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There is no cure for being stung.

Fiona doesn’t remember going to sleep. But when she awakens, her world no longer exists. Her house is abandoned and broken. Her neighborhood is barren and dead. And there is a tattoo on her right hand. A tattoo Fiona doesn’t remember getting…but somehow she must conceal at any cost. Because humanity has been divided.

Those bearing the tattoo have turned into mindless, violent beasts that roam the streets and sewers, preying upon the unbranded, while a select few live protected inside a fortresslike wall, their lives devoted to rebuilding society and killing all who bear the mark.

And Fiona has awoken branded, on the wrong side of the wall, and…normal.

From the author of Shifting comes this remarkable reimagining of Sleeping Beauty, where the sting of a bee, rather than the prick of a needle, can destroy the world.

304 pages, Hardcover

First published April 2, 2013

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About the author

Bethany Wiggins

10 books743 followers
Bethany Wiggins has always been an avid reader, but not an avid student. Seriously! She failed ninth grade English because she read novels instead of doing her homework. In high school, she sat alone at lunch and read massive hardback fantasy novels (Tad Williams and Robert Jordan anyone?). It wasn't until the end of her senior year that the other students realized she was reading fiction--not the Bible

Once upon a time, Bethany's sister dared her to start writing an hour a day until she completed a novel. Bethany wrote a seven-hundred page fantasy novel that she wisely let no one read--but it taught her how to write. Since then she has penned SHIFTING (2011), STUNG (2013), and CURED (2014).

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Profile Image for Rose.
1,878 reviews1,064 followers
April 6, 2013
Initial reaction: I definitely have a number of constructive things to say about "Stung", but in the string of YA dystopian novels I've read, this proved disappointing on many levels. The thematics, the cliches, the structuring and characterizations. And that hurts considering the premise is quite interesting.

Full review:

In the measure of YA dystopic fiction that I've personally read, there have been many titles I've completely and thoroughly enjoyed. Nancy Farmer's "The House of the Scorpion", Patrick Ness's "Chaos Walking" trilogy, Sarah Beth Durst's "Vessel", Moira Young's "Blood Red Road," to name a few. I would even count Ernest Cline's wonderful "Ready Player One" in that consideration. But for many of the prevalent titles I've perused in this genre, there have been others that have really dropped the ball. Despite having interesting premises, some cede to what one of my friends has coined the "dystoromance" genre. Meaning? The book might have an interesting backdrop of a dystopian society and sci-fi/fantasy leanings, but it's never developed. It takes a background seat and merely provides the court for the main event - the romantic relationship of two leads within the novel.

If the only problem with Bethany Wiggins' novel "Stung" were its classification as a "dystoromance" novel, I might've been disappointed, but I certainly wouldn't have been upset about it. I thought the novel had a very interesting backdrop with respect to a society where the mutant bee population was responsible for spreading a flu that wiped out the population on a wide scale, and so a vaccine was developed for it, but the vaccine started transforming people into beasts after certain levels. A young woman named Fiona, who had been comatose for many years, wakes to find her environment completely changed, a mysterious mark on her skin, her brother a beast, and on the run in an environment she no longer recognizes. Heck, she barely recognizes herself because she was 13 years old before she went comatose, but wakes to find she's in a body similar to her elder sister - a young woman.

Sounds interesting, right? Original? Inventive?

Believe me when I say that this novel is absolutely none of these things. And as much as it stings me to say this (no pun intended), I went into this novel expecting a enthralling, resonant story, but came out of it feeling like it was an underdeveloped, disconnected, offensive, infuriating and insipid mess. Having read Wiggins "Shifting" (which I rather liked despite some issues) makes it worse because there were a lot of elements in this novel that were similar to that novel, and carried over several of the problematic measures that were in that work.

I know I'm sounding blunt about it, but there's really no easy way for me to convey my disappointment with this novel. Fiona is an insufferable heroine to follow. True, she's a 13-year old trapped in a 17-year old body. She's going to have maturity issues and a rough time catching up. She's going to be flawed, she's going to make mistakes. I get that. I wouldn't expect anyone else to think less in that consideration. There was even a part of me that thought she'd be more emotionally damaged and shocked by the revelations she came to. But while it was dealt with somewhat - which I do give credit for - I'm surprised that it didn't have more to it in this story.

The start of Fiona's journey actually wasn't so bad, she tries to get her bearings in the middle of an environment she used to know, deteriorated and in quite a bit of disarray. The introduction of a young kid named Arrin actually peaked my interest as well, and I was actually far more interested in Arrin because it was insinuated that she was younger than Fiona and had faced quite a bit of hardship. She was also pretty funny and spot on with her assertions where it counted, resourceful as well. She was a survivor as a Fecs, disguising herself in a society that had gone militant. The story left me with a lot of questions in the beginning about why the girls had to hide the fact that they were...well...girls. Between binding their breasts and cutting their hair (Fiona didn't react well to the latter).

As the reasons were given, I realized that this novel and I would have problems. If you're building a dystopian world, obviously the issues you raise with it are going to have impact. You can't let it fall by the wayside without dealing with the weight it brings, because otherwise you fall into the danger of those measures being used simply as a vehicle for conflict, rather than for dealing with them for what they are in themselves. This novel's built in a misogynistic (women are scarce, used to mate since the population's dying, and some are hunted for more fiercely than the infected beasts, treated terribly as well), ableist (people are shunned/cast off for being either physically or mentally disabled) society where the militia controls the dealings of things inside "the wall." There's very loose worldbuilding here - those are heavy issues.

Let me make this very clear: I DO NOT like novels that trivialize rape, molestation, or denounce the roles of female characters. This book did all three and it made me so upset I had to walk away from it a few times. The problem in the novel wasn't that the novel made mention of these issues - it was they way they were handled. It was so casual, I kept thinking to myself "Why on earth is this being shown this way?"

Fiona's shown being taken advantage of in several places in this novel and I was utterly mortified and baffled by it. I understand this is world being built, but it's not realistic at all. To simplify the enemy being these men who will take advantage of any woman they come across simply because she's a woman and child-bearing and use it as a vehicle for conflict, not for the issue in itself, is uncalled for. And this is supposed to be a YA novel. Consider that. This is a disturbing trend I've seen in several novels in this genre as of late, and seriously - it's got to stop.

What made me even more upset was that the only saving grace to these actions just so happens to be the love interest.

Dreyden's introduction had me seeing red because for one - it was instalust on the part of Fiona when she notes him as her captor. For another, he treats her like crap when she's disguised as a boy, and there's really no reason for it other than the mark on her. When he finds out she's a girl, let alone the girl he grew up with, he becomes nicer to her. He does apologize in spells for his actions and I probably could've gotten behind that if he hadn't been so brash in other points of the work following that. There's really very little holding their relationship together, I felt, in the context of this novel. The romantic scenes between them arrived with awkward timing - and I'm not saying some of it wasn't decent, but it felt like an overfocus, especially with the events going on around them. I would've appreciated more of Dreyden's fears of Fiona if it weren't told to me in such explicit form. I would've appreciated not being hit over the head with not only the fact that Fiona could turn any moment, but also that it could mean his death for choosing to help her. And Fiona's memories and coming to terms do not have the weight that it should have for the seriousness they should have.

