Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review: Scan by Walter Jury and Sarah Fine

Scan (Scan, #1)Authors: Walter Jury, Sarah Fine
Series: Scan, #1
Published: May 1st 2014
Publisher: Putnam Children's
Format: Hardcover, 336 pgs
Buy: The Book Depository

Tate and his father don’t exactly get along. As Tate sees it, his father has unreasonably high expectations for Tate to be the best—at everything. Tate finally learns what he’s being prepared for when he steals one of his dad’s odd tech inventions and mercenaries ambush the school, killing his father in the process and sending Tate on the run from aliens who look just like humans.

All Tate knows--like how to make weapons out of oranges and lighter fluid--may not be enough to save him as he’s plunged into a secret inter-species conflict that’s been going on for centuries. Aided only by his girlfriend and his estranged mother, with powerful enemies closing in on all sides, Tate races to puzzle out the secret behind his father’s invention and why so many are willing to kill for it. A riveting, fast-paced adventure, Scan is a clever alien thriller with muscle and heart.
For a fast-paced, action-packed book, Scan was unusually difficult to get through, at least for me. The endless string of action scenes that was supposed to be captivating and entertaining was actually pretty tiresome and emotionally flat. In the end, I had to give myself a very stern talking to just to finish reading it.

In many ways, Scan was a pretty big disappointment. It lacked any real emotional depth, especially of the level I’ve come to expect from Sarah Fine. Fine usually uses her background in psychology to give us great characterization and believable emotional moments. To be fair, the tempo of this story didn’t allow for strong character development since things constantly progressed at a rapid pace. The focus was on the action and Tate was the only character that got any attention, and even that wasn’t enough. I’d say Walter Jury’s background in film industry unfortunately prevailed in this one.

The most interesting part of this story – Tate’s overly complicated relationship with his father – wasn’t explored nearly enough. There was so much potential there and I kept hoping it would lead somewhere, but unfortunately, a rarely mentioned sense of regret is all I got from Tate.

I recently read a pretty good article about female characters that are portrayed as strong, but that are essentially pointless. They are there, they are fierce, but they don’t actually do anything. The article itself was mostly about Hiccup’s mother in How to Train Your Dragon 2, but the same applies to our Christina. One can’t find any real fault with her character, but I felt that she was mostly there as a prop, to make the story look better and satisfy readers that are more femnistically inclined.

Despite an interesting (if a bit overused premise), this story didn’t resonate with me at all. When you add to that a rather vicious cliffhanger, I think it’s safe to say I won’t be continuing this series. However, those of you who appreciate non-stop action that is reasonably well done might enjoy this one much more than I did. Perhaps read a sample first and go from there.


  1. Oh no! I have seen a few mixed reviews for this one which is why I still have been leery about trying it but if you say that it was difficult to get through then I just know I wouldn't make it.
    I am so sorry you had such a hard time with this. :( I hate it when that happens.

  2. I'm sorry this was a disappointment for you, Maja. I get your point though; there is such a thing as too fast a plot (whiplash, anyone?). Though I enjoyed this one a bit more than you did, you've pointed out something that I didn't mentioned on my review. I think I'd love to have seen more of Tate's difficult relationship with his father.

  3. Hmm, this looks like it is TOO fast-paced. I just finished one of those (mine was a novella though) and there wasn't dept in characterizations either. :/ It's sad coz it looks like this could have been so much better. Thanks for sharing this review. ^^

    PS. Your blog is GORGEOUS. *.*

    Lola @ Hit or Miss Books

  4. Now, I do like a lot of action in my stories but not at the expense of character development. It's a fine balance. Now I'm going to have to read this so I can see!

  5. Aw, I'm sorry this was a bit of a disappointment for you, Maja. It sounds like this is a case of too much action, with the characters suffering for it. Thanks for the thoughtful review Scan :)

  6. Too bad on this one Maja! I adored Sarah's Shadowlands series and I'm just about to start Of Metal and Wishes, so I was hoping this would get a higher rating from you. Part of her appeal for me is exactly what you said - the emotional depth she achieves with her characters, so I'm really bummed this story just moves too quickly for that to happen. Lovely review as always though!

  7. I agree with you on everything you've mentioned in this review, Maja. I started this one only because of Sarah Fine's name as a co-author, but was ultimately let down by the characterizations and I ended up abandoning it. I just couldn't connect with the main character and I agree that Christina didn't really play a significant role other than the MC's girlfriend. I refuse to believe that this was a Sarah Fine book.
    I'm sorry this disappointed you. I hope Of Metal and Wishes will be a better read! :)

  8. I'm so disappointed that you didn't like this one. I wanted to read it because I love Sarah FIne but not I think I might pass. I agree with Nick, read Of Metal and Wishes.

  9. I'm surprised this got a 2 1/2 from you with all the problems. Oh I know what you mean about seeing where it could go and then it just not going there. Frustrating! I do think I'll pass on it. Plus, cliffie? :p

  10. Oh I'm sosrry you were disappointed, it's sad... I confess that i saw the book arounf but didn't ppay attention because I don't really like this genre so I knew it wouldn't be for me.

  11. Oh man! I know you're a big fan of Sarah Fine's books, so I'm sad to see that this one was so disappointing. Sometimes too much action doesn't make for a good book, eh? I can see how there's just too much of it to cover good character building. And that's an interesting bit about a strong female protagonist--I don't want badass female character simply to satisfy my feminist ideals. I'll definitely be avoiding this book. Thanks for your honest thoughts!

  12. What a bummer, I was curious about this, but I need depth and world building. Sorry this one feel flat for you Maja

  13. Sad to hear that this one fell so short on your expectations, Maja. I have been in the fence about this one for a while, but I really don't feel like reading something like a Hollywood action movie.
    Thanks for your very honest review!

  14. I'm going to skip this one, definitely. I've heard mixed views of it up until now but the lack of character depth is something I know I'm going to heavily criticize myself and, like you, I prefer the more introspective rather than fast-paced reads. Thanks for such a helpful review, Maja--you're the first one to truly point out the flaws with this narrative, so seriously thank you.

  15. I was thinking I need to get this one because I like Sarah Fine so much but this sounds like one I would have issues with, so thanks for the heads up. I'll skip it for now. Sorry it was a bit disappointing though!


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