Review: Virals, by Kathy Reichs


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.

I have a confession to make: while I’ve read several of the Temperance Brennan novels by Kathy Reichs, it’s the TV show Bones I really like. There’s something about the camaraderie of the characters on the show that’s really appealing to me.

And, as I’ve mentioned before (in one of my first reviews on this blog, actually!), I’m not particularly fond of the gothic damsel-in-distress style that Reichs sometimes uses in the Brennan series. Personally, I think even one “had I but known …” is one too many, and the Brennan books tend to have more than just one.

But I couldn’t resist the premise behind Virals. A group of teenagers who catch a virus that turns them into wolves? Beautiful!

I’m happy to say, Reichs writes with a very authentic YA voice in Virals – and there’s not a single “had I but known” in sight, thank goodness. The novel gripped me from the start – I read it in ebook format, first on my iPhone, and then the concluding chapters on my iPad (with too long a stretch in between due to work deadlines).

Tory is a great character. She’s sure of herself, but not sure of herself, in that lovable way that’s true of many of the teenagers I know. She’s smart and quick-thinking. And funny.

The team she forms with her three friends is a true team. I found myself rooting for them from the very beginning. And there’s a lot of smart-ass, make-you-smile dialogue, the kind of conversations that, if you live with teenagers, make you nod your head and say to yourself, “Now, didn’t I hear that just the other day?”

My only problem with Virals came at the end. I would have preferred a different ending, with the “villain” of the place acting in a smarter, more credible way. Still, it was a galloping good read, the kind of novel that’s really difficult to put down.

And yes, I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel.

13 thoughts on “Review: Virals, by Kathy Reichs

  1. bermudaonion (Kathy)

    I got hooked on the Tempe Brennan books when we lived in Charlotte and really enjoy them. I’ve been excited about this title and am even more so after reading your review. I didn’t know Tempe’s niece is a character in the book.

  2. Laura @ I'm Booking It

    I like the Tempe Brennen books, although I haven’t read any since I started watching Bones– it’s hard to think of them as related.

    I also enjoyed Virals, and thought the characters were great! I didn’t like the overall plot quite as much as you did, and had the same problem with the ending.

    Still, I’ll probably pick up the sequel as well!
    .-= Laura @ I’m Booking It´s last blog ..Review- The Christmas Cookie Club by Ann Pearlman =-.

  3. Beth F

    I my have to give this a try. We are watching BONES season 1 — yes, very behind the times. I love the premise, etc., but with the 1/2-hour format, we feel everything gets resolved too quickly. I haven’t read any of the books yet.

  4. Margot Kinberg

    Thanks for this review! I actually like the show Bones, too, although I am not what you’d call a regular watcher. I do like it when an author tries something a little different – I think it stretches the author a bit.
    .-= Margot Kinberg´s last blog ..The Thin Veneer =-.

  5. rhapsodyinbooks

    I have always been impressed that Reichs jumps on whatever book theme trend is out there and uses it for her stories. And the result is always at least in the good if not fantastic range!

  6. Rural View

    Strangely I’ve never read any of this author’s books, but we never miss an episode of “Bones.” I love the characters on the show; each is unique and yet they blend into a great team because they care about the victims and each other so much.
    .-= Rural View´s last blog ..1893 Worlds Fair- Chicago =-.

  7. Dorte H

    I have not tried any of the books yet, but my daughters watch ´Bones´ and have persuaded me to buy the first ones. My older daughter grabbed the omnibus (has not finished it yet) and seems to like it though I can hear she has found some crime clichés in it.
    .-= Dorte H´s last blog ..E-Book Resources =-.

  8. Pingback: “Virals” by Kathy Reichs | MCLibrary

    1. Belle

      I hope so! I haven’t seen a release date yet, but the book definitely reads like the first in a series, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.


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