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The Farm by Emily McKay

The Farm (edition 2012)

by Emily McKay

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1791866,229 (3.71)21
Title:The Farm
Authors:Emily McKay
Info:Berkley Trade (2012), Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:science fiction, young adult, horror, post-apocalyptic, paranormal

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The Farm by Emily McKay



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*Spoilers clearly marked.

Read that synopsis. Read it. Sounds awesome, no? Killer humanoid ticks. Humans herded like livestock. Vampires. Harrowing escape. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Unfortunately, the execution was mehrp. Awful. Awful. Awful. Awful. Another creative, super-cool, and unique idea bites the dust. Boo.

See, I wanted some of this:

some of this:

and a lot of this:

Instead, I got a very boring and angst-y clusterfuck of bad. I can’t say it was too predictable, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing. It was unpredictable, because the storyline was outlandish. Every time you got comfortable with the story and where it was headed, you’d get a huge infodump completely changing the rules of the world.

The Farm is like a bootleg Inception. It’s a shitty concept within a shitty concept within an awesome concept. It’s not like Inception in that it wasn’t good.

The MC. UGH. The horrid MC. (Goes back to check what her name was, because who cares?) Lily. That annoying, stupid, argumentative, little twit. I wanted her to die SO badly. I don’t know if I’ve ever read a character who argues and bickers as much as Lily. She argued every single insignificant move they all had to make. Every one. Without fail. There were pages and pages of bickering about decisions. As a writer, if you feel the need to tag all the other characters as frustrated or exasperated when talking to your MC, you should probably do something about your shitty MC! Lily was portrayed as being tough and able to take care of herself, but she would never follow directions and she always did the dumbest shit – like run headlong into danger. Carter, the “love interest”, even says something along the lines of “You’re just going to run headlong into danger without a plan or backup?”

If your secondary character says something like that to your MC, then you as a writer KNOW that your MC is a douchebucket. Why would you purposefully make your MC a douchebucket? I just don’t get it. Don’t you want people to like her? Blah.

Okay. Sigh. This review is as painful to write as this book was to read.

Alright. Let's continue.

Carter – The asshole “love interest”. Who isn’t a love interest. But is a love interest. But isn’t. Yeah. I’m confused, too. This dude shows up and worships the ground Douchebucket walks on, despite spending 95% of the time bickering with her. It doesn’t matter what about. He says, “We have to go left.” She’ll argue they have to go right. He’ll say, “If we do such-and-such thing, we’ll die.” She’ll argue that they have to do it anyway. It goes on and ON and ON and ON AND ON, until YOU want to die. It was infuriating. It didn’t matter what he said. You knew that one second later she would disagree and then PAGES of bickering would ensue. FFFFMMMMLLLL.

I wish, so badly, that I could spoil the shit outta this book (without a spoiler tag) and tell you about the asshole move this frikkin asshole Carter pulled on the douchebucket. I hate the douchebucket, but even I had to jump on her side after this. Unfortunately, my conscience gets in the way and there is no way to skirt around the asshole move without spoiling it. So here it is, tagged: This motherfucker had the BALLS to tell the douchebucket that he knew the only reason he fell for her was because she had some kind of superpower that worked like coercion. In other words, “I love you, Douchebucket - even though it’s only because you’re coercing me to with your freaky mind powers that you know nothing about. But I love you. So much. Though, not of my own doing. I love you.”

He literally told her that he knew this was true, because when he first saw her, he knew he could never be attracted to her. He knew he was out of her league, so for him to have fallen for her, there must be some paranormal mind powers at play.
He said these things. To her.

Then, he adds insult to injury. They later realize that it’s Douchebucket’s sister who has the mind powers, so Douchebucket couldn’t have coerced Asshole to love her. Instead of thinking, “Gee. I must love her of my own volition!”, he insists that her sister must have wanted them to get together, so of course it was she who coerced him to love Douchebucket.

Fuck you, Asshole, for making me feel for Douchebucket.

Moving on - because I’ve run out of tables. This book sucks. The action it did have wasn’t bad, but it was so sparsely strewn about, that it could never satisfy someone who goes into it mostly for the vamps or ticks, like I did. It’s 60% angst and “wuv” (barf), 30% bickering (plucks own eyes out), and 10% hardcore tick action (if ya know what I mean).

Here’s the kicker, though (serenity now). This book did suck, but the next one shows slight promise, simply because of something that happened to Douchebucket’s sister at the very end. Her sister was pretty cool. I actually liked her.

I don’t know if I’ll read it, but I might feel compelled to skim it at the library.. Curse my insatiable curiosity.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog:

( )
  JennyJen | Aug 14, 2014 |
Really enjoyed The Farm, its a gritty, scary vampire Dystopian book. The Ticks are horrible and well described. Cant wait to see what happens next. ( )
  BookLoversLife | Apr 24, 2014 |
Scary vampires are back. As much as I wanted to love this book, to really get into it, I couldn't. As much as I wanted to love the characters, I couldn't. I couldn't relate to any of them, and I really hate that. This book had the potential to be awesome, and it just wasn't. I couldn't get into the book, couldn't stay in it, and couldn't keep my interest on it. As much as I love books like this, I just didn't love this one. Lily and her identical twin Mel, are living in an old abandoned college. They live in a small closet of one of the classrooms, and try to stay there as much as they can. They live on a farm. Not the regular farm you'd think of, nice and pretty, but a farm that breeds human's for the 'Ticks' that live around the farm. Breeders are girls that don't want to feed the ticks, so they purposely get pregnant so they don't have to. Apparently the vampires that live around the farm don't like the pregnancy hormones. Crazy, right? It was a good story, but I couldn't get into it. The characters were interesting, but not interesting enough. I don't know what else to say about it. I'm glad I'm done reading it, because I don't have to read it again.

Thanks for reading, check out my blog! :D

radioactivebookreviews.wordpress.com ( )
  aurora.schnarr | Feb 21, 2014 |
The Farm is set in the future. The United State (maybe the world) has fallen into chaos. A virus has been unleashed that turns people into monsters. They call them Ticks. Ticks are like a cross between zombies and vampires and a wild animal. They don't eat your brains, but rather your beating heart. The virus either kills you or turns you into these monsters. And for some reason the Ticks are drawn to teenagers. So the teens are gathered and put into farms to be kept safe from the Ticks. But the Farms are not what they seem to be. Not only that, but Lily and Mel have attracted the attention of someone else.

Lily is a teenager living on one of the Farms along with her sister Mel. Lily knows something is not right with what is going on. So she plans to escape, with her sister, to Canada. Lily and Mel are twins but Mel is autistic. Even though Mel is capable, she still needs assistance from Lily. And the only people they can count on is each other. That is until Carter shows up.

This story is told through three different perspectives: Lily, Mel, and Carter. I found this to be interesting. Especially from Mel's point of view. She doesn't see the world like everyone else. She seems more intuitive than most people, but her autism makes it hard to communicate her feelings. I do wish Emily McKay would have spent more time in Mel's mind. Lily's character frustrated me at times. She's stubborn and once she gets her mind set, she won't listen to reason and does what she wants despite advice to do otherwise.

The story line is pretty exciting. It's very action-packed. In a way it reminded me of The Hunger Games. Not so much for the story line but for the intense, nail-biting scenes. I found myself glued to the pages as the story unfolded. This is not my usual type of read, but I'm glad I took a chance and read it. Because if not, I would have missed out on quite a story.
Read more at http://www.2readornot2read.com/2013/11/review-farm-by-emily-mckay.html#vT2YDiQVz... ( )
  mt256 | Dec 4, 2013 |
This review was originally posted at The Book Pushers. http://thebookpushers.com/2013/01/15/review-the-farm-by-by-emily-mckay/comment-p...