And the romantic lines are so painful. I think there was even one line where Fiona's crying and they're tongue kissing and both of them are tasting her tears on their tongues. That's not romantic, that's gross. As is the matter of someone ripping their heart out for someone else because they *love* them. It's just...over the top for sentiment.

At one point, I would've said that the characters that interested me the most were the secondary ones, particularly Arrin because I liked her character up until a certain point. But then a few revelations regarding that character pretty much made me want to put down the book and not carry on with it. I decided to do so anyway and it just became worse as it went on. It's hard to care for a heroine who screws up in almost every opportunity, even to the point where she nearly kills someone she loves (which is something that happened in "Shifting" too, though on an opposite plane, both involved a gun and shooting point blank it seemed). But when you have a mysterious, somewhat spot on side character who suddenly table-flips in motivation and personality? It feels like a cheap shot in the scheme of events in the novel.

There was only so much suspension of disbelief I could do with "Stung" and I reached my limit in several spells here with how the matters, the world, the characters were handled. The ending tied up far too neatly for the build up this novel had to offer and didn't make sense to me. I couldn't in good measure recommend this work given its issues. I've read better, more vetted, versatile worlds, higher stakes, more vivid and deep personal relations and real characters in a dystopian realm than this.

Overall score: 1/5

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Walker Children's.
Profile Image for Mara.
661 reviews102 followers
May 16, 2013
Cover Blurb: Yes or No? Yes; in fact, it's what initially caught my interest. I had no idea what it might be about, but a bee on the cover coupled with a syringe is rather intriguing, is it not? Too bad it doesn't match the story within.

Characters: Fiona is about as intelligent as a box of rocks, and has just as much personality. Never has the term "flat" been so applicable to a protagonist than with Fiona - or "Fo," as a lot of characters like to call her. I totally did not connect with her on any level whatsoever, and I just wanted her to die so the book - and her continued stupidity - would end. There are at least three major points in the story that I quite literally smacked the book with my head in utter disbelief. Fiona is living in a post-apocalyptic-like world. She is wanted by at least three different people/groups - as a snack, a bargaining chip, a sex object (no joke), whatever. The point is this girl can barely stay in one place for a single night without possibly being caught, so she has to constantly be on the move. At one point in the story, Fiona comes across a stash of clothes. Now, think about what you would do in her place; you would find the sturdiest, most practical clothes, wouldn't you? That's not the first thing Fiona goes after - oh no. She snags a pair of frilly panties, a lacy camisole, and a pink sundress because it makes her feel girly and she can do twirlies in the skirt. I don't really know what to say, so I'll just let that statement speak for itself. Other than this is our protagonist, and she doesn't make any other intelligent choices as the story continues. Dreyden Bowen I will address in the romance category, but my opinion of him is definitely not a positive one. About the only character I halfway liked was Arrin, and I really didn't even like her. She was a slimy little double-crosser, but at least she constantly stated how stupid Fiona was, which I really did appreciate. There is no principle villain - not until the very end, and he's not at all frightening in any way whatsoever. The "beasts" are like zombies on steroids that walk on all fours and salivate and will eat anything, not just brains. And everyone else is a hormonal mess just looking for the next gal to rape. Because apparently if the female population ever goes down, every single guy out there is going to turn into a rapist.

The Romance: "You might as well have eaten my heart straight from my living body. I would rather die a thousand times at your hands than see you captured. Even if you eat my heart. Because you already own it." Dreyden Bowen to Fiona - page 185. And that is why this is probably the most nauseating part of the story, and also the most focused on. There is no love triangle (yet; there will be in the sequel), but the romance between Bowen and Fiona has to be one of the most horrible teen romances I have ever read. When Bowen and Fiona first meet, Bowen thinks Fiona is a boy and he treats her absolutely horrible, beating her with his rifle, kicking her, abusing her at every turn. But as soon as he discovers that she's a girl - well, that's a totally different matter! It's all right to beat up a helpless boy, but certainly not a girl! Sorry, but Bowen was forever solidified into an abusive jerk after that. And he really doesn't improve, as his moodiness begins to show through. He thrusts Fiona up against walls and whips his gun around on her if she so much as asks a polite, curious question, then turns all sulky and mutters some angry retort. But it's all right, because he doesn't actually ever hit her - just almost (that's sarcasm, by the way). To seal Bowen's complete and utter attractiveness and gallantry, Bowen tells Fiona at one point that she's not safe even with him, because he just might rape her, 'cause like all of the other men, he hasn't seen a woman in a while, so the temptation might just be too great if she doesn't make herself look more like a boy. But it's okay! Bowen is still gallant and charming and desirable because he is resisting the urge - but only if Fiona doesn't look like a girl. This is our handsome, wonderful love interest, and we Readers are subjected to makeout session after makeout session, where Fiona practically eats Bowen like a huge chunk of chocolate, and then gives us descriptions of what he tastes like!! And you know what - given Fiona's situation, the overall "hotness" of my proverbial escort would be the last thing on my mind. It never is explained why the two fall so hard for one another. I can only assume that for Bowen, it's because she's the first girl he's seen in a long time. And as for Fiona . . . Well, I've already stated that she's about as brilliant as a box of rocks.

Believability: Here's another problem: the Author asks her Readers to completely ignore all plausible science for the duration of Stung. A vaccine turns a bunch of people into complete hulking brutes. And there is a lot of emphasis on hulking. Maybe this vaccine should be introduced to athletes, especially wrestlers. Everyone will look like Popeye by the time it's done its work. Okay, problem number one: when has a vaccine >EVER done something like this? It's not even remotely possible. Bad allergic reactions, yes, but this goes way beyond an allergic reaction. And before the scientists released their genetically engineered honey bees that caused the bee flu (which then caused the need for a vaccine), why didn't they test them more extensively? And if science is so advanced that they can engineer honey bees, why did they make a pesticide that killed everything else, right along with these engineered bees? Why didn't they make a pesticide that was lethal to the bees only and nothing else? If their science isn't capable of doing that, than they couldn't engineer bees or all of the newfangled medicines and nutrient tablets. And then somehow the beasts' blood has rejuvenation properties? Seriously? That was just randomly thrown in for no real reason. And while honey would most certainly become valuable, in a world where food and water is hard to come by, I think there would be many other things that would be even more valuable.

