Author: Sophie Littlefield (her website)
Release: October 2010
Sixteen-year-old Hailey Tarbell can't wait for the day she'll leave Gypsum, Missouri, far behind, taking only four-year-old Chub, the developmentally-delayed little boy her cruel drug-dealing grandmother fosters for the state money. But when a freak accident in gym class leaves a girl in critical condition, Hailey feels drawn to lay her hands on the injured girl and an astonishing healing takes place. Before Hailey can understand her new powers, a beautiful stranger shows up...just in time to save her and Chub from hired killers. A desperate race begins, with Hailey as the ultimate prize: there are those who will stop at nothing to harness her gifts to create an undefeatable army of the undead. Now it is up to Hailey and a small but determined family of healers to stand up to the unbelievable and face the unthinkable.
**Technically there are no spoilers, just a lot of talking about detail, but just to be safe: spoiler alert?
In a nutshell, Banished was an interesting read. Hidden and unknown powers. Evil scientist. Zombies. It was a nice turn from vampire and fallen angel books (not that I don't love those either way). One thing I enjoyed most from the story was the background story of how Healers and the Banished came to Gypsum. It gave a history that seemed to enhance the legitimacy of the story and make it more believable, even if it was fiction.
Other that that, I think what I found the most intriguing about the books is the author's descriptions. Not only with the characters, though. It was easy to imagine a lot of things that happened, but there was one thing that really stuck to me and that was the zombies. Her discription of the zombie like things near the ends was repulsive, which, though it might not sound like a compliment, it is. I felt like I could hear the way their brittle and decaying bone's broke near the end. I could imagine in vivid detail the way their skin sagged on their face with a gruesome green or purple tinge. I'm shuddering just thinking about it.
The whole time the author describe it, I felt as if I could feel, smell, hear and see everything she wrote down. I mean, yes, most writers, if not all, can capture and write down what they see in their head in vivid detail, but I've read a few zombie-like books and none have captured this sort of detail easily. What's more amazing is the fact that the zombie things aren't an entirely huge piece in the book, they come in near the end. And, yet, the author was still able to grasp all that detail and shove it into those last few chapters.
To begin the characters, I will start with the main protagonist: Hailey. She learned how to deal with life a long time ago. She's independent and sort of a loner but she's tough. She's a natural Healer, even though she never knew what she was and she learns to accept it. But out of everything, the trait I appreciate most about Hailey is that she is the kind of person that would do anything and everything for the ones she loves.
Which is where Chub comes in. Four years old and as adorable as a button, he's the only thing that keeps Hailey from leaving Gypsum. There's not really a lot more to say about him since he's only a toddler, though.
Now, there's Gram. She's basically the guardian of Chub and Hailey, not that she actually acts like it. She spends her days drunk and selling drugs from her basement. She's one of the main reasons that Hailey can't leave town without her stepbrother. Basically, Gram is a horrible old hag. Litterally.
The only person who could possibly be worse would be Rattler. Just the name make everyone shudder in fear. Sadly, there's a twist at the end including him that will make your jaw drop through the floor.
Luckily, there are a few people who are actually good.
Prairie is one of those people, she's also the aunt everyone wants. Being sweet and kind, it's sort of surprising how well she can lay out a roundhouse kick when she needs to. Sadly, her life is haunted by her sisters death and by her ex who would do anything to get her powers. Either way she is one of my favorite characters in this book.
Kaz has grown up knowing Prairie as family even though they really weren't. I see Kaz is sweet and determined but I can't talk too much about him because of the fact that he and his mother don't come into the book until the end.
Now, to the main antagonist. Bryce. He is the aforementioned evil scientist... and Prairie's ex. The sad thing, like many others before him, he thinks his work is for the greater good but really it's in humane and wrong.
Whoa, that's a boat load of characters. Anyway, most of these people have a lot more to them, but I'd be risking accidentally revealing to much of the book before anyone could get their hands on a copy if I said more.
Well, now, because of this book's amazing zombie details, it's plot, characters and legit background of the Healers and the Banished, I will give it a solid rating of an A.
Warning, this book is not for the weak stomached but highly recommended for anyone who can handle it and anyone who likes paranormal and supernatural books.
**the warning is sarcasm so don't take it too seriously. There's a good chance that everyone can handle what this book has to deal out. Enjoy!