11 January, 2012

Virals - Review

Virals by Kathy Reichs & Brendan Reichs (Read by Cristin Milioti)
Publication date: 11 November 2010 by Penguin Audio

ISBN 10/13: 0142428167 | 9780142428160

Category: YA Adventure/Suspense
Keywords: Adventure, suspense, murder, cold case, science experiment
Format: Hardcover, paperback, eBook, audiobook

From goodreads:

Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage "sci-philes" who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.

As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer's scent.

Fortunately, they are now more than friends they're a pack. They are Virals.

Thuy's Review:

I picked up this audiobook before a road trip to see my parents. I wasn’t really sure what to expect with the story, having never read any of Kathy Reichs’s other books which include the popular series on which the television show “Bones” is based on. I’d seen a few episodes of “Bones” so I was familiar with it but had no real expectations for this YA spin-off except to, hopefully, be entertained for a few hours.

Our heroine, Tory Brennan is a breath of fresh air. She’s smart, sarcastic and is a science lover. Though pretty, Tory doesn’t put much stock in her looks and is more interested in bones and science experiments than the latest fashions. Though there’s a bit of romance, the main focus of the book is really the mystery and the relationships between Tory and her friends. They really are a pack, their individual quirks adding together to make a great team. They all have distinct personalities and are funny, intelligent and strange.

There is a paranormal element in the book, but it is very light. I think it will probably play a much larger role as the series continues. It does get a little weird later on in the book when Tory starts referring to her friends as “Virals!” instead of their names. There didn’t seem to be much point to it but I learned to ignore it after a little while.

The book also has a great murder mystery plot. There’s something inherently sad and creepy about cold cases and I got caught up trying to unravel the mystery along with Tory and her friends. I did find it a little hard to believe that four teens could uncover so much and break into so many places without getting caught but hey, it’s a book, and a fun one at that. There’s even a super cute wolf dog for all the animal lovers out there.

The narrator of the audiobook is very believable as the 14 year old heroine. I did have some issues with the musical cues in the program. There were some very cheesy sounding special effects whenever any of the Virals would “flare” that had me cringing. Totally unnecessary and annoying.

Overall, I had a good time listening to this book. The fast paced story kept me guessing until the very end and I really liked the science aspect of it. A promising start to a new series--Virals is an action packed adventure that’s sure to entertain.

Visit the author online at http://kathyreichs.com/ and follow @KathyReichs on Twitter


  1. Audiobooks can be a win or lose with me. I've only listened to a few for that reason. I have heard about this book though and it sounds pretty good. Great review!

  2. thanks for stopping by, giselle! i had a fun time listening to this book. yes, audiobooks can definitely be hit or miss. a narrator can totally kill or make a book.

  3. There's a sequel, too--it's about pirates. Thanks for the review!

    1. pirates? uh oh - i may have to check that out. :)