wrong isn’t really important, you’ll have to read the book to find out. All I’m trying to point out is that a lot of people followed him in a pretty wide search, risking their lives daily, all because he couldn’t believe his attraction to Lily was natural.
Despite a few problems, I’d recommend The Farm to all those who enjoy reading about vampires, but not the romanticized kind. I am very much looking forward to the next book.