In a world where humans are infected by a virus that infects and mutates them into beings called Ticks, Lily and her autistic sister, Mel are interned in camps otherwise known as Farms. This is to ensure young people and children are kept safe from the Ticks who have overtaken the country and only pockets of resistance or Farms are the safe havens from the marauding bloodsucking mutants. However, living in a Farm is not safe and has its own dangers, such as breaking the rules which could lead to punishment by death by the Ticks, and rumours of disappearances and unknown fates when teens reach eighteen. Yet the real horror is that every person must donate blood to keep the Ticks at bay, despite these farms are supposedly safe places for children and teens. But Lily is not willing to find out that fate since she and her twin Mel, are approaching eighteen and plan to escape. But when an old crush, Carter, from her past appears in the Farm. Lily wonders if she is able to trust him or if he is a collaborator with people who run the Farm, but to survive she may have to trust him with her and Mel’s life because time is running out.

The Farm, is definitely one of the most haunting and desolate settings I’ve read, not because of its premise although that definitely adds to the atmosphere but its main strength is that of the narration of Lily and her sister Mel, which really reflects their stark situation. It was also beautifully written, and I really got sucked into the prose, especially Mel’s which was poetic and almost musical with its tone, because of her autism, she could only communicate in nursery rhymes. And that really gave the book a chilling overtone, because of the rhymes imagery mirrored to what was going on in a creepy way. I have to say Mel’s character and narration was my favourite because it is difficult to illustrate her disability especially in a tense and dark setting like The Farm. Emily McKay shined in her prose in the way she presented her character, and I loved her POV because it was insightful and beautifully written and just fantastic characterisation. I looked forward to her chapters even though they were brief at times because she really pushed forward the plot as well as being one of the most interesting characters in the book.

The book is also narrated in Carter’s POV which is in the third person while Lily and Mel’s narration is in the first person. And this was effective in showing the romantic sub-plot which I was kind of wary because of the old crush coming to the rescue trope. But I enjoyed how the romantic sub-plot developed and especially how it tied in with the wider plot of the resistance group (which Carter is a part of) and the origins of the Ticks.

I found Carter to be likeable and resourceful, and I liked his interactions with Lily and how he gave her space and time to trust him after he was forced to make his move to save her and Lily from danger. But I also liked that the romantic element didn’t overpower the main plot which is a trope that tends to be common in a lot of YA dystopians. But the romance between Carter and Lily was developed organically, and I liked how it ended up in the book which I look forward to see how it pans out in the sequel.

Alongside Carter there is also a vampire called Sebastian, who is also part of his rebel group although his intentions and desires are for more selfish reasons which is why he has teamed up with the human resistance. The vampire mythology had an interesting and unique approach and while Sebastian is seen to be a traditional type of vampire and is ancient – his race is tied to the Ticks’ evolution.

Nonetheless there were elements that was quite weak in the book, because I wished there was more explanations on the vampires and how the humans succumbed so quickly. I was not keen on the concept of an Abductura (which is an empathic human who can shape and project emotions onto others) who is behind the collapse of human society because they helped to control its disintegration. Lily is also regarded by Sebastian and Carter as one and hopes she can help their cause in the resistance because she can counteract the other Abductura who is working with the enemy. I think the idea of one Abductura managing to manipulate such a large scale of collapse and in such a short period didn’t make much sense and wasn’t believable to me. But I hope this gets expanded more in the sequel, because overall this was heart-stopping and chilling read. And even though this was a niggle, I really liked the characterisation especially that of Mel and Sebastian, who despite being predatory and cold was very charismatic and intriguing because he added touch of danger even though he is an ally. And I really like the hint of the dynamic that he shared with Mel, which towards the end of the explosive climax in the book promises to be really interesting.

Overall, The Farm is a tense and eerie read, with engaging protagonists and beautiful poetic prose. Due to this I was immersed into the story, and inhaled this book within a day. Although there were issues, I found the characters and the plot to be rich and well rounded and it made the premise memorable and it definitely stood out for me in a time where so many dystopians and post apocalyptic books are around.

I give The Farm a solid B! ( )
  Has_bookpusher | Sep 20, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
This was a great book! McKay has mast fully used multiple points of view to enhance the story and develop characters that are brilliant! Escaping the farm is only the beginning of this wild ride!
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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.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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