Friday, August 30, 2013

Variant by Robison Wells Review

"Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.

He was wrong.

Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.

Where breaking the rules equals death.

But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible."

Variant is a good novel with crazy Lord of the Flies conflict. Remember Gone by Michael Grant? Or that horrible/dreadful book called Lord of the Flies you had to read and analyze back in high school? Yeah, Variant is similar to Lord of the Flies, but with a better plot, better characters, and modern day language. Yay! Still better than reading Lord of the Flies. (Although Lord of the Flies is just plain insane, which makes the synopsis, summaries, and plot appealing. The concepts, places, and themes of Variant and Lord of the Flies are much different.) 

With a humorous tone, Variant is guarantee to never bored you. Unless you're that type of reader that just can't seem to settle down with a good book. (I am obviously not that type of reader. I would not be writing this today if I was.) Variant is kind of a futuristic/robotic kind of book. I don't know when Variant is set, but I can tell it is somewhere in the future because there are some...oh, wait. I'm getting ahead of myself.

The plot is so exciting. Benson's journey navigating Maxfield's creepy and possibility evil terrain has been above my expectations. The beginning is quite shocking and odd, yet also somewhat predictable and foreshadowed. If you read the synopsis before reading the book, the beginning is full of "Don't do it, Benson. Don't do it. Don't be an idiot and fall for that trap" chants. 

The ending, the ending, the ending. (I do know many of my reviews have similar formats and beginnings. I'll try my best to not adopt it for my next review.) Whoa! That is a killer twist at the end. Spoiler Alert because I have to do this. Wow! Jane is still alive, after all this time. I wonder if she's an android or not. Hmm... This will be an interesting question for the sequel of the Variant. So basically, anyone who is dead or named dead in Maxfield Academy is actually alive and well? What the... That's so strange. It's safe to read now because it's the End of the Spoiler. 


Benson is unpredictable. Due to his "knowledge of tv", Benson is proven to be tougher and stronger than most of his peers. I don't like him very much, because I think he's too reckless and has no sense of self-preservation. For a guy who isn't interested in girls, he is suddenly interested in the wrong time and setting? That's a little odd step outside of his character because, if I recall correctly, he swears off girls.

Jane is sort of a mystery of intrigue. There's something off about her from the very beginning and she hides it quite well. I wonder if Jane will become a great love interest and join Becky in the fight for Benson's love.

Rating: Four out of Five.

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