I just finished reading Glory (by Devin O'Branagan) the other day.
It's a YA book dealing with a pandemic and a conspiracy by a group that is intent on culling the human population.
Glory is a 17 year old girl, who has recently taken up photography. There has been a pandemic plague that has interrupted her life, and killed thousands of people. Neighbors have black items of clothing on their front doors that signify death in the family. Near the beginning of the book, there is a family tragedy that is alluded to, it's not til much later that you find out what happened - and that it happened when Glory was 6 or 7 and yet she feels bad, because she couldn't stop the tragedy.
Her father is a painter, and Glory's mother is a scientist who has been working on a cure for this mysterious "plague" which has been killing thousands of people. The book starts out with Glory taking care of her father, who has been taken ill and she falls ill with fever also. In a haze, she sees her mother come home and give her some medicine, which cures her pretty fast. It's good that it's fast, because almost immediately people arrive to take her mother. Glory goes into hiding with her dog, Hallelujiah (Hallie for short).
Glory has been gifted with a quest by her mother. Find the rest of her mom's research team (they've had to go into hiding) and give them a sample of her blood - as she is now the only one in the world with immunity to the pandemic plague.
Glory ends up traveling with a few other "kids" who turn out to be a vampire, an angel and a witch - as well as her dog who seems to have extra-superb instincts (well, the dog IS an Australian Sheppard).
Glory and her newfound friends have many, many obstacles to get through in order to find the missing research team. This quest takes them to a witch community, to a horse ranch, danger from crazy vampires and through all this they have to avoid this mysterious group that wants them to fail, and seems to have a lot of supernatural power.
I really enjoyed the plot and the side characters of Glory. A couple of them were a bit sullen in a teen-ager angsty way, but this book is about teen agers after all - supernatural teens, (except for Glory) but teens nonetheless. There are lots of emotions being bandied about - love, jealousy, a feeling of deja-vu, deep friendships and disappointments. Glory and each of her guardian friends have to learn some type of lesson.
The one thing that kind of stuck out for me, was the almost too formal language of Glory herself. She didn't sound like a 17 year old girl - either in her speech with others or her internal dialogue (the book is in first person). Glory sounded like an older romance author (not the newer romances either, the older ones, with the flowery language.) I would have enjoyed certain parts of this book much more if Glory had sounded like a teen. I've noticed this with a few of the YA writers that I've read - their characters do not read or sound like teens, they almost sound like formal professors or even almost-poets. Other than that, I liked the twists and turns this story took.
The "love Connections" between Glory and her interests, as well as a few other characters were a bit heavy on the mushy-gushy - but I imagine that some teens would enjoy that. I'm a bit old and jaded for this type of gush feelings (unless I'm thinking about my grand-children - LOL) so I don't think I can really judge too much of the lovey-dovey stuff.
All in all - this story was pretty good. There were little bits and pieces of geographical interest, and legends that were fun to read about. I never noticed any grand info-dumps, which is good - some books almost seem like a lecture in disguise. Glory's character went through a lot, and didn't seem to resist admitting any mistakes or even childish feelings. The underlying message that I got out of the story was that no matter the age, anyone could push themselves beyond their limits to help others. That's a pretty good message for teens (and some of us older jaded folks).
Glory is just the beginning - there will be other books chronicling Glory and her friends fighting "the good fight".
2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge