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Monday, April 16, 2012

'Revived' by Cat Patrick

 Received from the Publisher

From the BLURB:

As a little girl, Daisy Appleby was killed in a school bus crash. Moments after the accident, she was brought back to life.

A secret government agency has developed a drug called Revive that can bring people back from the dead, and Daisy Appleby, a test subject, has been Revived five times in fifteen years. Daisy takes extraordinary risks, knowing that she can beat death, but each new death also means a new name, a new city, and a new life. When she meets Matt McKean, Daisy begins to question the moral implications of Revive, and as she discovers the agency’s true goals, she realizes she’s at the center of something much larger—and more sinister—than she ever imagined.


Daisy Appleby has just died . . . for the fifth time.
And now she’s coming back . . . for the fifth time.
Daisy Appleby is no more. Now she is Daisy West, and the cycle begins all over again.

Daisy’s life really only began after it ended. She was a part of the horrendous 2001 ‘bus crash on Highway 13’. You probably saw the telemovie based on the accident which killed all of the 20 Brown Academy children on board, and their driver. Except not everyone died. Fourteen children ‘survived’ the crash thanks to a drug called Revived. The children of the Highway 13 bus crash were the drug’s first real test subjects – those who did not have injuries too severe to recover from were given a dosage of Revive and were bought back to life . . .  and they have been coming back ever since.

Daisy is fifteen now and has died and Revived five times. Her latest cause of death is bee-sting, and now she has to leave her old identity in Frozen Hills behind and begin again in Nebraska, Omaha. Always accompanying Daisy are her ‘handlers’ – Mason has been with her since she was first Revived, and he is the only real father she has ever known (even before the accident she was an orphan, raised by nuns). Daisy’s newest handler is Cassie, who poses as her mother (even though they’re quite close in age).

Mason and Cassie work by the word of ‘God’ – the man behind the Revive project who keeps the test subjects hidden in plain sight, and continues their medical evaluations to track the progress of Revive. Revive is not yet available to the public – it is still a top-secret government secret . . .  and ‘God’ intends to keep it that way until further tests are carried out on the longevity of the program and its subjects.

But when Daisy arrives in Omaha, she has the sudden urge to participate and be a regular teenager. Normally she goes under the radar at new schools – she keeps in contact with her best friend (and fellow bus crash Revival survivor) Megan, but otherwise Daisy lays low and keeps her own company. But when she arrives in Omaha, Daisy wants a proper fresh start and fully intends to give herself a regular teen experience. And then she meets Audrey, and finds in her a kindred spirit and best friend. Audrey’s brother, Matt, also provides Daisy with her first real, powerful crush. Matt is beautiful and funny, and amazingly he seems to like Daisy as more than just a friend . . .

But pretty soon Daisy struggles to fit her abnormal existence into her now normal teenage life. Daisy begins questioning Revive and its moral implications – particularly when Audrey reveals a tragic secret that provokes Daisy to rally against God’s program and everything it stands for.

‘Revived’ is the new young adult stand-alone novel from Cat Patrick.

Last year I read Cat Patrick’s incredible debut novel, ‘Forgotten’. In a time when dystopian’s, zombies and vampires are ruling the YA genre, Cat Patrick wrote an amazing coming-of-age love story centred on a quirk about foretelling and future predictions. Patrick’s novel was so refreshing because the paranormal aspect was underplayed, allowing the plot’s focus to be on the love story between Luke and London – a girl who cannot remember her past but predicts her future – and the boy who is determined to be a part of both. I fell head-over-heels in love with Cat Patrick’s storytelling, and vowed to read anything else she wrote. ‘Revived’ is her second novel, and it’s just as good as her first. . .

We meet Daisy Appleby after a bee-sting kills her for the fifth time, and she is bought back to life by a drug called Revive. We follow Daisy (now Daisy West) to Omaha, where she and her Revive program handlers are settling into a new undercover life. This is nothing new for Daisy. She has been dying and coming back to life since the bus crash that originally killed her back in 2001. She has gotten so good at packing up and leaving her old life behind, that she now has it down to a fine science. . .

Maybe it’s growing up as part of an elaborate science experiment, but I can’t leave a place without conducting a postmortem. So I spend the next few hours of the drive reshashing the past three years in Frozen Hills: a mental autopsy on Daisy Appleby by newly anointed Daisy West.

But Daisy is unprepared for what her new life in Omaha has to offer. She meets and bonds with her classmate Audrey McKean, and falls into instant lust with Audrey’s brother, Matt. And when Audrey’s sad secrets are revealed, Daisy finds herself crossing lines she never dreamed she’d cross – she starts questioning God (the genius behind Revive) and asking questions about the bus crash that first killed her.

