Review: Variant

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: VariantVariant by Robison Wells
Series: Variant #1
Published by HarperTeen on September 26, 2011
Genres: Mystery, Science Fiction, Thriller
Pages: 373
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

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 like a cross between Lord of the Flies and Winter’s End, a less well-known dystopia by a French author that has a school setting like this. Having finished it, I’m not entirely certain how I feel about it. The story definitely left me with more questions than answers (typical) and somewhat frustrated. However, the whole thing was completely engaging and thrilling. Wells definitely had me flipping pages, reading as fast as I could to figure out what the heck was going on this frackin’ creepy school.

There is something about schools that makes them perfect settings for horror, maybe the fact that, with boarding schools, you have very few rights. Or, maybe it’s the fact that there are so many children; nothing is more terrifying than a creepy child. You expect adults to be jerks, but you hate to such betrayal and evil from younger individuals, perhaps because it hints at the evil in human nature.

Benson, despite his stupid name and the fact that he is a bit of a jerk, is a good main character. He thinks about himself first, something the others constantly rag on him for, but, really, who wouldn’t be focusing on getting themselves out of such a weird place? My one criticism for him is that he does some stupid things in trying to escape, but, hey, I knew from the beginning that he was smart, but not insanely so.

Variant definitely is not the most pertinent dystopia for our lives, but it is a thrill ride from the first chapter. If you like action, mystery and twists, you will not want to miss this. I know I won’t miss book two!


3 responses to “Review: Variant”

  1. I really would like to read this one. I’ve seen Variant on many blogs. Sorry, it left you with lots of questions.

  2. Christina says:

    Questions aren’t always bad. It will just depend on whether they are satisfactorily dealt with eventually or not (ex. Lost).

  3. Sounds like a book that really makes you think. This is a book I would like to read- I don’t mind having some questions when I am done with a book- as long as I am not left wondering about too many loose ends. 🙂


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