I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Wisteria by Bisi Leyton
Series: Wisteria #1
Genres: Horror & Ghost Stories, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Source: the Publisher
Sixteen year old Wisteria Kuti has two options—track the infected around the Isle of Smythe or leave the only known safe haven and face a world infested with flesh eating biters. But even with well-armed trackers, things go wrong and Wisteria ends up alone facing certain death, until she is rescued by the mysterious Bach. Uninfected, Bach is able to survive among the hordes of living dead.
Eighteen year old Bach, from a race known as The Family, has no interest in human affairs. He was sent here to complete his Great Walk and return home as a man—as a Sen Son. The Family regard humans as Dirt People, but Bach is drawn to this Terran girl, whom he has never seen before, but somehow knows.
Hunted by flesh eaters, cannibals, and the mysterious blood thirsty group called Red Phoenix, Wisteria and Bach make their way back to the Isle of Smythe, a community built on secrets and lies.
I need to start by saying that this was one of the craziest books I’ve read in a long time. There is lots of action, plenty of gore, secrets, aliens, zombies, people out for revenge, and groups just in search of violence. I didn’t love everything about the book but it was certainly an entertaining ride! At under 300 pages, the story never slows down and packs as much action into those pages as it can. I was able to read the book in a day because it moves so quickly and just begs you to keep reading. And while I didn’t always seem to be on the same page as the book and got lost a little bit with everything that was going on, it was still highly entertaining.And I just have to say that I really love the cover of this book.
We meet Wisteria right off the bat in the middle of a swarm of biters (zombies). She’s living in a self-sustaining society on the Isle of Smythe and works as a tracker to try to learn the patterns and numbers of the zombies around their community. We learn that her mother is one of the best trackers but isn’t too happy that Wisteria also desires to be one and sneaks out on a surveying mission. It doesn’t go well. But Wisteria is young. A couple of years later, she’s worked back up and is being trained as a tracker again. While out on a simple protection job, everything goes wrong and she becomes separated from her group. The rest of the book follows Wisteria as she survives on the outside with help from Bach, a boy quite different from her who is on a quest of his own to prove his worth to his own race and who Wisteria seems to be inexplicably connected to, and what happens when they finally reach Smythe again.
The biters in this story are only part of what’s threatening Wisteria. She must also escape from cannibals, figure out who the Red Phoenix are and why they attacked her, and decide who she can trust within her own society. I won’t give away any of the secrets or twists that this books has hidden within its pages but I will say that almost all of the characters will surprise you at some point. And most definitely not in the way you will be expecting. It was one of the more enjoyable parts of the book, just trying to figure out who should be trusted and who to stay away from and finding out whether I was right or not. Leyton certainly kept me on my toes!
One of my favorite parts of this book was Wisteria. She was a completely normal teenage girl who lived in abnormal circumstances. She was not the prettiest, strongest, thinnest, bravest, or most talented girl but she knew how to survive and was willing to put her life on the line for those around her. She made mistakes and got angry, she was made fun of and even had an embarrassing crush on a classmate. She was completely relatable and that helps make a great MC. She did, unfortunately, have a sort-of insta-love moment which I wasn’t too fond of, but I’m forgiving her because of her circumstances and things that I won’t spoil for you. It was just nice to see a female main character that didn’t automatically have all the answers because she was the best at everything.
There were a few frustrating parts for me. In the beginning, I had a hard time with the quick turnarounds. I often felt thrown from one story line to the next without much, if any, transition. When Bach first appeared, I was so confused I had to go back and read the whole section a second time. But once I got into the rhythm of the book, the transitions became easier. Another aspect I wasn’t too fond of was Bach’s story line. There was so much that frustrated me about him but mostly it was just that I didn’t fully understand him. I wanted more description of him, his abilities, where he was from, and an explanation of renewal earlier in the book. When we do learn about his past, so much becomes clear. His history and how it relates to the entire story is really interesting, I wish it had been discovered earlier or hinted at sooner.
Final Thoughts: This book was a crazy ride full of paranormal creatures and societies that are full of secrets. Wisteria was a fast read that fans of zombie and alien books will probably enjoy. There are some confusing moments but also some very interesting characters and some action packed scenes. While this book combines both science-fiction and paranormal elements, it doesn’t really add much to either genre. There’s nothing too deep hidden within these pages, but someone looking for a fun, fast, action-packed story with some intrigue should find it enjoyable. I gave Wisteria 3 stars.