Plot: The honey bees have died, so scientists were forced to engineer new ones. These new bees caused a flu epidemic, which turned people savage before they eventually succumbed to the illness and died. So the scientists engineered a vaccine, tattooing those who received it with a bee insignia. The vaccine caused the people to turn savage permanently, and in a last-ditch effort to save humankind, a great wall was built to separate the uninfected people from the "beasts." Gangs roam around hunting marked people to sell on the black market - where they are sent to "the pits" where they engage in gladiatorial-like fights - or to the scientists within the wall, where they are looking for a cure. Meanwhile, the beasts prey on anyone they can find, tearing them to shreds, and those who are marked but haven't yet turned hide in the sewers. Fiona wakes up in this world after a four-year coma. She doesn't remember what happened and she doesn't recognize this new and dangerous world. But she sets out after hiding her own mark and stumbles on a helpful sewer-dweller (called a Fec), and then gets snagged by the militia. But when Bowen remembers her from when they were kids, he decides to help her and takes off into the "wilds," intent on selling her to the scientists. Fiona is pretty cool with this, even though she knows she'll be experimented on like a guinea pig - and will probably die. But when one night Bowen leaves her unshackled and falls asleep, rather than running off with their supplies and Bowen's gun, Fiona sits there are stars at Bowen's lips . . . for hours. I am not exaggerating; it says so on page 137. This is one of the "three major points" that made me smack my forehead. Not only does this demonstrate Fiona's furthered brilliance, it's also a plot problem. There is no conceivable explanation for why she wouldn't have done this! It may be dangerous out there, but with a pack of supplies and a gun, Fiona could have made it on her own pretty well. Besides, the dude is going to take her to the scientists; how is that better than hiking out on her own? My other biggest issue isn't so much a plot hole as it is just an unnecessary complication. Fiona is holed up in a building, waiting for Bowen to return from doing . . . something, and she's surrounded by a pack of guys who want to take her away and do what slimy, hormone-crazy dudes want to do to a girl. Fiona has a gun and lots of windows at her disposal. Rather than holing up like a sniper and picking the punks off, she waits at the top of the staircase, paralyzed, and only shoots when someone comes to the top. She doesn't wait to see who it is (possibly Bowen? Nah, couldn't be), and pulls the trigger. Brilliant, Fiona - just brilliant. And yep, it causes problems. Loads of problems. And why did anyone think Arrin was trustworthy? I certainly didn't, and Bowen knew she was dangerous. And yet . . . The rest of the plot is focused on the mushies, and we all know how I felt about that.

Writing Style: First-person narration . . . in present tense. Oh, but how I disliked it. Fiona's slowly reoccurring memories are in past tense, which only serves to disrupt the narration, especially since the scenes happen at the most inopportune times (someone bad is going to break down the door, they're being chased, et cetera). On top of this, the Author loves her gross descriptions of the general lack of hygiene among the world. I don't want to know what someone's breath smells like after months without a toothbrush! Or how many times someone vomits, whether or not something smells like urine, that Bowen's blood tastes coppery (yes, Fiona tastes Bowen's blood), or that Bowen's lips taste like salt and buttery goodness (yuck!). I don't want to know about crusty fingernails, sweaty skin, greasy hair, brown teeth, or anything like that!! TOO MUCH DETAIL!!!!

Content: Nothing ever happens, but it's made clear several times what guys will do to anyone they realize is a girl.

Conclusion: The gladiatorial-like fight did nothing to redeem this book; not even a little bit. The only thing it did was prolong my suffering. The arrival and disposal of the villain - Jacoby Soneschen - was random, abrupt, and poorly executed. I cared so little about any of the characters that I wasn't even moved with the final confrontation between Fiona and her twin brother, Jonah, who had already turned beast. The epilogue promises a ridiculous sequel, but that's all right - because I am not reading it. I actually had hopes for Stung. The general premise was kind of interesting, but then I met Fiona and Bowen, and I learned more about the concept, and . . . It was just downhill from there. And by the way - what caused Fiona to have amnesia in the first place?

Recommended Audience: Girl-read, sixteen-and-up.
Profile Image for Courtney Wells.
112 reviews417 followers
May 19, 2015
I'm a remorseless dystopian junkie. But alas - as with most twitchy hedonists - my tolerance for FUBAR and official numbness to cluster-humps have me chasing thrills beyond the usual pandemics/hella-wars that spawn and inspire the Mega-society of Oppressiveness and Bizarre Quasi-sexist, Semi-fanatical Values AKA Faketopia.

So bees, you say? I'll roll with that if only because I'm burnt out superflu bugs and thunderdomes.

Unfortunately, superflu bugs and thunderdomes do make an appearance. Sigh.

I liked things about this book - novel concept in some respects and do think the protagonist is justifiably helpless but the inhumanity of this world borders on cartoonish at times. Like men become rapists the second society falls apart or people are content to doom our species to play mad scientist or remain king of the hill.

Seriously, though, it wasn't bad if you're looking for a different kind of apocalypse and had some decent, shiny parts but common, brutal tropes of the genre are used with thread-bare justification.

I'll probably read the second book since it piqued my interest enough and might explain some of what was left hanging. Maybe that'll improve or lower my opinion of this series but I'll let it squeak past as a little better than average if only for daring to be weird.
Profile Image for Claude's Bookzone.
1,535 reviews215 followers
February 26, 2021
3.5 Stars


Well what a ripper of a ride that was!

What a marvellous concept and a frightening world Bethany has created. Yes, there are issues. I found the nicknames offensive, I wish Fiona was a bit smarter and in less need of rescuing, it's the typical dystopic world where women are needed for breeding, and of course the dreaded 'special snowflake' trope that underpins this story. If you can get past that then it really is a fun, action packed story where a bee flu has decimated the world's population and terrifying zombies are being used in cage fighting type situations! It is a harsh 'dog eat dog' world on the wrong side of the wall so characters never know who to trust. I look forward to reading the next in the series!
589 reviews1,029 followers
June 24, 2013
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

Thank you Bloomsbury Australia for seeming me this copy. No compensation was given or taken to alter this review.

Stung promised a synopsis and concept that could've been breathtakingly original and cunning in a sense. However this vision was immediately wiped away after a couple pages in.

The foundation of the idea was probably the only aspect I found enjoyable. We have a world based around bees. Since bees, are essential necessary to human life, scientists decide to reform and reproduce bees at an abnormal rate. Except something went wrong, the bees' sting carry a disease which soon became viral and then, named the 'Bee Flu'. In attempt to save the people, a cure was created which, more or less failed epically. Soon the world just went crazy and children were mad. Kaboosh. Here's our dystopian world.

I'll take a different approach in reviewing this novel by giving out a few disclaimers.

