Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Apocalypse Gene

Rate this book
Global pandemic is raging.

Olivya Wright-Ono's once loving home has been converted to a hospice for the dying. Her ability to see auras forces her to witness, with agonizing detail, the vibrant colors of life consumed by malignancy.

The beautiful and troubled Mikah is an elite Empath in the ancient Kindred clan, led by the brooding, ever-morphing, monster named Prime. Mikah has learned a terrible truth . . . the plague is linked to Kindred origins. When Olivya sees evidence of disease creeping into her mother's aura, she has no one to turn to but Mikah. Can he unearth the Kindred secrets and find a cure?

Can she trust this boy whose power allows him to manipulate her very emotions? With her mother's life, and that of the world, in the balance, Olivya and Mikah embark on a quest to stop the Pandemic, only to discover it is far, far more than a mere disease . . .

251 pages, Paperback

First published July 30, 2011

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Suki Michelle

5 books54 followers
Suki is a lifelong Chicagoan who lives with her co-writer/paramour, Carlyle Clark. Together they wrote The Apocalypse Gene, a YA urban fantasy recently chosen as Critics' Pick at Kirkus. They're hard at work on the sequel, which should be out by summer 2012.

Suki owns a medical transcription company and is the proud mommy of one human girl, a dog and two cats. She had a horse for many years named Make A Wish, but he passed on to the great green meadow beyond. After earning a BFA from Kansas City Art Institute, Suki spent several years studying and teaching meditation. Her training took her to France and Israel, places she yearns to go back to some day.

When Suki isn't writing or working, chances are she'll be searching for chocolate and dreaming up horrid things to scare you with.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
38 (26%)
4 stars
39 (27%)
3 stars
28 (19%)
2 stars
19 (13%)
1 star
19 (13%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 79 reviews
Profile Image for Karin Gastreich.
Author 6 books327 followers
December 7, 2011
Olivya, a young African-American woman in a near-future Chicago, lives in a world devastated by a plague of cancer. Her mother runs a hospice, where Olivya is forced to witness the slow consumption of patients by this terrible malignancy. Olivya’s ability to see auras once painted the world in vibrant colors of light, but now only drags her into the heart of death and despair. Looking for an escape, she agrees to meet Mikah, her virtual friend and the object of an intense attraction, in person for the first time. But Mikah is bound to a world of malevolent supernatural beings, and the promise of his love brings with it an unnamable threat, not only to Olivya, but to the world she loves and desires to save.

So begins this action-packed sci fi and fantasy adventure. Michelle and Clark weave an engaging page-turner that integrates the best of both genres and leaves the reader thirsty for more. Richly imagined and beautifully delivered, this is a novel that would grace any bookshelf, and that deserves the highest recommendation.

If I must find something to complain about (and in the spirit of an honest review, I fear I must), it would be with respect to some chapters in the middle of the novel where an otherwise breathtaking pace slows substantially. In particular, Olivya’s encounter with the character Lylobriel never quite escapes the feel of data-download; as if Clark and Michelle were a little too anxious to fill the reader in on the all the details of their complex mythology, at the cost of simply telling a good story.

On a philosophical note – neither as criticism or complement, simply an observation on my part – the central argument of the novel left me a little sad. I found myself wishing that the solution to the cancer epidemic were this simple: a straightforward matter of cosmic conflict between beings beyond our understanding, as opposed to what it truly is, a reflection of the hazards of our modern lifestyle, a consequence of the slow self-poisoning of our planet that we are so reluctant to recognize.

Bravo, Michelle and Clark. I am very much looking forward to the sequel.
Profile Image for Experiment BL626.
209 reviews351 followers
December 18, 2011
CAUTION: Long Review

The Apocalypse Gene (TAG) is a work of speculative fiction. It's dystopian because the neighborhoods are community hospices where law-abiding citizens are either government-paid health caretakers or terminally ill patients. It's apocalyptic because there is an incurable plague and a looming future for the extinction of the human race. It's young adult because the main characters are teenagers. It's cyberpunk because the internet is a virtual reality world of its own. It's urban fantasy because there are angels and demons. It's science-fiction because those angels and demons are aliens from another planet. *wheeze — out of breathe* Give me a sec.

In short, TAG is a bunch of things.

TAG is told in 3rd POV, alternating between fifteen years old Olivya and seventeen years old Mikah.

The Characters

+++ Olivya

I didn't care for Olivya as a main character. I like smart-mouth kick-ass heroines, but Olivya wasn't one. Anything she said, I found immature. She knows martial art and sword art — enough to kick ass, but her ass were often kicked. She says she care about the terminally ill patients and hate for them to choose euthanasia, yet she labels them GAD — "A Good-As-Dead. A goner." — and gives them pet names like Half, Marigold, and Slim. There were alot of tellings about how Olivya care for these poor patients, but I never saw any defining scenes that shows this.

I also thought Olivya bordered on TSTL — Too Stupid To Live. Why? 1) She decides to met a boy whom she only met online without parental supervision, let alone permission. 2) She agrees to meet him in a place without people, at night, in an abandoned zoo where there are cages to make the perfect prison. 3) She chooses to walk through a place overrun with drug dealers and gangbangers to reach her destination — doesn't matter if that was the only route, she still should have known better.

Only two things that stop Olivya from being totally TSTL: she secretly took her cellphone back from her mother and carried pepper spray — although both proved to be useless in a fight scene later on. And the pepper spray was just kind of weak considering the ShivPack (what TAG called gangbangers) carried knives. Olivya was lucky they didn't carried guns.

Nevertheless, I couldn't keep thinking Olivya as a possible TSTL heroine. I know desperate times call for desperate measure, but I eye-rolled when Olivya decides to try to make a deal with Prime, a demon lord of some sort, to save her mother. And it was not like she was ignorant.
No longer exhausted, powered by adrenaline, she learned all she could cram into her head about demons, gods, and monsters. She searched the so-called Storied. Eventually, a pattern emerged. The religious stories and myths had something in common: You could make a deal with gods and demons, get them to do something beyond the power of mortals, like heal someone. Problem was, these deals never seemed to work out well, at least for the mortal.
Why would she think she would be the exception? I like how she did her research, but I did not like how she choose ignore the advice from the fruits of her research. Talk about reckless and impulsive. Even her holo-sim Ayvilo says so.

Olivya never seems to show any major character development, not enough for me to like her. Sure, she was courageous in the face of danger. But courage without wisdom is foolishness. This is not a character I can root for. =/

+++ Mikah

He was kinda emo, kinda whiny, and just overall meh. Sure, his life was harsh and lonely, but... eh. I didn't see anything impressive about him beside his good looks and telempathy power. But compared to Olivya, Mikah was an easier character to follow.

Mikah seems to have a sense of humor, I wished there were more instances of this.
[Mikah] “Would that be before or after you turn me into an emo-vamp?”
[Changarai] “Did you learn that ridiculous term from your new friend?”
[Mikah] “Um, new friend? Nah. I made it up. Emotion sucking vampire, you know?”
LOL! I love this.

+++ Avyilo and Hakim, the Holo-Sims

They were my least favorite characters, I wish they'd had died in those life-or-death scenes. Avyilo tried too hard to come off as sassy; she was just plain annoying. And Hakim... he was blandly stoic.

The familiars did played a significant role in the story, but near the end I didn't see any value in their continual survival.

+++ The Neo-Twins

They were definitely antagonist to Mikah, but their motive were confusing to me. One moment they were trying to control (or kill?) Mikah and takeover the Kindred clan, the next they're saving the world via Null Requiem which required them to self-sacrifice. I can't decide if the Neo-Twins were power-hungry villains or self-righteous nuts. I don't get them at all.

