Saturday, February 9, 2013

Review: The Farm (The Farm, #1)

The FarmAuthor: Emily McKay
Series: The Farm, #1
Relase date: February 14th 2013
Publisher: Berkley
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.


  1. This is on my sound dark and I like it. A little nervous about plot hole and pov ..but excited.

  2. Right there with you! I though I was done with the vampire genre (except series I'm already into) but I really liked the creep factor with this one. Plus, Lily's loyalty in the face of such hardship really won my heart.

  3. hahaha I love all the different types of vampires you listed up there! I'm definitely over vampires too (excluding Julie Kagawa's new vampire series) but I think I might enjoy this one :) So glad you enjoyed this one Maja; I can't wait to dive into my copy!<3

  4. Ticks?? Innnnteresting. And yay for social awkwardness. I'll check this one out.


  5. Fantastic review, Maja! I was one of the few who didn't like Lily because of her attitude towards people and her sister, but I also did notice a few plot holes and I was especially exasperated by that ancient vampire letting Cater and Lily dictate him what to do ;)) I'd say bullsh*t to that any day.
    Also I liked Ticks, it was a great find reminiscent of I Am Legend.

  6. I've seen so many positive reviews for this book, but somehow, never felt the urge to read it. I'm clearly missing out on something original, though, so I'll have pick this up soon. Wonderful review, Maja! :)

  7. I've been excited for this one SO long and I can't wait to read my own copy. I definitely need to make some time for it, because it sounds great. I love vampires, but the fact that she manages to make them original is even better :) And my name is in the book, yeah. Second time I come across a Mel. Nice review Maja :)


  8. Finally sounds like something that has some good vampires in. I love Kagawa's Immortal Rules which had rather brutal vampires, but I ADORE the idea of genetically altered humans being vampires.

    I have to say I'm a vampire lover all the way. They are one of my favourite paranormal creatures if not the paranormal creature.

    I actually didn't realise The Farm was about vampires, but I am so glad to hear you enjoyed this one so much, Maja because I have been waiting to read a review on this one that's so positive.

    Shame about the couple of elements that weren't pulled off, but four stars definitely has be sold.

    Awesome review! :)

  9. I've never heard of this book but it sounds intriguing, and disturbing. Humans are blood cows?! Yuck. I can see how you'd give Lily a break. I've read many a story where I don't care for the heroine at first, but the author makes them likable as the story progresses because of growth and change. I'll have to check this out further, especially because of your 4 stars. I know you must've really liked this. Lovely review, Maja. :)

  10. Yours is the first review I've read for this book as the name and the cover are unappealing and I've just skimmed over it any time I've seen it. So I didn't realise it was about vampires. I rarely turn down a vampire book :) I'm glad to hear that you liked Lily and I can see why you'd be put off by the chapters in Mel's pov. I'm definitely going to read this one sometime though. Thanks for a great review Maja :)

  11. Is this already out in the U.S.? I need to check. I am with you, I am so over vamps since they have become worn and trite, but tics and tearing out hearts sounds creepy and terrifying. Whoo hoo! I will read this!

  12. I'm incredibly curious to see how I would react to Lily now. Somehow I think I could relate to her quite easily, based on what you've said there. I also really like the sound of the original vampire premise here. They sound a little similar to the vampire-esque creatures in Laura Bickle's The Hallowed Ones - a book I adored. Great review, Maja!

  13. I have heard such good things about this book! Lily sounds like someone I'm going to be able to easily connect with. I also have an autistic sibling, so I'm looking forward to seeing how her sister is portrayed. Excellent review!

  14. Oh, and don't forget the body-snatching chupacabra vampires! (Yeah, they exist.)

    I'm so glad I read this review, too! I'm glad that Lilly's character worked for you more than it did for others. The great thing about reading is that there's always that opportunity to bring other things into a book than others, making your experience with it totally unique. I do definitely love the promise of a unique vampire story.

  15. Even though I wasn't over this like ketchup on fries, I found it mildly entertaining. And I'm really happy that you were able to enjoy it MUCH MUCH more. Both Carter and Lily were okay characters for me, so I'm not really anxious to get the second book but I'll still look forward to more growth between the two of them. :)

  16. Oh girl you had me at "an original take on vampires"! Honestly I don't need more. If she managed to create something original with something so well-used like vampires it goes on my to-read list! :) Great review Maja :)

  17. This book sounds fascinating and kind of horrifying. Can't believe there's a new take on vampires. I really thought I'd read it all. :-)

    I'm really intrigued about this Lily. I have to agree with you on characters starting out unlikable and turning into memorable heroines (Quintana of Charyn comes to mind). I'm glad this book had a lot to offer in spite of the stumbles you mentioned. I'm definitely going to try this one. Thanks for the thoughtful review!

  18. Is it just me or has everyone been reading and enjoying this one lately? I'm not a big vampire lover but I'm curious to read about these Ticks. I was also curious about this one because I had heard that Mel's was included and wanted to see how the author narrated from an autistic person's viewpoint. It sounds like she should have skipped including those chapters.

  19. Yay for an original take on vampires! It seemed like the vampire genre was exhausted to its utmost, but the author uas clearly done a job well done here. I get the feeling I'd be able to relate to Lily given what you've said. Glad you enjoyed this one despite the blatant plot flaw! Wonderful review, Maja. :)

  20. Vampires are definitely overdone in all forms of media nowadays. I am so happy to hear that there's a new, fresher take on them in The Farm. I have also been keeping track of reviews on this, which do sound positive for the most part. Wonderful review, Maja, and I'm glad you were able to enjoy the story overall, even if there were a few aspects that kept you from loving it. I'll probably have to read this myself at some point.

  21. I skipped over 'The Farm' because cover was too ordinary to attract my attention and I thought it was another vampire novel. But if it colored you impressed then maybe I should give it a chance. ;)


Thank you for stopping by and commenting. If you're a fellow blogger, I'll visit and return the favor as soon as possible. If your're using Google+ to comment, please make sure that your blog link is clearly visible on your profile.

Unfortunately, this is now an award and tag free blog, but I do thank you for your consideration.