Friday, 27 May 2016

Guest review by Laura: Trace Evidence: A Virals Short Story Collection by Kathy Reichs (Young Adult, 7/10E, short 'n' sweet review)

January 2016, Young Arrow, 304 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Themes: friendship, adventure, drama, good vs. evil, teen life, special abilities, animals, family,  following clues, forensics, relationships, growing up, danger, science and technology.

Summary from Penguin Random House

A collection of four short stories based on the Virals series from New York Times bestselling authors, Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs!

Fans of the Virals series will be thrilled with this companion volume that includes three short stories originally published as eSpecials as well as an all-new, never-before-seen Virals adventure! Shift, Swipe, Shock and the new story Spike give further glimpses of the Virals’ world as they work with Tory’s famous great aunt, Temperance Brennan, to solve more mysteries, take look at where it all started before they became Virals, and get to the bottom of an attempted sabotage at Kit and Whitney’s wedding.

Laura's thoughts (guest reviewer) 
Trace Evidence brings together three of the Virals short stories previously published in e-book with a new short story which is set after the fifth book in the series – Terminal.  I was really pleased that the stories were published again in print as I had not had a chance to read them in e-book form, although having them together makes it a little more difficult to orientate yourself around where they should appear in the original Virals series.

The first story – Shock – tells us how Tory Brennan arrived on Morris Island to live with her father after the death of her mum in a car accident.  Key aspects of the story have been mentioned in the main books, but it was really nice to see the beginning of Tory’s story, particularly when you know how it is going to develop.  It also explains how she and her friends meet and how they find their bunker, which is their secret hideout.  This was my favourite of the four stories as I liked to see the dynamic of the friendship group change when Tory arrived.

The second story – Shift – could almost be a stand-alone short story, although it helps to know the background to the Virals and their powers.  The story is set after Tory’s father has been promoted to Director of LIRI, the research institute where he works (somewhere between the second and third of the main books in the series, I think).  There has been a break-in at LIRI and computer equipment is missing. The gang try to help solve the mystery using their enhanced abilities.  The famous forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan from Kathy Reichs’ adult series makes an appearance and also helps to solve the crime.  I don’t really like when these worlds cross over.  I enjoy reading the Temperance Brennan series also, although I am only about half way through, so I don’t know how much Tory and her father Kit make an appearance in these books.  I feel, personally, that Temperance Brennan loses her credibility when she appears in the Virals series because of the super powers that Tory has.  For me, it somehow makes Temperance Brennan’s world less believable.  But that’s just me, others might love that.

The third story – Swipe – also features Tory’s great-aunt Tempe.  While the gang enjoy the day at a Comic Con convention in which Temperance Brennan is signing books and promoting the TV show Bones, a priceless piece of memorabilia goes missing and again Tory and her friends investigate.  Apart from looking at the original publication date, it is difficult to tell where in the series this story fits.  However, out of all of them, it is probably the most stand-alone.  Again, not so keen on the crossover of characters, but the story is fun and will appeal to those who enjoy these sorts of conventions.

The final story – Spike – is set after the fifth book of the main series. It is Kit and Whitney’s wedding day but things keep going wrong. Tory and her friends have to work out if this is just bad luck or if someone is sabotaging the big day.  There were lots of funny moments, but I was a little disappointed.  I loved the end of the last book and was excited to see what would happen to the Virals.  Sadly, the way in which the group and their powers have evolved isn’t how I had hoped. However, I am looking forward to the next main book to see how things all pan out.

Find out more on Kathy's website.

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