+++ Olivya's mother, "Mama"

She was my favorite character, her voice was the most distinctive whereas the other characters were not so (Changarai and Lylobriel sounded kinda the same). I like how when she says things, she means it. I like how she wasn't fool by Olivya and quickly discovered Olivya's illicit sneakout. I like how Mama didn't hesitate to inject Olivya with the Sat-Link chips — think GPS pet tracker. I just like how Mama was a no-nonsense character. And her scenes near the end, with her meeting Mikah for the first time, were very funny.

I like how the authors didn't bench Mrs. Wither-Ono as a side character, and that she continued to play a role all the way to the end. Too many YA books (at least the paranormal subgenre) often make the parents disappear into the background, especially when the stories revolves around them parents. It's kinda ironic since alot of the YA protagonists make their decisions based on their parents' influence, for good or bad. The parents should be there somewhere in the story. TAG didn't do that. No sireee and thank goodness. After all, it says so in the blurb, one of the main quests was to save Mrs. Wither-Ono.

Now if there was kick-ass heroine in this story, it was Mrs. Wither-Ono. Step aside, Olivya. Your mama is cooler.

The Jargon

There were way too many jargons for my liking and readability. Let's list them: Storied Siblings, Aether, Null Requiem, Holo-Sims, Doom Criers, GAD, Sanctorum Incunabula, Hypno-Peace, Zeroed, Telempathy, Cy-Chi, Xeraf'Yim, Pandymore, Exvolution, Aetherwahl, Aii'Vonn, Adversarii Body, Involute, Nagamaki, Indigs — there's more, but let's just leave as that.

A few of the jargons I get. GAD is acronym for Good As Dead. Holo-Sims is abbreviation for Holographic Simulation. Aether is non-elemental magic power. Telempathy is portmanteau for telepathy and empathy.

One I just got now. Cy-Chi is abbreviation for Cyber Chicago.

The other... I still don't get. What the frell is a Pandymore? O.o And is Indigs supposed to abbreviate for something? What is so special about the Sufferer of Perpetual Molt — the explanation at the end didn't make sense to me. =S

This was a major weakness of TAG, the abbreviations were never wrote out in their full unabbreviated form when these words were first introduced. The story placed too much trust on the reader's mind to get it instantly.

Moreover, the story played around too much on the namings. I think the story would have been alot better and definitely easier to read if TAG just stick with the commonly used words. Use Seraphim instead Xeraf'Yim, Heaven instead of Aii'Vonn, Adversary Body instead of Adversarii Body, Lucifer instead Lylobriel, Olivia instead of Olivya, grounded instead of Zeroed.

I believe there was nothing special added to the story by using jargons and alternative forms of name. If anything, this hindered my flow of reading and confused me. A glossary at the end of the book would have alleviated some of the confusion.

The Writing

The writing was decent. Some of it was choppy due to the overuse of jargons and weird names. Other times, it was choppy because — and I'm not 100% sure since I am not an English major — of the sentence structures. Not that the sentence structures were grammatically incorrect or anything, but it just didn't feel smooth-reading to me.

Except for one case, the spelling was perfect to me in my first reading of TAG. (That one case was "Horde what they don't want while others die for lack of those very things." on epub page 134. It should be hoard instead of horde.)

One part where I got lost in the story was when Lylobriel showed his flashbacks to Olivya explaining how the bad guys got their start on Olivya's world. There were too many angelic/alien names to follow. And it didn't helped that as a reader, I just personally dislike flashback as a storytelling method. They tend to be too long and disrupt the main action, IMO of course.

Things started to make sense to me when Mikah conversed with Changarai for the last time. It probably helped that I preferred Mikah's POV over Olivya's.

One thing TAG didn't disappoint me was the action. TAG was action-packed and this made up for the slow-pacing of Olivya's scenes. The ebook said in the author's bio that Carlyle was the main author for the fight scenes. Well, kudos to him, he did a good job. =)

The World-Building

TAG did a great job setting up the near-apocalyptic world, especially with the creepy community hospice thing. The only thing that confuses me were the angels and demons. If the angels/aliens were the good guys and the Kindred were the descendants of these angels/aliens, why did human history and mythology paint Kindred as demons?

I thought it was cool how TAG didn't use a black and white version of angels and demons, but I would have like more explanation on the Kindred. I didn't completely understand why they would look down on humans (or Indigs as TAG labeled them) yet would totally self-sacrifice their entire clan to save the world.

I also didn't understand why the gangbangers (AKA ShivPacks) didn't kill the cult followers (AKA Doom Criers) since the gangbangers seem to thrive on violence. Kinda of like how the Vikings would freely plunder and pillage women and villages because they thought Ragnarok (AKA Apocalypse) was inevitable and might as well live life however.

Not that the world in TAG was shallow — it wasn't — but there were some details that weren't explained or explained enough to my satisfaction.

The Kindle Edition Mishap or how Suki Saved the Day

On my Kindle edition, the cover-art image and the authors' photo at the end are broken. That is, those two pictures are not there where they should be.

I alerted Suki — one of the authors of TAG — to this and she very nicely gave me an epub for replacement. She had no obligation to do so, but she did it anyway. Shout-out to Suki! ^_^V

Also, the price was reduced to $2.99 — so yay!


I rate TAG 2-stars for it-was-okay. Even so, I wouldn't mind reading the sequel because the authors gave a strong impression to me that they are striving to improve. =) TAG was definitely original, no doubts about it.
Profile Image for Rain Misoa.
508 reviews70 followers
November 24, 2011
Oh wow! That ending! Can you believe it!? It was like, "Bam!" Then it was like, "Bang!" And then it was like, "BOOM!" Phew! That was a lot of action! But let me calm down now and actually give you a proper review. This book is an action-packed, edge-of-your-seat kind of read. The story was very unique and invigorating! Most of the characters are very relatable and fun to learn more about. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed the lore of this novel. There were things in here that you feel you've learned about but then the authors throw in some twists and turns of their own that leave you speechless! This was indeed a very fun, energetic read! Before I read this book, I was in a reading slump. In fact, I haven't read a book in about two months because I just wasn't in the mood to. Most books that are being written today are just not entertaining to me. It's the same story re-hashed over and over again so I just didn't feel the need to read anything. That was before the brilliant Suki Michelle contacted me and asked me if I was interested in reading her and Carlyle Clark's book, The Apocalypse Gene. When she was so kind to offer, I jumped at the chance to. I was completely sold when she said that Carlyle loves anime (and it shows! Read the book so you can see what I mean!). My goodness. I am truly grateful to them both for helping me get over my reading dilemma and for introducing me to a wonderful book!

Suki Michelle and Carlyle Clark did an amazing job at writing this book. Their writing style is top-notch! I love how they were able to work their styles together and make it balance into a nicely written novel. The style is not overly complex that you feel you need to take a breather after every sentence because it makes absolutely no sense to you... yet it's structured in a way that makes you think about what's going on in the story and what the characters should do in order to resolve the issues. I think what I enjoyed most about this novel is the story itself. It's quite different. It takes place in this sort of post-apocalyptic world where a terrible disease has spread throughout the entire world. But it doesn't end there! There's so much more to it that I can't say anything else otherwise it will spoil the whole book! Seriously, this is one of those books that I have to be very careful not to say too much or... well, you'll know what's going to happen and I don't want to ruin it for you guys~ <3 The world, the lingo, the gadgets, everything! All of it was so fascinating to me! I wish we had the technology of going to V-School and having a Holo-Sim! Those things sound awesome! (Don't know what I'm talking about? Read the book!) This dystopian book was wonderfully planned out and I am so happy I read it since dystopians are one of my favorite genres. ^_^

And now, as with all my other reviews, I shall talk about characters! We shall start with the two main heroes. The first one: Olivya. I have to be completely honest with you guys... I wasn't a fan. I felt that her character was absolutely shallow. Selfish in every way possible. I didn't like how at first, she only liked Mikah, the male protagonist, for his looks. I believe there is so much more to a person than their physical appearances and, throughout most of the book, that's the only thing she cares about. In fact, even by the end of the book, there's still some of that left. I thought that once the story progressed a bit further, she was going to go through a HUGE character development, and in some ways, she did. There was this scene where she watched over her mother and I thought, "Wow... you are actually showing responsibility and not trying to put the blame on everyone else." I felt that she finally matured. Then Mikah came back into the picture... and she commented on his appearance again. Really, Olivya? You're going to backtrack like that? *Sighs* I just was not taken in to her character. By the end of the book, I didn't find her as annoying but I still feel she needs to go through some major development before I am able to say I enjoy her. Still, she was an amazing fighter and there were times that I liked her spunk. She could be a very great character... if only she stopped being shallow. On to Mikah! I. Love. Mikah. I thought he was a great male lead! He showed actual interest in Olivya and not because she was beautiful or anything! No. It was because he liked HER. Her personality. Her fire. Her everything. Now he's someone I can enjoy! Plus, he was very intelligent, honorable, caring, sweet, fun, you name it! I love how he wanted to do whatever he could to save Olivya and the world he lived in. I really enjoyed him as a character. Olivya could learn a thing or two from him.

Side characters! I can't say too much of them because it'll ruin a lot of plot-points from the book so I will briefly touch upon a few of them. There's Mrs. Wright-Ono, Olivya's mother, and she was pretty cool. She's this no-nonsense type of mother but she could also be quite fun. I liked her a lot. Changarai, Mikah's "father" of sorts, is very loving and wise. Without him or Mikah, a lot of things about the book would make no sense to the reader! I'm grateful for them both! The Neo-Twins, Kaiman and Ash, were simply badass. Ash doesn't say much but he can knock your butt into oblivion! Kaiman... I have a crush on him. He has this... flamboyant air about him, which made me smile, but he also has this tough attitude about him. He can be quite sarcastic, too. And devious! God, I love him! XD There's Ayvilo who kinda annoyed me but I can't say why. Once you read the book, I'm sure you'll get it. I did like how she was able to wield her Nagamaki sword! That was epic! (God, I love the Japanese influence this book has!) Hakim is another character I adored! He has this elegance about him. Such a smooth, gentle, wise talker. I love him! There's Prime... and I can't say anything about him. Just know that he's cool. Then there's my favorite character: Lylobriel. Oh God! I cannot tell you how much I love him! His gentleness, his awesomeness, his... everything! I love him so much. Plus, he truly is a beautiful character. Very intelligent and wonderful and... *Swoons* ...I love him. I wish I could say more! But I can't! I will say this: Lylobriel and Morfexio are the perfect example of what friends should be like. Their relationship was the best one out of the entire book, in my opinion. (Plus, I'm a full-time yaoi fangirl so my brain totally ships them. That's right. I said it. AND I'M NOT ASHAMED OF IT!!!)

This book was a trip! The ups and downs, the craziness of what's happening in the world, the technology going out of whack, the characters losing their minds. It's all a bunch of good, entertaining fun waiting to happen. Like I said, this book is amazing. Besides that one drawback I mentioned previously, this book was such an amazing experience. Would I read it again? Of course! It was amazing and I will always want to re-visit this world that Suki Michelle and Carlyle Clark created for us. I am looking forward to the next in the series so much! After that ending and what's coming their way, how could I NOT want to read it!? I will definitely be picking up the next book whenever it is released! I want to thank the authors, once again, for giving me the opportunity to read their book. It was amazing and I truly enjoyed myself. Thank you so very much! As to all who are reading this review right now, GO GET THIS BOOK! I promise you, you will not be disappointed! You will enjoy this book a whole lot! So what are you waiting for!? GET TO READING!
Profile Image for Heidi.
1,395 reviews153 followers
January 12, 2012
Three and a half stars: A book that is a blend of dystopian, science fiction and mythology all in one!

Olivya wakes to another day of stink and death in her own home. Outside a global pandemic is raging. Healthy people are succumbing to all forms of cancer and dying within weeks. All existing cures and medicines are ineffective against the deadly disease. No one can explain why cancer is ravaging through the population. Olivya's mother to make ends meet, converted their home into a hospice care center. Now, the young teenager spends her days among those that she considers GAD= Good As Dead. The streets of Chicago are mostly deserted. People rely on the internet for all forms of social interaction. Olivya longs to run away and break free from the death but where can she go? She is burdened by a unique ability. Olivya can see auras. Her vision allows her to peek inside someone's soul and learn their true intentions. Each day her world constricts a bit more. Feeling trapped she makes a rash decision to sneak out from underneath her mother's watchful eye and meet up with her friend, Mikah from holo school. She has strong feelings for him, even though she has never met him in real life. Little does she know that things are about to change radically. Will Olivya survive the raging pandemic?

What I Liked:

*This book is unique. It marries a dystopian setting, with a science fiction plot, immersed with ancient mythological characters. This blend of genres provides a wild and crazy ride, due to the many twists and turns in this book. There is even a section where you are taken into the internet with a holograph. This novel is definitely ingenious and creative.
*I enjoyed not knowing who the good and bad guys were, until I completely read the entire book. This novel has a full cast of characters, and all of them keep you guessing as to their true intentions. I was surprised numerous times to find out a character that *I surmised was evil or good was the opposite of my initial impression. This book will keep you on your toes until the final pages.
*I enjoyed the mythological elements threaded through the story. This book relies heavily on old legends and stories. It was interesting to see a current view on some past ideas. This book is brimming with one of a kind characters and creations. I especially liked Pandymone, a living star ship, in the form of a whale.
*I was fascinated by the use of auras and the fifth energy plane. Psychic energy is an essential component of this story. I loved learning the different colors of the aura and what they represented.
*I really enjoyed delving into the computer world. It was a fun adventure for me to see the world as a character, caught in the matrix of the internet.
*This has a neat resolution, no dreaded cliffhanger but the door is left open for a continuation. I will be interested to see where the story goes from here.

And The Not So Much:

*This book from the first pages drew me into the desperate world of the dying population, plagued by cancer. I was completely absorbed in Olivya's story, but then the narration switched to Mikah's point of view. I liked Mikah but for some reason I wasn't as engrossed in his side of the story, perhaps it was just me.
*This book as I mentioned is a combination of three different genres. It is loaded with information. I found the first quarter of the book highly entertaining. The middle portion was weighed down with a load of information dumping on the reader. At times, I was a bit confused by all the characters, their complicated names, the legends and everything else. There was a lot to keep track of and I really had to focus and pay attention. Once I got past that portion, the climax and ending pick up with quick paced action. It is an exciting journey to the finish.
*Again, this might just be me,but one of the characters,Ayvilo's (a computer holograph come to life) dialect was a type of hip slang, after awhile though, it was too much and I felt it was a bit annoying. This character needs to be toned down.

The Apocalypse Gene, is a Young Adult book that steps way outside of the boundaries. It is unique and full of surprises. This book is unlike anything you have read before. Prepare for a bit of dystopian, a dash of science fiction and a splash of mythology. This book will have your head spinning. If you are wanting a book that is different, then I recommend that you check out The Apocalypse Gene. Especially since you can purchase your own ebook on amazon.com for $2.99.

Favorite Quotations:

"They kissed, and the place where their lips touched became the world, the galaxy, the universe. His mouth tasted of cinnamon and sunshine and music."

"Oh that voice so sweet. Rich like the taste of vanilla ice cream, vowels like flute music, warm carmel consonants. She could float in that voice forever and not miss a thing."

"A single beautiful word bobbed through the sea of pain like a scrap of wood from a shipwreck. He clung to it to keep from drowning. Olivya."

"Her colors reminded Olivya of the eager, waxy scent of a new box of crayons."

"What good was it to absorb droplets of negativity when the earth itself was an ocean of pain."