1. Is it an issue if your main character is stupid?
Fiona just was not the main character I was searching for in this run down world. Instead of the elite, strong and clear minded female protagonist, I got a whiny, clueless and impulsive girl. I couldn't relate to Fiona at all and the way she processed thoughts were so illogical I wanted to rip my hair out. Even said, I can comprehend the fact that Fiona isn't meant to really know everything at the beginning, but she had not much motivation to know anything either way. She wasn't awfully curious and confused. Which also adds another problem to her list- unrealistic.

2. Do you hate it when there isn't enough world building?
Like the sound of this novel? Like the idea and how it's fleshed out? Curious about what happens further on in the world Wiggins constructed at the beginning. Sorry but this aspect is currently, and sadly will always be, unavailable. Being the only part of the novel I was fascinated by, I was hugely disappointed to discover no more development in the world. There were so many unanswered questions whirling in my head that was in desperate need of an answer to. Thankfully, there is a book two! (Not that I'm so eager to read it)

3. Is romance dominating the plot a constant issue for you?
Oh gee, wow. As if I never saw this coming. We have a romance and like hell is it dominating when it kicks in. Bowen and Fiona's romance didn't feel rather real or chemistry-like in my opinion. There's a dash of angst, splash of cheesiness and a cherry on top that is sweet with ascendancy. Also, might I add, a hint of instant love. I just wasn't feeling it.

4. Does swift and brief writing bother you?
Everything in Stung seemed too rushed for my tastes. While diving into the action is something I appreciate, this felt like I was just skipping a paragraph or two every now and again. This book could've had more dedication in the writing and contain more intricate descriptions.

If you answered yes to all the above, I suggest you take a second look at this novel as you may not find it as enthralling as it would've seemed. Of course, if none of that really bothers you to a great extent, Stung has a magnificent idea and setting which many dystopian lovers will adore. Recommend to people who enjoyed Article 5.
Profile Image for Alicia Batista (Addicted Readers).
256 reviews507 followers
February 8, 2016
WARNING: This Review Might Have Some Spoilers:

Check it out on my Blog @


Stung has to be ONE of the best Dystopian novels I have EVER read! I was hypnotized from the first sentence to the last!I am in love with this book!

As I was reading and I knew it was coming to an end, I caught myself reading slower and slower, trying to draw out the book as long as I could! I just wanted to keep reading and reading this story and didn't want to stop!

Bethany has a way with words that sucks you in, and has you wanting more and more! I really enjoyed the world Bethany created!

Stung did have the same background as a lot of other Dystopian novels, but at the same time it was unique and SO much different and BETTER then ANY Dystopian novel I have EVER read!

The reason I say it has the same background is because it was kinda the same type of setting as other Dystopian novels.

The end of the world with society spilt in different groups. Some safely behind the wall and some stuck on the outskirts of the city just fighting to survive. Then we have the army or a Bethany calls them in Stung the Militia who protects the outerwall and captures fec's and beast to take them to the lab to help find a cure for the infected. We also have the roofless gangs or as Bethany calls them the Raiders, that kidnap, rape and terrorize ANY female that they find! They also use to infected beast and fec's as pets and throw them in the pits to battle to the death for sport! Then we have the government or what's left of it. People who stepped up and claimed power for the "Inner Good Of The People" to take control and help to rebuild the community! Or what Bethany calls them the in Stung the innerguard, the ones safely behind the wall! But of course as in any good Dystopian novel the Marjory of the government is corrupt and power hungry! Then we have the most important, the infected! These things are NOT zombies. I guess you could say they act like zombies, but they are still alive and they only eat you if they have no other source of food, which in this book if your on the wrong side of the wall then their isn't much to eat unless your the Milita protecting the outerwall! Then we also have the normal people just trying to survive like in any good Dystopian novel.

Even with all the similarities to other Dystopian novels this book is still VERY unique in it's own way!

The Plot.....

It ALL started with the bees! The bees were going extinct and if that happens then the people could very well go extinct too!

Why, you wonder like I did before reading this novel?
Well, because if their is no more bees left, then that would mean that their would be no source to pollen the plants and vegetables and if theirs no source to pollen the plants and vegetables, then that means that the plants and vegetables will start to die off, and if the plants and vegetables die off, then that means that the animals that feed on the plants and vegetables will start to die off too, then that means we as humans have NO source of food, then that means we will start to die off too!

That right there was very real to me, and scary at the same time because as crazy as it seems I could very well see a world like that, the way Bethany has played it out in Stung! And when the world seems real then the book feels real!

The bees were going extinct so the scientist stepped up to create and generated bee called the GenMod bees. Only problem with theses GenMod bees were that they killed off every last bee until ALL the bees were extinct! But it gets worse! These bees were also causing a deadly flu to humans. The bee flu virus was very contagious and could spread very easily. So it turns out that the GenMod bees were very hard to kill. So they created a vaccine to the bee flu and then their was hope again, that is until the people who started taking the vaccine started turning into mindless, lethal beast who preyed on humans!

So Fiona wakes up in her abandoned house, and she's alone. But whats more disturbing is the tattoo of a black, spiderrish oval with ten legs on the back of her hand. She doesn't remember getting it and doesn't know what it stands for, but something inside her is telling her she must "Conceal The Mark", So that's what she does, not having a clue why! Only when she is attacked in her house does she finally realize that things are not the same as when she went to sleep,and she's right the world has changed!

Fiona is in search for answers! She must find her family or what happened to them! She needs to know why the streets are abandoned except for people with guns or the dirty humans running to the sewers underground! But most important what are these people that are animal-like, feral, and why are they trying to attack and kill her! She has to figure all this out while trying to evade capture from every person, thing, or beast out there, around every corner waiting to get the hands on Fiona the 10, the most valuable fec known!

But Fiona is lucky when she runs into a old neighbor along the way that now works with the Milita and at first he's a little reluctant to help Fiona because of her tattoo. But after seeing that she is a normal person and not a fec, he fights for her survival and even puts her safety above his! All while trying to fight the unedifying attraction he is having towards her and that is a BIG NO, NO! You don't catch feelings for the fec's!

I mean this book was AMAZING, I really loved it and I loved the writing style Bethany has created in Stung! This book is an EASY 5 stars and it really deserves SO MUCH MORE then just a 5!

I will be eagerly awaiting the second book in this series, expected to release in January 2014! So long away, I don't know how I'll ever survive that long without the sequel! :)
Profile Image for Tee Loves Books.
941 reviews
April 17, 2013
I'm a big fan of dystopians, so when Stung came across my radar I was intrigued. Though this "sleeping beauty of the apocalypse" story didn't sound all that unique, I found myself completely engrossed in the sickening and disturbing world Bethany Wiggins created. With a solid hero/heroine duo, a clever apocalyptic plot (I always wondered when bees would play a starring role in the end of the world), and a storyline that is never bogged down with fact-telling lulls, Stung easily held my interest and made my heart flutter from the unexpected romance blooming amidst all of the destruction and violence.

But I can't remember why I have a tattoo on my hand, or why I have to hide it. I can't remember when my body stopped looking thirteen and started looking like...a woman's .

