I just finished Seizure by Kathy Reichs. Seizure is the second book in the Virals series, which is about a group of kids who accidentally get infected by a mutant strain of parvo while rescuing a wolfdog puppy from a lab and suddenly find themselves in possession of wolf-like senses – precision hearing, eagle eyesight, etc. They call themselves Virals, but I like to call them the Parvo Kids. There is less explanation involved, especially if I’ve already told you what I’m reading. If this premise wasn’t enough (and it is), I love coastal South Carolina, so the Charleston setting is an added bonus.
I’ve decided that it’s impossible to discuss this book without spoiling the entire plot, so I have added a musical interlude AND a jump to protect those of you who do not want to know how it ends. And so, I present Jimmy Buffett’s Coast of Carolina as a marginally-related excuse for me to listen to it again. On repeat.
Alright, I’m assuming that if you’re here, you’re ready to know everything that happens in this book. Because this is going to be RIFE with spoilers from here on out. I can’t figure out how to talk about the book without them. As I said, the kids are mutants due to an unfortunate parvo infection incident. They can’t tell anyone about their condition because they’re afraid of becoming lab rats themselves, and they have to stay together so that they can help each other figure out what’s going on inside them. Unfortunately, the funding for their parents’ jobs has been cut, and everyone is going to have to move away unless they round up millions of dollars to keep a state-of-the-art veterinary facility on a private island open. This daunting task seems impossible until Tory Brennan (grand-niece of Tempe) discovers that their hometown of Charleston may be the location of undiscovered legendary buried pirate treasure. Convenient. Discovering a trove of unclaimed pirate treasure could solve quite a few of their problems, so she convinces the other Parvo Kids to help her find it. This initially involves robbing the Charleston Museum of the original treasure map, sneaking into an old prison in the wee hours and
breaking through its walls into the tunnels under the city where they must disarm booby traps, skirt a dead body, unravel obscure clues, dodge bullets from mysterious stalkers, and swim through the bottom of a whirlpool to escape a chamber filling with water after a bridge falls into an abyss. And they don’t even have the treasure yet. Nope. This little adventure has gained them a poem in Gaelic. The other Parvo Kids are uninterested in continuing to pursue the trail. Apparently they scare easily and a little bit of almost-drowning and being shot at has made them lose interest in the treasure hunt. Fortunately, Tory is determined not to move to Alabama, and she wears them down by piquing their interest in the next clue. This cycle keeps up until they finally do find the treasure. I won’t go into all the details, but let’s just say that they have to spring a guy from a mental health facility, the nice people from the museum turn out to be crazy Indiana Jones wannabes intent on murdering the kids for the treasure and the celebrity associated with finding it, the guy from the pawn shop that they duped has sent some thugs after them who also feel the need to wave guns around while they demand treasure, and that the kids don’t recognize the real treasure when they find it. Sure, they’re excited about the little bag of doubloons, but they totally disregard the ancient manuscript that is buried with the coins. The kooky guy that they thought was the stalker helpfully points out that they’ve discovered a lost folio of the Book of Kells. That’s right. The Book of Kells. This is the most unlikely pirate treasure I’ve ever imagined, and I really love Kathy Reichs for making it so. Meanwhile, in my head I am screaming DON’T TOUCH IT THE OILS ON YOUR FINGERS WILL IRREPARABLY DAMAGE THE PAGES. These are smart kids and they went to the manuscript museum where the snippy guy (who turns out to be one of the real villains) harped on it A LOT. They should know to keep their grubby little hands off by now. Fortunately, they did not destroy the priceless document, and they were able to set up a trust fund and save the island and therefore their parents’ jobs. This means that they can stay together as they continue to figure out what kind of mutants they are. The one downside is that Tory will have to finish cotillion since they’re staying in Charleston, but it’s a small price to pay to stay with her buds.
Loved this one. Well done again, Kathy Reichs. Yes, the premise is ridiculous, but that is the fun of it (obv if you want believable, you need to look elsewhere). Tory is a fun character, although I’m a little annoyed that she’s totally oblivious to Ben’s crush on her. I’m assuming that it will become apparent soon, though, now that they have the immediate crisis under control. In the meantime, I feel kind of bad for Jason, who also likes her and takes a lot of flack for things that are not his fault, such as Tory’s inability to control her mutant parvo flares in public. Not that he’s perfect, but he hasn’t royally screwed up by any stretch of the imagination. I’d actually rather she dated Jason if she is going to have a boyfriend in upcoming books because I’m afraid that if she and Ben get together it will change the dynamic of the group, and I enjoy it the way it is. Romance might mess everything up. And Jason is great. He’s friendly and nice and helpful – kind of like a Labrador. He could make cotillion a lot more bearable for Tory if she’d let him. She had bigger problems in this book, though, so maybe she wasn’t thinking clearly since she was distracted by the possibility of moving to Alaska or Scotland or Minnesota or Alabama. And there is also the distraction of her crush on the guy she got committed to a mental institution, springs from said hospital, and is now hiding out in her bedroom. It wouldn’t be a YA novel without a lot of potential boyfriends hanging around, after all. I look forward to seeing what the Virals will get up to next now that they’re all rich.