"For the first time in many years, with no Internet or cellphones, everyone seemed to be rediscovering and celebrating the kindness of each other's arms."
Originally posted on my blog: http://rainydayramblings.typepad.com/
Profile Image for Sandra "Jeanz".
1,164 reviews162 followers
December 20, 2011
Where did the idea for this book come from? It really is quite different, the whole Pandemic actually being some sort of ......you'll need to read to find out. One thing I have to point out which as I always say I am honest is I didn't like the references to Cancer. I would have preferred the illness/pandemic to be un-named as in my mind Cancer is a serious disease not something to be in a sci-fi fantasy book, even if a different name had been thought up for the pandemic had been made up in my mind it would have been better than using Cancer.
I liked the strong character and the beginning of the book seemed very dystopianesque and reminded me a little bit of Delirium, then it went all sci-fi with Holo-Sims and Neo-Twins and so on. I kind of felt a bit lost in the then more complicated explanations in this part of the plot of the book, but persevered and then the book began its climax to the end and the sort of complicated middle part made sense as you needed to know the bits you had thought perhaps pointless to explain the whole ending and out come in the book.
Could there be a book two, hmm, not sure I mean where do Mikah and Olivya go from here? It would have to be either a new threat, which I suppose that is what Kaiman describes near the end of the book and is setting the scene for.
I am glad I stuck with the book, I couldn't describe it as a "light" read as there's lots of myths and legends to get your head around making it a more involved read.
So would I recommend it? Yes, to the right sort of reader who wouldn't just abandon it when the reading got deeper and more involved.
The cover fits really well with the content of the book, the whole visual expectations of what Aether would look like as it is described so well in the book.
Will I look out for a book 2 ....hmmm.......yes i would definitely take a look at the blurb to see where the story was to go next and then probably want to read it too.
And 3/5 Stars is good from me as I am somewhat "tight" and don't give lots of stars easily!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Sheena at Hot Eats and Cool Reads.
202 reviews33 followers
November 29, 2011
Dystopian and apocalyptic books have been some of my favorite reads lately. This book happens to be quite different from those I've read before, it has more of a mythical aspect, which is something I haven't really been interested in. It worked though and I really liked it. This book scored big points for me. The teenage main character Olivya, is African American and Japanese, and that's not something I've seen much of in this genre, so big props for that.

It took me awhile to actually get into the book, and try to keep everyone and everything straight. When the action started though, I couldn't get enough, and wanted to keep reading to see what would happen next. Olivya and Mikah are awesome main characters and I loved them together. I also loved the virtual world of Cy-Chi and thought it was genius when their Holo-Sims came alive into the real world. The setting is grim, just as you would expect the world to be, at a time like this, when cancer takes over almost everyone and the world become crazy! It really makes you think... what if??? This book is unique and so totally different than alot of books in this genre.

I received a copy of this Ebook from the author Suki Michelle for review. This has no way influenced my opinion.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kat.
477 reviews166 followers
August 26, 2016
Full review on my blog: http://theaussiezombie.blogspot.com/

Fantasy is not a genre I read a lot. Why? Because I like the basis of reality (yeah yeah, I know I read Zombie books but they are possible, honest!) and sometimes find it hard to wrap my head around the whole deal. However, although The Apocalypse Gene is a fantasy novel, I didn’t find it difficult to be drawn into, and believe in the world created.

The characters are three-dimensional and real, and by the end of the book I had the feeling that I knew Olivya and Mikah like friends, and could fully imagine them in the world of Chicagoland and beyond.
The fantasy element in The Apocalypse Gene is engaging and thorough – I had no WTF-moments reading it, and the world created within is engaging, enthralling and completely believable. The writing is so good, that even non-Fantasy lovers will find themselves drawn into the book, and you feel part of the story, rather than having the story told to you.

I highly recommend this book to fantasy and sci-fi readers, young adult readers and anyone who wants a story that will suck you in and leave you with the feeling of having read a book that will stay with you for a long long time.
Profile Image for Laura.
201 reviews16 followers
October 11, 2011
Oliviya's living in a world debilitated by cancer. Where homes have been transformed to care for the sick and dying. No one goes out anymore as everything is done over handheld computers, including Digital School, which is where Oliviya meets Mikah. He's the only one who accepts her 'Sight', the ability to see people's auras, with non-chalance. But when they decide to meet, they become involved in a much bigger event then either of them could ever imagine.

Oliviya is a fiery character, full of attitude and fierce determination, making her a joy to read about. Mikah is more quiet and reserved, though still a steely character. Putting them together makes for a great reading experience and the feelings that develop between them are nothing short of dazzling. Seeing Oliviya's power of seeing people's auras was especially interesting because they were described so vividly. Different colours, from dreamy blue to malignant red, all representing some emotion the person was experiencing. Mikah also had the power of telempathy, being able to sense and manipulate emotions, but I didn't get to experience that as strongly as Oliviya's. I liked the friendship that bloomed between them but the romance moved a little too quickly for me to realistically believe.

The plot of The Apocalypse Gene is so incredibly unique. There were references to monster myths that have arisen over many years and from different times. We had ancient Greece, Egypt, and even the Bible. There wasn't a lot of focus on the monsters of the legends, but their importance was clearly understood. But they weren't the only supernatural creatures, there's a couple more, also very unique ones, that play a huge part in the big showdown. As I was reading I kept thinking, 'wow, this is insane!' There was a lot of action, basically one thing after another, but I couldn't help hoping for a scene where the characters would have sat down for a rest, take a breather and get to know each other some more.

I really liked the doom feeling I got as parts of the bigger picture was revealed. I didn't know whether the story would end happily or in disaster. I wished I had known more about the cancerous outbreak, and how it had become so out of control though. When had the world given up and given clinics the permission to euthanize willing patients? I also enjoyed the union between such intricate technologies, from handheld computer screens to 3-D projections, and such old and ancient powers. It was just so cool!

Bottom Line
In one word The Apocalypse Gene is unique. Superbly original and full of non-stop action and an incredibly detailed story and characters. Up until the last page I was hooked, so much was happening, happy, sad, hopeful, I felt it all. Great book, glad I had the opportunity to read it!
Profile Image for L.E.Olteano  .
514 reviews68 followers
October 21, 2011
Action-packed and dynamic, this novel is a total rush, with a rich world and a plenitude of spectacular ancient and yet fresh beings, filled with tension but also humor and a whole lotta funny (to me) slang! I very much so enjoyed the diversity of the environment the authors have built, and the element of originality that clearly permeates Suki Michelle and Carlyle Clark’s writing.

The first pages set a rather gloomy and deeply touching mood, I was totally taken with Olivya and the situation of her family, of her world. Gifted in more ways then one, she’s a very brave girl, facing danger and fear with a lot of courage and determination. Mikah is also interesting, and the whole Kindred bunch is sort of spectacular. In fact, all the beings involved are spectacular! (With totally awesome names, too )
The alert rhythm of action takes you on a journey through different worlds in a tale of struggle for survival.

The rapid succession of active scenes and the constant stream of new information make this into a highly interesting read; each page immediately translates into a movie inside your mind, and the ease with which the authors bind storytelling and alert action with humor and imaginative twists and turns will have you spinning. In fact, at times I found it was a bit too alert, too tense, too on edge, my heart was constantly racing.

The writing style is very fresh, very young, and very entertaining. It flows with ease, carrying you into a very imaginative but also troubling world. The plot itself feels a bit confusing at times, because the scenes so rapidly succeed one another. The characters are quite special, ranging from ancient beings to sims turned into familiars, cute, feisty little sims that you will surely find irresistible. I know I found Ayvilo irresistible
There’s a bit of a love story, but it doesn’t go into soul-wrenching detail; neither do the violent scenes, in my opinion, making this a rather safe and creative urban YA fantasy.

