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.