Sunday, May 13, 2012

Revived by Cat Patrick

Daisy Appleby is dying again. This time it is an anaphylactic reaction to a bee sting that will kill her. But she's not worried. Not really because Daisy knows she can be revived. Again.

So begins Revived by Cat Patrick.

Daisy McDaniel was an orphan who died in a bus crash in Beven, Iowa, eleven years ago, along with twenty others. As part of a special government program, a new experimental drug, Revive, was used on all the children who died in the crash. Fourteen of the so-called "bus-kids" were brought back to life and live under assumed names now. Daisy is one of them, but she has died four times since the accident and been brought back to life again each time. Daisy's problems are an allergy to bees and a tendency to be careless.

Her "parents" are government agents named Mason, who fronts as a psychologist, and Cassie, a stay-at home mom. They relocate Daisy to the midwest, Omaha, Nebraska, providing her with a new identity, so she continue her life without anyone being suspicious. Daisy starts the new school year at Omaha Victory High School where she meets Matt and Audrey McKean. She forges a close friendship with Audrey and a blossoming relationship with Matt, whom she falls hard for.

However things become complicated when Daisy learns that Audrey is dying of liver cancer. She inexplicably decides to tell Matt about the Revive drug even though it can't be used to help Audrey. This creates tension between them because Matt wants Daisy to help Audrey and Daisy knows she cannot do this.

But the real tension develops when Daisy digs deeper into the Revive program and learns some disturbing things about the head figure of the program, nicknamed "God" because of the power he wields. She begins to question the purpose of the program, the decisions about who gets the drug, and the ethics of trying the drug on someone who might have otherwise been saved by conventional medical intervention. Her investigating doesn't go unnoticed and soon Daisy is on the run from "God" who is not as friendly and caring as Mason and others believe.

While Revived has an interesting idea behind it, overall I was disappointed with this novel. The idea that the FDA would run a covert experimental drug program seemed implausible. It is unlikely that government agents such as Mason and Cassie would have a lab in the basement of an unsecured home, with samples of an experimental drug with so much potential and far-reaching consequences,  at their fingertips and available to Daisy or anyone. It also seemed very unlikely that Daisy as a 15 year old minor,  would be given access to such sensitive information and be allowed to easily access it any time she wished.

I didn't like the nomenclature used to describe the Revive drug experiment either. The mastermind behind the program was called "God" and the agents were known as "The Disciples" while those who were revived were called "Converts". This seemed unimaginative.

Meanwhile, it's no surprise that "God" turns out to be a malevolent character, with psychopathic tendencies and a lisp. 

I also felt at times that Revived tried too hard to be trendy, dropping references to TOMS, the band Arcade Fire which was hot about a year ago, and having a token transgendered character.

Matt and Daisy's relationship was the one redeeming feature of the book. Matt was a likable character and his concern for his sister made him seem genuine and caring. If Patrick had focused more on the human element of the story rather than on the action/suspense element, a more interesting novel would have been the result.

There is no doubt though that Revived has a imaginative, fascinating cover which piques the reader's interest in this novel. It's unfortunate the novel doesn't live up to its potential.

Book Details:
Revived by Cat Patrick
New York: Little, Brown and Company 2012

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