When Fiona woke up in an annihilated version of her bedroom, with no memory of anything past the year she was 13, she was so completely lost. Her confusion turned to disgust and terror when she ventured out and realized what was going on around her, right down to the worm-eating feces-dwellers (fecs) and the feral human "pets." Wiggins' descriptive writing sucked me right into the stomach-turning world Fiona is experiencing for the first time, and her desperation as she struggled to keep herself and her mysterious ten-legged spider tattoo hidden. When Fiona found herself caught by armed men who seemed terrified of what the ink on her hand represented, it had me completely intrigued. This slip of a thing had militia men scared to go anywhere near her, and I loved how emasculating this was given how cruel the men were. The fecs were dealt with like cattle and treated like the scum of the earth because of what they could become, and it makes you wonder what it would take for humans to sink to this level of barbarianism.

Fiona gradually began to remember what led to the current state of the country, and learned that her tattoo meant she'd survived something no one else had. This makes her a target for both sides, the normal humans beyond the wall, and the lawless and violent men on the wrong side. There was pretty much non-stop suspense for the second half of this story thanks to all of the threats to Fiona's life, and she was pretty bad-ass when push came to shove!

So now let's get to the nitty-gritty, the part of the story we all look forward to; the love interest. Bowen is no knight in shining armor when he and Fiona first meet, and in fact he's just as cruel as the rest of the militia. But he and Fiona weren't strangers after all, and when he discovered her identity it definitely made their situation much more exciting. Gradually the cold treatment he gave Fiona thawed out as they were forced to spend so much time together, and he was strong for her whenever she needed him. I know there are readers who will take issue with the quick turn-around in Fiona and Bowen's feelings for each other, but I'm always a little less critical of this with dystopian stories. When the world is crumbling around you, I like to think it's natural to cling to the hope love brings. Because of that, it didn't bother me that after they faced several days of violence, fear, and pain together, these two abandoned teens ended up falling for each other through their ordeal.

Stung is wrapped up fairly quickly in the end of what I assume to be a standalone piece. I would have preferred a longer story that didn't seem to rush to the finish line quite so much, but I also liked that we don't have to wait across three books to see how things will turn out for a change. This will probably be one of those love-it or hate-it books, but if you're looking for something different I think Stung is a great choice!

This and other of my reviews can be found at: http://www.autumnreview.com/search/la...

Profile Image for Gray Cox.
Author 4 books165 followers
May 16, 2018
Not your typical dystopian.

This is so unique and not to mention a clean read??? I'm impressed, I hope the second book is just a good.
376 reviews351 followers
March 27, 2013
This review and others are posted at Read, Rinse, Repeat.

The opening of Stung is very similar to the recent Pretty Girl-13; a young girl suddenly finds herself at her home, seeking her parents, with a memory loss of several years. Both girls believe themselves to be thirteen and are surprised to see their "new" bodies. But whereas Angie from Pretty Girl-13 falls into the shocked and loving arms of her parents, Fiona falls out of a bathroom window as she struggles to escape a crazed, animalistic man who attempts to capture her. When she stares into the man's wild eyes, she realizes it's her twin brother, Jonah.

One of the first thing she notices is a strange tattoo on her hand; how did THAT get there? Oddly, she'd seen it on Jonah's hand, too. It's not immediately clear what the mark indicates, but we know it's not good when Fiona discovers it's known as "The Mark of the Beast." She wanders through a deserted Denver neighborhood, seeing only snarling, snapping dogs until...a group of men pointing assault rifles at her. A child appears and escorts Fiona underground through a manhole cover to safety. The child, a snarky girl named Arrin, demands payment for her trouble in the form of precious food or honey, and Fiona realizes again that this is not the world she remembers.

An exciting opening to this book quickly starts to fall apart, despite an interesting story that had a lot of potential. Arrin advises Fiona to look like a boy in order to stay safe. This involves chopping off her hair and binding her breasts. And...it works. I had a hard time with this. I'm going to guess that at least 90% of teenage girls and women will still look female, even with short hair. Maybe Fiona falls into that (generous) 10% who don't? The imperative for Fiona to pass as a male was a major focal point of the book that quickly became tiresome. I understand the point that Wiggins was making; it's similar to what we hear about the danger a population of long-term jailed men could pose to a woman, but it was referenced so many times that I lost interest.

I felt very strongly for Fiona's romantic interest, Dreyden. Unfortunately, those feelings were all negative. Is it ok that he was abusive towards Fiona when he believed she was a young boy but suddenly turned nice when he realized the truth? Not in my book. He is two completely different characters - a disgusting, violent bully one moment and then suddenly gallant and protective the next. This is what I refer to as an author switcheroo, and I didn't buy it. Dreyden tells Fiona at one point to shut up, and there's not a bit of reaction or response from Fiona. I don't care how many zombie-ish people or evil men were after me, but if someone told me to shut up, my reaction would be something a bit more than silence. Was it supposed to be sign he's a powerful, take-charge guy? Incidentally, later on, another character also tells Fiona to shut up, but by that point, I was ready for her to shut up, too. The blindingly quick progression of this romance is hard to believe, and when the first "I love you" comes, you might scratch your head as I did, wondering how Fiona and Dreyden suddenly got to that point.

The biggest flaw of the book, and the hardest one to overlook, is Fiona. She is not a heroine who inspires much sympathy or compassion. The phrase that comes to mind is wet noodle; she's very bland, not memorable, and nearly devoid of personality. In fact, I'd be hard-pressed to describe any of Fiona's personality traits. Picture Bella Swan, and then strip away almost every ounce of her already thread-bare charisma. Now you've got a good picture of Fiona.

Random note: There was SO MUCH blood in this book. Don't get me wrong - I don't mind a little (or a lot) of blood, but Fiona and Dreyden spent so much time bleeding from various injuries, both big and small, that I wondered how they had the energy to walk around, let alone engage in all of the vigorous fighting.

Eye Roll-Inducing Twist # 1: A character states a revelation about Fiona 3/4 of the way through, everyone (including Fiona herself) was shocked. I was thinking, "Wait...didn't we already know this?"

Eye Roll-Inducing Twist # 2: A twist involving a secondary character that had no purpose I could discern other than as an attempt to add shock value. No, I was not expecting it, but I also didn't care because it had no impact on the plot.

Melodramatic quote alert: "I'll come for you as soon as I can. I promise. Just...don't give up hope. And fight to stay alive if you have to. Fight!"
Profile Image for Bethany Wiggins.
Author 10 books743 followers
March 26, 2013

Fiona Tarsis wakes up to a world of nightmares in this fast-paced, fever-bright post-apocalyptic adventure.

