Review: The Farm by Emily McKay

October 23, 2013 4 stars, Book Review 17 ★★★★

The Farm

Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…

And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.

Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…

Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race…

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​​​​​A great addition to the young adult post apocalyptic genre, The Farm was a chilling and fast paced read.

Right now there are a lot of books with the crazed masses of mindless monsters, say that three times fast why don’t you? So why are they being used again and again as major villain in so many post apocalyptic books? Simple fact is, it works. It’s something that we fear and has now pretty much become one of the standard go-tos in apocalyptic fiction.  I for one love zombie type monsters and it is always interesting to see a writer put a new spin on them.  Here Emily McKay gives you a sort of zombie/vampire hybrid.  I don’t believe they are dead, so you wouldn’t call them zombies, and I don’t really think of them as vampires either because they aren’t dead. Instead they are just a combination of the two. It is however eluded to that they came about because of some genetic tampering with vampire DNA.  I thought calling them Ticks was a good choice in monster names.  You immediately connect the word ticks with blood and of course everyone thinks those suckers are disgusting, so voila – instant ick factor before they even make an appearance.

The Farm is told from an alternating POV of twins Lily, Mel and another key character Carter; with the start of each chapter designating whose POV it is. The majority of the book is told from Lily’s perspective, then the other larger portion from Carter’s. I am sad to say we get very few chapters from Mel’s perspective. That was my main gripe was that I wanted more of Mel. I liked the sparks between Lily and Carter and they felt believable. So kudos there because I am very picky with my romance elements in YA fiction.

Now, the premise is that after the outbreak of Ticks all teenagers have been rounded up and placed on “farms” for their own protection but also collection of their blood. Life on the farms is hard for these teens who have to donate blood much more frequently than is healthy, with only pregnant girls and enforcers known as “Collabs” being exempt from donation. It is essentially prison life with death threats looming in the form of your 18th birthday.  Not to mention you could possible be staked outside the fence and left for the Ticks for even the smallest transgression.

Lily has spent her whole life protecting her autistic sister, so now after 6 months on the farm, she is determined to get the two of them out by any means necessary.  This is a story of love, sacrifice, acceptance and a whole helluva lot of naivete. I’m actually being nice by just calling her naive – because Lily had some supreme moments of stupidity that I just wanted to face punch her for. I found myself wondering all too frequently just how far that girl could get her head up her arse. But hey we needed room for character growth right? And she does grow a lot.

I seriously enjoyed The Farm. The supporting cast was great and the action definitely kept such a pace that I didn’t want to put it down for long. I really like where I think this series is headed and am already diving into the next book. Lovers of YA post apocalyptic fiction can’t go wrong here.

The Farm

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• A copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own. Please note that this post also contains affiliate links. To view our full Blog Policy, click here.

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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17 Responses to “Review: The Farm by Emily McKay”

  1. Tabitha the Pabkins

    FOr those of you that read the comments – I was googling for book trailers and I found this one of a small indie film called “THE FARM” – it seems like a zombie movie. Nothing to do with the book though.