It's been over two years since I last read this book, and re-reading it reignited my love for the series. Most kids would agree that they grew up with Harry Potter, but I guess I am a late bloomer because I didn't start really growing up until I picked up the GONE series.
The kids in the FAYZ have been beaten, starved, and lied to, all they need now is a plague to help them cough their lungs out. Perfect, don't you think? Every time I read a book in this series, I'm still amazed at the things Michael Grant writes. He isn't afraid to put controversial things down in his stories, and PLAGUE stayed true to that. The struggles these characters go through are much more than physical; it's not always about who can throw the farthest, or jump the highest. I think that's what a lot of books, particularly in YA, lacks. Other books are always about that one special character who can do things others can't; The Chosen One. Those books are the reason why I usually despise main characters; they just feel so unrealistic. Michael Grant, on the other hand, appears to put Sam in the hero spot during the two earlier books, but as the series progresses on, the readers realize he is not invincible anymore. Instead, other characters like Edilio, Jack, and my personal favourite, Albert, begins to outshine Sam. That's probably what I enjoyed the most in this book - the depth of the "secondary characters."
Another thing I really loved about this book was how everything was so interwoven. Plots that appeared separate slowly converged and become one. It made this book unpredictable. Even when there are so many post-apocalyptic books out there, this book remained fresh and unconventional. That in itself deserves 5 stars. (And I still cannot believe Michael Grant doesn't plan out his books in advance. Like what?! What kind of sorcery is this?!)
Two characters impressed me the most in this book. One won't be a surprise. I loved her ever since GONE because I knew her story would never be dull. Who am I talking about? Only the most intricate, more-layers-than-a-wedding-cake Diana. She has always shown to be one step ahead of most people in the previous books, but she has never appeared as brave to me. Until PLAGUE rolled along, that is. I seriously cannot wait to read her storyline in FEAR!
The other character is Charles Merriman, better known as Orc. While reading this book, I genuinely felt bad for Orc. For some reason, I kind of related him to a 90 year old grandpa who is on the verge of dying. You know, when your body slowly breaks down, and you want nothing more but to end it? On top of that, Orc felt isolated, misunderstood and a burden to everyone. To me, his story is as sad as that scene in Up. You know the scene I am talking about. It doesn't have the same backstory to it, but the feeling I got was still the same. I so desperately wanted to help Carl and Ellie but deep down, I knew it was a cartoon and I can't do anything. Same thing happened with Orc, and I felt a deep sadness and helplessness.
If you provide me with water and food, I think I can go on for days, just talking about all the things I loved about this book. But alas, life can't be perfect. I would like to conclude by saying: this book, like the rest of the series, has great re-read potential. This is simply due to the amount of details and number of plotlines thrown within this book. There is no way someone can remember it all with just one read-through. The only other time I've seen so much attention of details and connectivity is in the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima. When you sit back and think about it, a YA, sci-fi, post-apocalyptic book has enough world, plot and character development as an epic fantasy book, you know that's high quality reading right there.