Her brother’s a monster, her Denver suburb’s a wasteland, and she doesn’t even recognize herself or the 10-legged tattoo on her hand. Fiona has no memory of the last four years or how the world changed, but she quickly learns how dangerous life is outside the wall. After seeking assistance from Arrin—a Fec, or sewer-dweller, of indeterminate gender and murky motives—Fiona is captured by the militia and seems destined for a short and painful life in a laboratory. Or worse—like all vaccinated children, Fiona bears the mark, and she could turn into a ravening beast at any moment—but she is also a female in a barren and depopulated world. Fiona loses her innocence but not her hope as she dives into chase scenes, gun battles, gladiatorial fights and a tentative romance with her rescuer/captor Dreyden Bowen. Wiggins (Shifting 2011) muses on the dangers of science and medicine and deftly maps out the chain of events that has led to catastrophe, creating a violent world vastly different from ours but still recognizable. With a stirring conclusion and space for a sequel, it’s an altogether captivating story.

Readers will gladly be bitten by this bug. (Science fiction. 12 & up)
Profile Image for Rayne.
862 reviews288 followers
July 11, 2013
It took me a while to even consider reading this book. The reviews weren't exactly glowing and the blurb alone made me suspicious of just how much suspension of disbelief it would demand of me to make this story work. Still, when I saw it was on sale for Kindle, I said "what the heck? It's only $3. How much could I possibly regret spending 3 bucks on a book?". As it turns out, quite a lot.

I can manage to turn down my skepticism and even tolerate absolute implausibility if there is something in the novel that makes it worth it. I won't like it and it'll probably end up being reflected on my rating or review, but if I am entertained in any way, I can deal with it. Stung gave me nothing in exchange for my patience except for eyerolls and sighs of exasperation and excessive 'is it over?' whinning. Well, to be fair, this book had a great morphine effect and I only had to read a couple of pages in order to be knocked out into dreamland. So kudos for that.

I think this book tried to be way too many things and achieved to be none. It was a post-apocalyptic dystopia taking up issues of the excesses of scientific pursuits, military abuse, oppression of the masses, elitism governmental corruption and environmental problems, while trying to make space for romance and, of course, cage fighting and 'zombie' killing. Some books manage to make all that work, this one didn't. This world was so poorly constructed, the writing so tepid at best, the science so backwards, the plot so lacking, the protagonist so irritatingly stupid, the romance so instant and chemistry-less and the love interest so douchey, that it simply had no chance of working at all. Plus, it was so ridiculously sexist. Women were weak and meek and simply unable to fend for themselves or turning into anything but sex slaves or breeders. The book literally states several times that the only out women found was killing themselves. Then again, if all remaining women were as incompetent as the protagonist was, it is no wonder the female sex is almost extinct. On the other hand, this book keeps perpetuating the idea that, in a post-apocalyptic setting, men will inevitably turn into sex-crazed and violent rapists and murderers and women better run because the sight of two legs will immediately send all men in the area into a raping, murdering frenzy. Actually, the only guy not wanting to tear off Fiona's pants at the sight of her beautiful face and body, in spite of being covered in shit and grime and dirt and sporting a terrible haircut that makes her look like a boy, is our charming love interest, whose best attributes were constantly growling at Fiona, torturing her with electric shock manacles, ordering her around, reminding her that he could kill her and calling her "Fotard". That is, before he turns into a total cheese monster and starts saying crap like he would rather have her eat her heart than seeing her in danger because she already owns his heart. Bleh.

The writing in this novel is so stilted, disjointed and unrefined, I often got confused about what was going on. My levels of boredom with it are probably to blame for that as well.
I was going to give this book 2 stars, but, right now, I am way too annoyed with it. That is not to say that Stung is absolutely horrible. There were some interesting concepts and come nicely-constructed actions scenes, but they are not enough for me right now to give it more that 1.5 stars.

Profile Image for Kira Simion.
827 reviews127 followers
February 5, 2017
I love retellings because I pretty much know what's going to happen but, I also love retellings because you don't know HOW they're going to happen.

Edit: 11-19-16

There were many problems with the characters and plot that irked me, but I liked the idea of need going extinct and being mutated because bees are dying and so that connects to the world in a way.

Overall, I don't believe I'll read the second book, but I recommend the book for people who like romance, don't mind some plot holes, and are okay with some eye rolling and face palming.

2 reviews2 followers
March 12, 2012
Absolutely, positively awesome. I'm not going to say much about it because I don't want to ruin anything. It's a one-night read!
Profile Image for Matt.
295 reviews3 followers
August 11, 2016
My eyes bled while I was reading this. That's a new one.
Profile Image for Monique V.
553 reviews67 followers
July 8, 2016
4.5/5 stars
Such a quick well written book! This book is brutal and the pacing is fast. It was a bit short though. I would still recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick read!
260 reviews104 followers
February 21, 2016
Both the review and a giveaway can be found here.

3.5 stars

Fiona wakes up in her room, assuming it's a day like any other. That's until she notices the poor state of her room - and not just her room, but her whole house. Everywhere is faded, dusty...empty. And everything outside is dead. Then there's the strange tattoo on the back of her right hand. She learns that those who have been branded with this tattoo all turn into beasts, savage and insane; the streets, sewers and tunnels are their hunting grounds, preying on anyone not careful enough or quick enough. A wall exists to separate the beasts and their prey from the elite, and those who live on the other side of the wall are determined to kill all of those who have the tattoo. Fiona's status as a marked person - a marked girl - has now made her a target.

When reading this you're struck with the frightening thought that some of this could actually happen. The causes of the new, barren world in Stung are fully explained, and there is a possibility that something like this could happen. And it all comes down to bees. A lot of us look at them as insects to avoid at all costs because big buzzing creatures that sting? Not exactly best friend material. And yet we rely on them far more than we might think. There is also irony in the fact that those in society who used to be the elite are now the mindless beasts who roam the streets, something that is also brought up within the book itself. Wiggins presents an intriguing yet harsh world, in which you can see clearly just how much it takes to survive.

Fiona was a bit of a mixed character for me. I liked her in the sense that she is a good person, and I appreciated her readiness to fight. I liked that she wasn't afraid to confront something, instead doing what she could to defend herself - for the most part, anyway. At the same time, however, I didn't fail to notice how easily tears seemed to come to her. I accepted that she had lost an incredible amount, and that there were times when those tears were definitely deserved. But I also wanted her to be a little bit stronger. In addition to this was her lack of thinking. This made her somewhat frustrating at times. Bowen was much more sensible, and I liked the contrast between the tough side of him and the more vulnerable side. His history is a sad one, and I did feel sorry for him. The relationship between them was sweet, although this did come with its problems. It started off slowly, which really worked, but then seemed to develop too quickly for my liking. Still, there was a conspicuous absence of insta-love and love triangle, which in itself is something to be very grateful for.