However, there was something that didn’t click all the way for me. Despite the fact I like crazy-fast action in animes, I find myself wishing for something a bit slower in novels; not snail-speed slower, but slightly more tranquil. This, of course, is a matter of purely personal taste. The haste, and in places frenzy, of the action gave me a strange sensation of detachment from the characters; I found myself wanting to go slower for a bit, to connect or reconnect with who the characters really were.

All in all, I would enthusiastically recommend this to action-lovers and YA urban fantasy fans, it’s a fast paced refreshing read.
Profile Image for Donna .
485 reviews124 followers
October 18, 2011
Suki Michelle and Carlyle Clark have created a thrilling post-apocalyptic world. From the first chapter, I was immediately fascinated with Olivya’s world and was drawn into this dystopian adventure. This is literally an edge-of-your-seat kind of read with more and more of the inner workings of this society revealed through each action packed chapter. From the mysterious and compelling Kindred to the strange Doom-criers, there are so many unique characters each with their own stories, legends, and mythologies. With so many things going on- one might think that it would be overwhelming, but The Apocalypse Gene was so cleverly written that I never felt lost or like there was a sudden info-dump. I am truly impressed and surprised by how much I liked this.

In The Apocalypse Gene, the world has been stricken by an uncontrollable cancer. Olivya’s mother is forced to turn her home into a hospice in order to survive. Olivya goes to a virtual school and her only contact with kids her own age is in a virtual community known as Cy-Chi where everyone’s avatar is supposedly as close to how they really appear as possible. This is where Olivya first meets Mikah. Both of them risk much to meet each other face to face in the very real, very dangerous Chicago streets. Each of them discover that the other is “gifted” Olivya with the sight with which she can see auras and Mikah with telempathy with which he can read and alter the emotions of others. The initial attraction that brought them together quickly grows to something much deeper and stronger and this helps to sustain them as they face some crazy challenges.

The Apocalypse Gene is unlike any other dystopian I have read. The writing is superb, there’s enough action to make your head spin, and all of it flows together so perfectly that even with all of the unexpected twists and turns, there was never a point where I felt lost or confused. Turning that last page was like coming up for air. Suki Michelle and Carlyle Clark have certainly put together an unforgettable post-apocalyptic adventure. I can’t wait to read more from these two amazing writers.
Profile Image for Becky.
673 reviews
October 12, 2011
I was contacted by the author and offered a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I wasn’t sure what I expected from this book, but was surprised by what I got. This was a good surprise though.

Olivya lives with her mum in Chicago, but life has shut down as a disease like cancer has taken over. Medicine doesn’t work and people tend to just shut down. Olivya’s mum has converted their house into a makeshift hospital.
Her only escape is Cy-Chi a virtual Chicago. She has created a ‘sim’ of herself and using that she explores Chicago, takes lessons and meets new people. There she meets Mikah, and they hit it off.

Olivya has a psychic power – she can read peoples auras, but is it a gift or curse.

Once she meets up with Mikah in the real world she realises everything is more complicated than she first thought. Together they must work together to rid the world of the disease before it takes over and there’s no one left.

I like Olivya, she’s feisty, spirited and has a good sense of right and wrong. She is a strong heroin and can kick some b**t. MIkah is a bit of a mystery, but comes across quite sweet and caring and also knows what he needs to do. He’s willing to sacrifice everything he knows to save others. Together they make a great team.

Olivya’s mum is Fantastic, I laughed out loud many a time to something she said or did, she has a sensible head on her shoulders but also shows her softer side. You can tell she thinks the world of Olivya but is torn between doing what is best for her and what is best for everyone else.

This book is a bit of a Dystopian Fantasy, as there is some ‘magic’ and dragons involved but it’s more ‘ancient lore’ than pure imagination. The book seems really well researched and the writing flows well, pulling you in.

It’s not my usual sort of read and is a bit morbid in places, but I still found myself hooked to the page.

Overall I enjoyed the book and would recommend it. It will definitely get you thinking.
Profile Image for SephiriaL.
23 reviews
February 24, 2012
The Apocalypse Gene Review

Score: 3.5 Stars

The Plot: The story is a unique blend of dystopia and science-fiction. The world is an interesting take on what could be post-apocalypse, or in this case, post-pandemic. The extensive use of the Internet and cyber-realities seemed very plausible. I also really enjoyed the totally unique take on angels and the whole mythos behind the kindred was very interesting. Pacing-wise, the novel started a bit slow and I'll admit that it was a bit hard for me to keep reading. I was easily distracted by other things and for me, a really good book is one where I don't get distracted by ANYTHING until I've finished. However, the story really picked up in the second-half of the novel and I powered through to the end quite easily.

The Characters: I enjoyed the characters on the whole but I did feel that the main characters were a bit two dimensional and could have done with a bit more development and depth. Olyvia's constant use of slang was a bit annoying (there are only so many 'frags' a girl can take!) and it always felt unnatural when read with the rest of the narrative. On the other hand, some of the secondary characters were awesome and I loved quite a few of them.

Overall Impression: Overall, I thought the story was quite enjoyable and with a few small tweaks it could have easily been spectacular. Most of my quibbles are minor and I think it's a solid effort for a relatively new author.
Profile Image for Su Yin.
9 reviews30 followers
December 15, 2011
The Apocalypse Gene is a heady mix of sci-fi, urban fantasy and manga. Set against a stark, post-apocalypse world filled with Doom Criers, Shivpaks and the Kindred, two brave and endearing protaganists with special gifts are drawn to each other in a virtual school in Cyber-Chicago, called Cy-Chi, and decide to meet face-to-face.

Their meeting is masterfully handled, with danger and surprises meshed into fast action sequences, so vivid it gives the experience akin to watching a movie with pounding heart and bated breath. With amazing skill and aplomb, the writing duo, Carlyle Clark and Suki Michelle, sweep me along an exciting, out-of-this-world adventure, with stunning twists, ingenious concepts and all forms of creatures, including … dragons (yep!) to keep me hooked to the Kindle through unholy hours of the night. The excitement and pace never let up, so be warned. It is best if you clear your calendar of all tasks and appointments before you start.

This book is highly recommended if you are looking for a truly unique reading experience.
Profile Image for Jeanne Bannon.
Author 25 books203 followers
December 29, 2011
The Apocalypse Gene is set in a post-apocalyptic Chicago. A cancer that cannot be controlled or cured has wrought a world-wide pandemic. The main characters, Olivya, a half Asian, half Black teenage girl with the ability to see auras and Mikah, a non-human of the Kindred clan with the power of telempathy, meet online at cyber-school and are brought together in real life. This is where things get tricky for the couple. Out in the real world, a world filled with a new danger lurking around every corner, the two must work against time to try to save humanity.

The authors do a fantastic job of world building, so great in fact, they left me in awe. I love how they wove folklore and mythology into the story. It’s obvious they did a lot of research to be able to make the futuristic Ch-Chi seem all too real. The Apocalypse Gene is well developed and well written. It’s an on-the-edge-of-your-seat ride and well worth buying. Two thumbs up for Suki Michelle and Carlyle Clark.
Profile Image for Bree.
4 reviews1 follower
August 27, 2011
This novel should be a movie with huge 3-D special effects. The setting is alive. I love the technology theme that weaves through it. In fact, my favorite scenes are the ones that actually feel like cyberpunk. To say more I'd have to give spoilers. The story is intricate but clearly laid out so it's easy to follow all the twists and turns. Olivya is an unusual protagonist. Olivya is so awesome, so smart. Read it. You'll be sorry when it's over.
Profile Image for J.C. Andrijeski.
Author 215 books680 followers
March 1, 2012
The Apocalypse Gene is centered around a futuristic Earth where most people seem to be dying from a really aggressive form of cancer, and quasi-fantastical beings are trying to help them against the alien force that is causing the cancer before it can spread to the rest of the universe. There is a mixture of science fiction and old world fantasy along with a pretty-near-to-our world setting, only one where attending school occurs online, and most (regular) people don't seem to leave their homes much due to the numbers of sick.