‘Revived’ is slightly different to Patrick’s debut ‘Forgotten’ – while still remaining true to the understated sci-fi that made ‘Forgotten’ so refreshing.

In ‘Forgotten’, psychic protagonist London Lane managed her visions of the future in complete secrecy – only she and her mother knew about them, and London had little interest in sharing her predictions with the world. There was no government agency involved, no lab tests or London being on the run from a conglomerate who wanted to harness her visions. ‘Revived’ is not so understated, and in this second novel Cat Patrick is following the rather more sci-fi storylines by having Daisy be a test subject in a government program. People who may have read ‘Forgotten’ and wondered how the book would have been different if Patrick had blown London’s psychic ability out of the water will enjoy ‘Revived’ for the more conspiracy-riddled storyline.

Cat Patrick asks some really interesting questions in ‘Revived’, and has created a very complex protagonist in Daisy. Revival has completely altered Daisy’s personality and persona – death has, to an extent, defined and freed her, and her entire outlook on life is informed by a certain absence of fear;
I could tell him that I’m not exactly normal when it comes to thoughts on death. I could explain that being part of a program that makes death optional is sort of like wearing a protective suit through life. That it gives me confidence that other kids don’t have. Like when I was younger and I took swimming lessons, I didn’t bawl on the side of the pool like everyone else did because I wasn’t afraid of drowning. Sure, I didn’t want to drown – I knew what it felt like – but there was no finality about it for me.
Not wanting to die is very different from being paralysed by the fear of it.

It raises the question that if you having nothing to lose, what do you have to live for? Of course Revived cannot work miracles – those beheaded or burnt in a fire could not be Revived. Likewise, the drug cannot cure cancer – anyone already dying of cancer would not be magically fixed by Revive (although tests are constantly being carried out). And even though Daisy doesn’t have the same fear of death as other people, she has had terrifying experiences with dying. She once drowned and was bought back to life, but Daisy remembers that death being particularly awful, and she is terrified of ‘reliving’ that watery demise.

Cat Patrick has definitely written a juicy moral morsel in ‘Revived’ – something for readers to chew over as they think about the benefits and drawbacks of this life-giving drug, the moral implications and potential disasters. I was reminded of Rachel Caine’s new paranormal series ‘Revivalist’, which is all about a Big-Pharma corporation who have come up with a drug to bring people back from the dead. The two books concentrate on very different aspects of revival, but both Patrick and Caine question the Big-Pharma companies who hold such God-like play in their hands. ‘Revivalist’ is much more for grown-up’s though, and has a much bigger conspiracy plot than ‘Revived’, which has a focus on Daisy and Matt’s relationship, and Daisy’s friendship with Audrey that has her questioning God and the program that has saved her five times.

For those who read and loved ‘Forgotten’, I think ‘Revived’ will be a slight disappointment in the romantic stakes. Daisy and Matt’s romance isn’t on the same, epically sweet level as London and Luke. Don’t get me wrong – Daisy and Matt have interesting hurdles to overcome and their romance is a happy respite from the conspiracy/moral focus of the plot. But the romance in ‘Revived’ is nowhere near as tempting and tantalizing as in ‘Forgotten’. It’s a bit of having your cake and eating it too . . .  for those who wished there had been a bigger focus and questioning of the sci-fi aspects in ‘Forgotten’, Cat Patrick delivers ten-fold in ‘Revived’, but she has sacrificed the romance in this second book whereas it was a real driving force in her debut.

One other small complaint I had about ‘Revived’ was wishing that Patrick hadn’t taken the easy way out and made Daisy an orphan before the bus crash. Daisy mentions a few of the Revived bus crash ‘survivors’ who had parents who had to go ‘on the run’ with their Revived children, and I thought those storylines sounded really interesting. It just seemed (initially) like a bit of a cop-out to say that Daisy was an orphan before the crash, and it was only the nuns who missed her after her reported ‘death’.

All in all, I really enjoyed ‘Revived’ and the cunning moral conundrum that Cat Patrick has written for five-times-dead protagonist, Daisy. The romance isn’t quite on-par with Luke and London of ‘Forgotten’, and for that reason some fans may count ‘Revived’ as a small disappointment. But for me, this second novel reiterated that Cat Patrick is one new YA author to look out for.

4/5



2 comments:

  1. I have had Forgotten sitting on my bedside table for about a year! Need to read it soon seeing as there is a new book out!

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    Replies
    1. @Marg - I have to say, 'Forgotten' is a pretty spectacular book. I read it and was blown away - definitely bump that one up in your TBR pile :) I'd be interested to know what you think of it.

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