Overall Stung is a book that, while flawed, is easy to enjoy. Wiggins manages to create this dystopian world and provide hope for it in one book, which is very impressive. I did see mention on her website of a second installment to come next year, so I'm definitely curious to see where this will be taken. This is still one that can be read on its own, however, as all the questions that are brought up while reading this do get answered.
Profile Image for Dark Faerie Tales.
2,274 reviews547 followers
April 21, 2013
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.

Quick & Dirty: This was an action packed dystopian novel with a great plot, sweet romance, fun characters, all set in an intriguing world.

Opening Sentence: I don’t remember going to sleep.

The Review:

Fiona doesn’t remember going to sleep; her last memory was when she was 13 years old. She was happily living with her family. Her dad was retired from the air force, her older sister was in college, and her twin brother was one of her best friends. As she wakes up in her room, her house looks as if it has been abandoned for years. She has a strange tattoo on her right hand and she has no idea what has happened. She soon finds out that the world is very different from what she remembers. She seems to be much older than 13 years old, and her family is missing. The world has become overrun with beasts that use to be human. There was a vaccination that went terribly wrong and turned all its recipients into beasts. There are different levels of beasts depending on how long they got the vaccination; the highest level is a 10 because they got the vaccination for ten months. Level 10s are the strongest and most ferocious. The beasts have no humanity left in them, and they kill without hesitation.

To protect the rest of the people, a walled city has been built and only those with the best of health and enough money have been allowed to reside in the city. Everyone else is left outside to fend for themselves. The militias guard the walls and any beasts that are captured are sent to the labs to be evaluated so a cure can be found. Fiona has the tattoo and she is a level 10, but she is totally normal. She has no systems that point to her being a beast. Everyone is terrified of her and she doesn’t understand why. As she tries to recover her memories about what happened to her she has to survive living outside the wall.

I really liked Fiona. She grows a lot throughout the book. At first she is the total damsel in distress, but as time goes on she really starts to fight for herself and those she cares about. She is a little too trusting at times, but she tries to help others and do what’s right. She has a rough time with the situation she is in, but most of the time she stays positive. I felt that she was easy to connect with and I really enjoyed getting to know her.

Dreyden Bowan is Fiona’s savior. They were neighbors growing up and he is now in the Militia. When she gets captured he is assigned to be her protector until they can hand her over to the lab. At first he doesn’t recognize her, and he is scared of her just like everyone else. In this new world girls are outnumbered 10 to 1 and it is very dangerous to be an unprotected female for obvious reasons. Bowan becomes her protector, friend, and eventually something more. When they were kids he would always tease her, and he was a funny sweet kid. Living in the modern world has hardened him, but he still has a soft spot for Fiona. He risks everything to protect her and keep her safe. I would definitely say that he is a swoon worthy boy and I totally loved him.

This was a really great book. The idea was new and refreshing for a dystopian novel. The book flowed really well and I had a really hard time putting it down. I loved the romance; it developed slow and really sweet. The plot was full of drama, betrayal, action, romance, and suspense. I loved the characters and the story was amazing. This is the first book I have read by Bethany, but after this I will defiantly be reading more from her. I would highly recommend this book to anyone that like dystopian novels.

Notable Scene:

I roll onto my side, toward the beast, and whimper at what I see. A circle of militia, at least twenty thick, surround the beast and two other people. The militia have their Tasers and automatic weapons trained on the beast, following its every move.

The beast’s muscles twitch and spasm from the electrical residue of the Tasers, but it doesn’t seem to care.

Bowen, his hands raised, speaks soothing words to the beast as he slowly walks toward it. But the beast isn’t paying attention to him. It is looking at the third person trapped inside the armed circle of militia.


Its dark eyes, the irises overwhelmed with pupil, devour me.

And there is nothing human about the way it stares. I am looking into the eyes of a wild animal. A very deadly, brawny wild animal. Bowen looks between the beast and me as if debating something. His jaw pulses, his body goes taut, and then, as if it pains him, he steps between the beast and me.

“You move, you die,” he says to the beast, his voice no longer calm and soothing.

The beast growls and fakes a lunge forward, but Bowen doesn’t budge. A deep, gravelly hum interrupts the silent night, growing slowly louder, like a jet tearing across the sky. And then the sound grates against the night, vibrating in my ears. It is coming from the beast’s mouth. It leaps forward and swats Bowen aside, ?inging him through the air. And then it is just the beast and me. It stares at me, lips pulled back from its stained teeth, drool coating its skin, eyes starved, as if it is about to devour a feast. Me.

FTC Advisory: Walker Childrens/Bloomsbury provided me with a copy of Stung. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
Profile Image for Natalie.
280 reviews593 followers
April 5, 2013
In a Sentence: Though Stung took place in an engrossing, unique, and creative post-apocalyptic world, the characters populating its pages seemed mediocre at best.

My Thoughts

When I was offered a chance to review Stung for this blog tour, I had to accept. As many of my frequent visitors know, I've been on a seldom-broken hiatus for the majority of this semester due to grad school, teaching, and some ongoing medical issues. In spite of this, I couldn't pass up the chance to look at a promising post-apocalyptic YA release, considering that post-apocalyptic literature is one of my favorite genres.

In some ways, I was really pleased with how Stung turned out. Wiggins took an idea that many of us are familiar with in modern times (the mysterious case of the disappearing bees), and imagined what would happen to humankind in the future if this problem escalated. The result is the complete breakdown of society and government as we know it, and as fans of dystopian and post-apocalyptic lit. can probably guess, when safety and order go out the window, the rest of our collective sanity tends to go with it.

Anyways, I really did enjoy the world-building. Where Stung fell flat for me was in its characters. Many of them seemed to only exist on one, or maybe two levels, and for those of you who know me well, I like my characters to be multifaceted--to be complex and well-developed. In Stung, I felt that the characters were kind of cookie-cutter. Other than the world that they lived in, the characters seemed like they could have been pulled from a number of other books that I've read in the genre.Another issue I had while reading Stung is that I felt as if the creative potential that existed within this broken, despotic world was sacrificed (or at least reduced) in order to throw a love story in the mix, and not an especially original love story at that.

Finally, I found myself being a little skeptical of some of the ways men were described as a result of the breakdown of society. In this new world, there are seven men alive for every one woman, so the continuing existence of humanity is at risk. However, the reason why women are so much more rare than men is never really explained, and it seems like, without having a steady source of womanly love at their beck and call, a large percentage of the male population turn into chauvinists and rapists. Here's just one quote that bothered me:

"But that's not the main problem."

"Then what is?"

"They know you're a girl."

I frown, confused.

"Most of them haven't set eyes on a woman in more than a year, Fo. Let alone a young, pretty woman." **

And that's just the description of the guys in the militia. Let's not even talk about the ones who exist outside the government (they're flat out described as rapists and murderers). Even the main male character, Bowen, is described as having some of these latent urges (though he vehemently struggles against them)

"No," he says. "You cannot wear that."