The main character, Olivya, is the teenaged daughter of a hospice owner and caretaker, and also has a mystical type power herself, in that she can see and read auras. The male hero, Micah, is one of the mystical beings whose job it is to protect the world...it also means he lives apart from most humans. Olivya and he only meet initially via the virtual high school they both attend, where they develop a friendship.

There is a ton more about this world...the world building gets super involved, moreso as the book progresses, but to say much more than that would introduce too many spoilers, I think.

I had really mixed feelings about this book. I liked it a lot, thus the 4 stars, and through most of it, found it really engaging. But it was also one of those books I found frustrating, because it was so close to being something truly classic and compelling. The main character has a lot of personality, and unlike others on here, I found her language and dialogue a lot of fun, especially for her age group. In terms of things I didn't like so much, there was almost too much complicated world-building at times, it really made it hard to know which pieces of information were important, since i had to struggle just to keep track of all of the information being doled out. At times, although certainly not in all of it, I found the lead female character to be in that odd category of "spunky but passive" role, and I didn't like that. I felt like she and Micah should have been more directly involved in solving the problems at the end, instead of playing predefined roles. I also couldn't really get a sense of her and Micah's attraction other than "he's really, really hot." He waxed poetic about her soul, and their chemistry was pretty good, but I guess I would have needed more scenes with them together to really feel that.

I really liked the characters though, overall...I just wanted them to stretch their wings a little, I guess, not be led around by mystical beings who had all the answers. Same with the world-building. I found the plot and the world super fascinating at times, and some of the ideas really creative, as well as being borderline archetypal with some of the old alchemy terms and the ideas of involution and exvolution, the gods, etc...but I almost think the authors tried to tackle too much. There was so much world building that nothing really went very deep. It seemed like every chapter someone was explaining something new about the world to the two main characters in great detail, and after awhile I just sort of skimmed over a lot because I got a little lost as to which themes or ideas were significant.

I also wasn't clear who the bad guys were at times...some of this was deliberate misdirection I found out later on in the book, but some of it just felt a bit muddy.

Overall, I came away from this a little confused. I did really like it, thus the four stars (I actually would have rated it more a 3.5 but rounded it up in favor of the authors), but I was disappointed because the setting and the characters had so much potential and I didn't feel they *quite* delivered. I would definitely check out more books from these authors, as there is a lot of promise in this book and the writing itself was fabulous, really high-quality...and they had a ton of original and highly creative ideas. I would actually like to see them simplify and go deeper on some of this stuff...and a bit deeper on the characters, too.

In this case, I totally think this might be a taste thing though. I would definitely recommend this book to others who are into YA / SF, as I think it's a very interesting and entertaining read.
Profile Image for Alana ~ The Book Pimp.
859 reviews194 followers
February 12, 2012
I actually gave this book 3½♥'s, but rounded up for the sake of GoodReads.

This book seems to marry dystopian future Chicago, science fiction, mythology, and a healthy dose of Matrix.

Olivya is an African-American teenage living in a future cancer-plagued Chicago. As the global pandemic rages, Olivya and her mother make ends meet by offering hospice care for what she calls GAD's (Good-As-Dead's.) The streets of Chicago are nearly deserted; gangs and death running rampant. People rely on the internet for all forms of social interaction, including school for Olivya. Among the virtual halls of her school is nearly the only place she can escape her gift, and sometimes curse, Olivya can see auras. Her vision allows her to see emotions, intentions, and the taint of plague. After rebelling against her mother's decision to start offering essentially medically induced suicides, she sneaks out for a first real-life meeting with her "hot" friend, Mikah, that she met at holo school. Little does she know of just how different, and similar Mikah turns out to be. Can her gift, and Mikah's origins combine to not only learn the truth of the plague but also be the key to stopping it?

What I Thought

This is quite a unique tale, weaving several different genres into a new, fresh story, filled with amusing youthful slang worthy of The Matrix. There are even mythological elements tying legends of yesterday with the battles of today. There is a wide cast of characters that seem to turn all preconceived ideas on their head. Just when you think you know who the bad guys and good guys are, *wham* something comes along and transforms antagonists into protagonists... It includes auras and psychic vampires, virtual adventures through the internet, and epic science fiction tales including an almost Dr. Who-like whale of a spaceship. It includes vivid descriptions that mirror a statement on how the real world seems to be flushing itself down the toilet.

There was almost TOO much... too many characters, too much information, at times even too much slang. It reaches a point where it feels like the story is trying to burrow itself and download into my head- but it just can't all fit in there that fast. The overload of information formed a barrier for me; I found myself shying away from reading because I would have to struggle with portions of the book. Struggling to understand, struggling to finish.

The ending, without giving anything away, is quite satisfying in that there are no huge cliff hangers, no wondering what became of everyone. It stills leaves much open for a continuation, although everything will be an almost fresh start, a reboot, of the world if you will.

In all honesty, this is not my usual choice of genre. My problems with this story may stem more from it just being outside my comfort zone. It is a fresh, dystopian tale that I could see really appealing to a younger audience. If you are a fan of science fiction, anime, and The Matrix, I would highly recommend taking this tale for a whirl and see what you think for yourself.

Some of My Favorite Quotes

"Oh that voice so sweet. Rich like the taste of vanilla ice cream, vowels like flute music, warm carmel consonants. She could float in that voice forever and not miss a thing."

"A single beautiful word bobbed through the sea of pain like a scrap of wood from a shipwreck. He clung to it to keep from drowning. Olivya."

"Her colors reminded Olivya of the eager, waxy scent of a new box of crayons."

Profile Image for Hylary Locsin.
166 reviews7 followers
March 6, 2012
Originally posted on my blog: http://libraryladyhylary.blogspot.com ! Check it out for more reviews!

In the not-too-distant future, the world is in the grips of a deadly cancer pandemic that has left society in shambles. What were once residential streets have now become row upon row of hospices set up to care for the sick and dying. Olivya and her mother run their own hospice, trying to make ends meet after Olivya’s father’s death years earlier. Olivya has struggled since she was a little girl to cope with a strange gift, the ability to see people’s auras. This power is difficult in a world filled with the sick and impoverished, and Olivya tries to keep her Sight suppressed so she can focus on caring for her patients. Everything changes when Olivya meets Mikah. The pair became acquainted in Cyber School where digital projections of themselves go to interact and learn. Olivya and Mikah formed a strong friendship, and, curious to meet one another in the flesh, decide to rendezvous at a nearby abandoned zoo. Neither of them expect the chain of events their meeting sets off, however, as the two learn the truth about the pandemic and their roles in attempting to prevent the impending apocalypse.

A collaboration between real-life couple Suki Michelle and Carlyle Clark, The Apocalypse Gene contains some interesting concepts but ultimately becomes far too muddled and confusing to be enjoyable. Taken out of the context of the novel, several of the plot ideas have potential. The pandemic that is more than just a disease, the Kindred and their mythical back-story, the ability to see auras, all intriguing concepts that could have been expanded on their own to make a successful story. All these ideas and more, however, are essentially crammed into this 230 page novel, and the result is a story so far-fetched it’s borderline ridiculous. Unfortunately, not much more can be said than that. Although it received some positive critical reviews, The Apocalypse Gene would be difficult to recommend to any young adult reader, especially when so many other excellent books are available.

I feel like I need to apologize in advance, but, simply put, this was one of the strangest books I’ve ever read. I just did not get it. I tried really hard as I was reading it to get it, but I never did. There were just too many ideas that the authors tried to stuff into this one story. I also never got the slang the characters used, and was especially confused by the little cyber beings that stepped out of the computers. I don’t think that if I tried to explain the entire plot of this novel to someone that I could do it, even though I read it from start to finish. I’m sorry, but this novel just did not resonate with me in any way whatsoever.
Profile Image for Jilleen.
Author 13 books40 followers
February 21, 2012
This was a wonderfully original story. It blends myth and religion into a tale of an alien invasion set on destroying not only the world but the galaxy. It is extremely well written since I could take the hokey idea of "combat feathers" yet suspend my disbelief because the story meshed so well together.

Even though this was intended to be a YA book, it reads well enough for adult readers. The authors were trying for some teen sounding speech and angst which wasn't their finest hour, but it did fit the characters so it wasn't completely awkward. Once they just let the narrative flow it was quite well done and the characters came alive.

I really did love the idea that cancer could be an alien invasion. That was a brilliant plot point. Explaining the mythology of the world was also brilliant; however, some possible minor plot holes did distract me. First, what made the Neo-Twins so evil? They never really end up doing anything. The authors lead us to think they do, but they don't. I know they are there to create menace, and they succeed as we feel Micah's wariness about them, but they don't end up being anything. This may be something for a sequel, and if that's so then no big deal. The next thing that was more a distraction then a real issue were the holo-sims. Of course, everyone wants a little mini- really alive replica of themselves, or just a real living doll, I know I thought that would be cool when I was a kid, but I could never really recognize a purpose for them in the story. Sure they had some action scenes and rescued both Olivya and Micah, but they weren't necessary to the plot. Anyway, those were my two big issues with the story. There were some minor things like how quickly Olivya's mom goes from controlling to accepting of everything, but it wasn't that much of a stretch considering the circumstances.

Overall, this is a brilliant new story by two very talented authors. I appreciated the chance to read and review it. I gave it 5 stars for the interesting and original story, the tight writing, and the overall readability that it had. I really couldn't put it down after I got into it.

Profile Image for Betsy.
61 reviews2 followers
January 26, 2012
It took me 9 days to complete this book. It is highly unusual of me to read a book that has short pages in 9 days. That does not matter now, what matters is my review of this book. What did I think of this book? It ultimately is a very good book. I actually enjoyed reading it.

At first when I started reading, I was a little bit confused and noticed a lot of misspelling but I thought it may be appropriate to come up with a unique term to explain what it supposed to mean. It has many details that described the occurrence in the story. A lot had happened in the last two or three days since Olivyia met Mikah. I must give the credit to an author for making it around 250 pages instead of going on and on to about 700 pages. I would probably lose my interest if it were that long. I almost lost my interest at the beginning of the book but I kept going to finish it. After Olivyia and Mikah met, this is the most exciting part to read all the way until the end.

It would be better if the beginning were a little bit exciting because there will be other reader unlike me that could not reach the part where Olivyia and Mikah meet and give up on the book as it is boring. At least, warn the reader that it will get exciting once Olivyia and Mikah meets. The beginning is very good, boring, but critical in understanding the purpose of the story. I would recommend this book to a reader who strongly interested in mythological fiction. I don’t think this book is for everyone to read because their taste in this book may be different.

At the end of the book, Kaiman mentioned something about having a strong Aether force that awaken legendary others such as Grendel that held a grudge against the Kindred. I was hoping that there would be a second or more books where Mikah will be a little bit older and faced a horde of other enemies. I just felt that there are many unfinished businesses in this story that it has to be continued on to the next book with a different plot. If the author ever decided to write a series of this story, I’d be looking forward to the second one.
Profile Image for Sierra.
139 reviews
October 14, 2011
I really enjoyed The Apocalypse Gene. It was nice to take a break from the normal, fluff of YA--wait, did I say that? Oops, I must've gotten myself confused with some other chick. My bad. Needless to say, I read a lot of books that focus on the "strange" and the "fantasy" but I'd like to say that this novel...I really don't know what category to put in. (I'm saying that it's so original, there isn't a category that suffices. Spam, I confuse myself!)
Imagine a world in which cancer is raging, all but ruling the world. You have people dying, dropping off daily, at rates that are really alarming. Then you have a girl named Olivya, who can see auras. (If you read my reviews regularly, you know I'm a sucker for the aura-readers!) Then you have a boy (a, ahem, gorgeous boy) named Mikah who can see and--here's the kicker--manipulate emotions!
What I really, really loved about this novel is the way that technology is interwoven not only into the world itself, but in the way the main character, Olivya speaks and thinks. It's so cool to see, not normal cuss words, but things like spam and other computer-speak as slang. Really cool--especially for a techy-nerd like me.
If the premise of the novel isn't enough to get your hard drive revving, well, I don't know what to tell you (you sure you're updated on all your software? Nah, I'll wait while you check...). This novel is original, and funky, and at some points, I was really stumped. This doesn't happen much--I'm great at figuring things out. This novel though? Spam, man, it kept me guessing! Loved that about it!
The writing is phenomenally good for two debut authors. Normally you read those debut authors who are trying to get into their "writing grooves", but these authors read like they've been writing for years!
Loved the story, loved the characters, and I would love it if there was a sequel!
Profile Image for Bai.
163 reviews42 followers
May 9, 2012
I feel bad giving a low rating to a book, but, in this case, though I liked the concept, The Apocalypse Gene by Suki Michelle failed to hold my attention.

From the start, the book invited me in with its vast array of potential. The possibilities of this story were indeed great. And just the first chapter showed just how good the author’s imagination can be.

Set in an apocalyptic future, the author captures the gritty scenes beautifully. The hard choices one has to make, the life and the hardships are portrayed perfectly. But when it is time to delve into the realm of fantasy, Michelle, unfortunately, seems to lose her touch.

What could have been a unique mix of modern sci-fi and myths and lore becomes a jumbled mishmash in which the beauty of the story gets lost. The story telling is slow at best with plenty of mythological jargon thrown in, in a futile attempt to keep readers entertained. But the plan backfires as very few of these are explained properly. Hence the reader cannot seem to feel connected to the entire scene. It does get better as it goes, though.

Michelle is, no doubt, talented and imaginative. She creates suspense and mystery. We keep guessing who is good and who is evil. But in doing this continuously, it gets a tad boring. The plot gets too convoluted and the main plot line changes so much, it is very hard to keep track of. Plus, we never get to really connect to a character. The lack of secondary characters (both positive and negative) doesn't help.

Over all, the book gave me the impression it was trying too hard. Had this same story been panned over a series consisting of about 3 or 4 books, I think it would have fared much better.

The one thing I really liked about this book though, was the concept of the holo-sims; Ayvilo, to be exact.
Profile Image for Trace.
9 reviews
January 21, 2012

Young Adult Romance, dyastopian novel, fantasy? The Apocalypse Gene contains elements of all three plus more. But fantasy definitely wins out- big time. Suki Michele and Carlyle Clark are very talented when it comes to writing and coming up with fantastical ideas, but I couldn't help be feel let down in the end. Maybe the fantasy genre is just not my cup of tea. I longed for the story to concentrate on the hospice and the plague and apocalyptic Chicago society. But all of this seemed more of an afterthought.

Even accepting the good vs. evil/save the universe fantasy, which I easily did because of wonderfully descriptive writing and a good story, I was turned off by too many tedious terms and details. For example, I found the holo-sims silly and annoying. Pandymone the 'whale,' embarrassingly way out there. And the term, Sufferer of the Perpetual Molt laughable. It's not the characters/ideas that I necessary had a problem with, it's just the way they were developed or described. It was enough of a problem for me to seriously interfere with my enjoyment of the book. So I guess, for my taste, if the fantasy was toned down a bit (okay, a great deal) then The Apocalypse Gene would have been a better read.

Pretty negative review, huh? Just venting the frustrations I felt while reading the book. I'm giving it 3/5 stars, which isn't bad. As I mentioned earlier, the writing is very descriptive- beautiful. Suki Michele is undoubtedly talented. I guess it was a matter of expectations for me. If you like the fantasy genre then you will spend hours of enjoyable reading with this book. If you're looking for a dyastopian tale of post- apocalyptic, plague-stricken Chicago, you might be disappointed.

Profile Image for Naj.
267 reviews30 followers
September 30, 2011
POSTED HERE: http://unputdownablebookies.blogspot....

I can’t imagine living in a world like the one Michelle and Clark created in Apocalypse Gene but then again it’s just a magnified version of our current world. Where everything is online and cybertised. It wasn’t only futuristic but it held a mix of sci-fi, dystopian, paranormal with a dash of folklore.

The world itself was overwhelming and remarkable that you can’t help but love going through the entire thing with the books protagonists Mikah and Olivya. Who are romatically involved and to tell you the truth it's the kind of romance I love! It was the realistic kind that does not involve a love triangle. Thank you Michelle & Clark for writing it that way!

Along the way into this awesome story, I did get lost a bit. It was a little too much of an information overload on how the situation started, who is to save it, how it works, the background of each group in the society and every being, etc. But it was fascinating. A new world created by 2 awesome authors. Even the vocabulary held its qualities, like Cy-Chi, Aether, Codex Spawnicus, Doom-Crier, Kindred, exvolution, psionic, Indigs, etc. Amazing stuff all of it.

Overall, the characters were loveable and determined, the story was an epic mix of all the genres I love. A masterpiece waiting to shine behind the equally great cover and awesome descriptive writing that I can’t help but praise. An Unputdownable read that is guaranteed to fill your need for action, thrill and sweet moments of near death experiences and just fluffy cuddles with our two protagonists.
Profile Image for Summer Lane.
Author 35 books363 followers
January 24, 2012
The Apocalypse Gene. It has infected the world - killed off most of its population through a killing gene known as cancer. As the citizenry of post-apocolyptic Chicago struggles to survive, Olivya is living with her mother in a house-turned-hospice ward. Surrounded by death on all sides, Olivya also has the Sight - she can see peoples' auras, a psychic ability that she believes is unique to her. Until she meets Mikah. And everything changes. The dystopian thriller takes a dark turn as the world plummets towards ultimate destruction - all because of Olivya and Mikah.

This book is part fantasy, part science-fiction and part zombie apocalypse. I have to admit, the book began with a great premise: the world, eaten away. Civilizations, non-existant. The final remnants of society, hanging by a thread. But as the book continues, the names and places become so incredibly complicated that I had to think way too hard to keep the story straight. Even now, as I think back over the book, I am hard pressed to remember every single name and detail. In other words, what began as a simple story morphed into an extremely complicated web of facts and nearly unpronounceable names.

But honestly, the writing is very beautiful. Colors, shapes and emotions are all described nicely. I'll admit that some of the local lingo in post-acpocolyptic Chicago is a little confusing - but imaginary vocabulary sometimes makes a story more fun.
Profile Image for Candy .
626 reviews44 followers
January 26, 2012
The description of The Apocalypse Gene made me want to read it immediately. Sometimes it’s better not to go on just that. I had a hard time adjusting to the world that Olivya lived in and couldn’t finish reading the book.

People were sickly and dying and apparently the world was not the same as it was before. I got the vibe that there was more unemployment and homelessness because of the technology that didn’t need actual people working, but I don’t see how after a global pandemic there’s such widespread technology. I’m not saying it isn’t plausible, it is fiction, and after all, whatever a writer writes doesn’t have to make sense. I just couldn’t sympathize with Olivya, whose only means of survival was helping her mother run a hospice or lose their home, when she had those privileges of a cell phone and virtual school, etc. I couldn’t put two and two together: lavish technology and living in fear of sickness, death, and homelessness.

Besides not wrapping my brain around that, I didn’t really like Olivya. She was rude, and she wondered why she had no friends. I wouldn’t be her friend based on her attitude, not the freaky supernatural power she had.

I wouldn’t recommend this book , mostly because I didn’t really get it and I was not impressed with the characters or their world. The uniqueness of the plot is a plus but not enough for me to finish reading.

*Ebook provided by author through Shut Up & Read's Read It & Reap review program.
Profile Image for Lindsay Klug.
Author 7 books7 followers
October 22, 2011
What a fantastic read. This book kept me hooked from beginning to end, and it’s rare for a story to do that.

We open with Olivya doing her daily duties as part-time caretaker in the hospice her mother runs from their home in Hospice Row. After the Pandemic has riddled the world with a super cancer with no known cure, many are left with no choice but to relegate themselves to a Hospice to live out their last days.

Very quickly, we’re introduced to Olivya’s fiery personality. She is never one to disappoint, and I found myself laughing at some of the things she spouts off with during the course of this story. When she meets her crush from school, Mikah, her world opens to something she never saw coming.
This is a young adult book, and aptly written to intrigue and delve into a world filled with the impossible. The authors created splendid creatures, a desolate world void of life and filled with danger, and a subculture teeming with vile characters. We’re not left lacking of fights or fantastic weaponry, either, and though there are some bits in the story that seem to be completely unbelievable the authors weave them in so we can see how they fit.

Overall, I’ll let my kiddo read this any day, and rest assured that her mind will fly with fanciful dreams. Let the imagination spark, and allow Suki and Carlyle to carry you into diseased Chicago.
Profile Image for A Voracious Reader (a.k.a. Carol).
1,954 reviews1 follower
February 15, 2014
*Book source ~ Many thanks to the author for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Olivya Wright-Ono can see auras which isn't a good thing when your home is a hospice for the dying. When she meets Mikah in the virtual school she finally has something to look forward to each day. But the pandemic is spreading and things are getting worse. When she finally meets Mikah in the real world she discovers he’s not like other humans. But what does that mean and how is it connected to what’s happening in the world? They’re about to find out.

Ok, this book was massively confusing. First, I had to slog through slang-filled conversations that got even worse when Ayvilo shows up then I have to try and understand what is happening and why it’s happening, not to mention the solution needed is beyond my comprehension. The writing is ok, but the characters aren’t fully fleshed out. And I already mentioned the plot was too confusing and while I know this is sci-fi, much of it was too way out there. Others may find this a great story, but what it gave me was confusion, frustration and disappointment. And a headache.
8 reviews1 follower
December 28, 2011
Eeeeeehhhh. I don't know, maybe I'm too old to read this book? I probably would've liked it better in elementary school/early middle school.

This book seemed like it would be interesting, started off sort of interesting (I did like the idea of a pandemic that doesn't involve a contagious disease), but really degraded as I was reading it. The further I got, the less I wanted to read -- by the end, finishing the book felt more like an obligation than anything. All of the "secrets" I was looking forward to were just not very exciting or unexpected. The bad science and unrealistic "oh, give me a break" events made me cringe (very, very) often, and I'm usually pretty good about suspension of disbelief. The romance was cheesy and unsatisfying. Also the title had nothing to do with the book -- the phrase "apocalypse gene" is mentioned once, but not really in any important context.

Oh, also, the slang is SO ANNOYING. GAH. I just really wanted Olivya and Ayvilo to stop talking. And then never talk again. They already came off as immature and annoying, the slang just made it worse.

But I did finish it, and I don't finish books that I hate, so this can have 2 stars.
Profile Image for Melissa.
184 reviews102 followers
February 1, 2012
I always feel bad giving a book a low rating because I don't want to discourage others from reading it. Just because I didn't enjoy it doesn't mean someone else won't. With that said...I found it very hard to get through this book. I think mainly because I was expecting more of a dystopian type book and instead found myself in a Science Fiction world. I was confused by all the lingo and the various unique names. Since each chapter rotated between the two main character's perspective, I found it hard to keep track of what was going on. By the time I got to the next chapter I had already forgotten what the other character had been doing in the previous chapter.

However, it wasn't all bad. I liked the action aspect of the book. The scenes where the characters were fighting someone or escaping something were intriguing. The authors are definitely great at describing action packed scenes.

If you like mythical creatures, Science Fiction, and technology then this might be a good book for you. If you're like me and prefer dystopian books and chick lit...I would skip on this one.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 79 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.