I look down at the sundress. "What's wrong with it?"

He drags a hand over his weary face. "You look like a . . . woman. It's not safe."

I think of the raiders and look back down at the dress. "When we leave, I'll change," I say. "But for now, it's comfortable. I feel like the old me."

. . . "Fo, you're not safe from me. . . . Fo, I'm a man, and you're a beautiful woman. But you're also a Level Ten, and when I look at you, especially when you're dressed like this, I can't think straight, because even though my brain tells me you're the most dangerous thing I've ever encountered, my heart . . . my body--" **

Furthermore, Bowen, being the embodiment of virtuous manhood, develops a protector complex for Fiona that, wait for it, turns into love, true love. Fiona rarely shows the capacity (or even desire) to be the agent of her own life, and relies almost completely upon Bowen not only for her safety, but for food, water, and shelter as well.

Don't get me wrong, I think that Wiggins displayed a lot of talent in the way she crafted the world of Stung. I flew through this book in a matter of hours despite my issues with the characterization and stereotypes mentioned above. After finishing the book though, I was left feeling unsatisfied. However, if Stung sounds like your kind of thing, don't let me discourage you. Plenty of other readers have really enjoyed it, as you can tell by reading other reviews on Goodreads.

**Quotes taken from e-ARC and may not be the same as in final copy.**
Profile Image for Jean-Paul Adriaansen.
267 reviews23 followers
January 20, 2013
What a story. It makes you forget The Hunger Games. Action from the first till the last page. A Super Young Adult book.
A young girl wakes up in a dilapidated house, her hand marked with an insect-like tattoo. The world has changed for the bad and she is on the wrong side of the wall ...
Profile Image for Hannah.
927 reviews8 followers
February 3, 2016
An apocalyptic version of sleeping beauty set in the future where half the population has turned into monsters and honey has become the new currency!

Fiona remembers being 13 years old, but when she wakes up and sees herself in the mirror she thinks its her older "adult" sister. Somehow, over night she has become a woman. She doesn't remember wearing the clothes she is wearing, or when she got hips and a chest, and she really has no idea how her house has turned into a dilapidated mess, but when her twin brother shows up looking, and acting, like an older-monster version of himself Fiona flees. Her town has turned into something she dosen't understand. There are no plants, no animals, the few people she sees treat her like she is a threat until a child drags her into the sewers to save her life from the monsters only to have Fiona risk her life going up against the militia to save another boy. But being caught by the militia turns out to be the best thing to happen to her. She is reunited with someone from her past. Maybe he can give her some answers, if only he would stop treating her like some kind of monster...

Okay seriously, How great is this book! I love the whole retold fairy tale and that's why I requested this with netgaley.com so I could read the ebook, but when I started reading it I realized that this is a futuristic horror story with a romance tumbled in just right and the whole sleeping beauty thing is not whats important at all. The cover of this book kind of turned me away at first, but when I heard what it was about I decided I wanted to give it a chance. I'm so glad I did. This is one of the best books I've read in a while. The mystery of the book is what I love the most about it. The author gives the reader the info they need little by little so the suspense keeps building until you finally realize what is happening. I loved this book and I look forward to reading more by this author in the future. Everyone needs to read this one!
Profile Image for Lisa Mandina.
1,903 reviews437 followers
April 3, 2013
I was unsure on whether to give this book a 4 or 5 on Goodreads, but I ended up rounding up, as this book had so many unique and kind of realistic (science-wise) ideas, and, when I put it down, I wondered what would happen next. Now, while I think it definitely ended in a way that worked, and it could definitely be a stand alone novel, I think they threw in a little bit at the very end that means it might go on. So we'll see.
The premise of this story you might be able to kind of guess from the title, "Stung", as well as the picture on the cover. It has to do with insects, bees to be exact. Most people have heard that we have a possible situation with bees being endangered animals. And as a science teacher, I hope that people realize just how bad it would be if they did go extinct. Now, I'm not a big fan of any kind of insect. I scream like a girl and hate having to kill bees or wasps or spiders. Or the nasty house centipedes I first learned about when moving into my current house a few years ago. But, again, as a science teacher, I do realize how important "bugs" are to the whole world. And bees in particular. Okay, enough about that, and more about the story.
To read the rest of my review go to Lisa Loves Literature.
Profile Image for Angela Fristoe.
Author 22 books188 followers
March 9, 2013
I loved that this book jumped right into the action. The rest of the story was actually really fast paced. Fiona is on the run and doesn't know who to trust in a world she has no memory of. The action is what made this a fast read and I read it pretty much straight through in one sitting (maybe stopping briefly for food).

I loved the concept of the tattoo marking her as 'infected' and early on we learn that her mark signals people that she is among the deadliest of all the marked. I can't expand much more on how they were marked or 'infected' without giving away too much, but I will say that the explanation was interesting and I was satisfied with the science of it (or lack of science, depending on your personal preference for detailed scientific explanations).

The romance between Fiona and Bowen didn't do much for me. I liked both characters and could see a bit of a spark between them but the constant action along with the tight time frame had me doubting the intensity of what they claim to feel. I would have been just as happy without the romance.
Profile Image for Emily.
352 reviews132 followers
August 20, 2021
Re-Read Review ● Rating: 3/5 stars

This is why I don’t like rereading books I enjoyed when I was younger. Times have changed, my mind has changed, and my standards for writing have increased. Even though I didn’t enjoy this book as much this time around, I didn’t hate it. I noticed the writing was choppy, the storyline was simple, the romance was poorly developed, and the dialogue was absolutely laughable at times…but I still enjoyed it. Yes, there were plot holes and sometimes situations were solved too easily, but so what? I still liked it! The idea for the book? GENIUS. The ending tied up everything, explaining away how coincidental Bowen and Fiona’s meeting was and the whole premise of the book. It all made sense in the end and, looking back, the mystery of what exactly had happened and the role Fiona played in it was really well done. There were definitely some loose ends and plot holes that REALLY bug me.

And Fiona…I’m torn. On the one hand, I understand she was asleep when the world went to shit and has no idea what has been going on and hasn’t had to develop any survival skills, but come on, at least try to learn. I understand that not everyone can be badass and fight and shoot and stand up for themselves, but I would have at least liked to see her show some initiative when it came to being able to ensure her own survival. She was completely helpless and totally fine with everyone else risking their lives to protect her. It was almost like the narrative set up the expectation that all the men would bend over backwards to protect her. Everyone threw themselves in front of her and made her the priority, and that just didn’t sit right with me. She was concerned about Bowen and didn’t think of him simply as her bodyguard, but if the man you love is constantly putting himself in danger to protect you, wouldn’t you want to try and take some of the responsibility off his shoulders? I know that’s just how the author wrote her and times have changed since the book came out in 2013, but still. She just seemed like a bland character who’s only personality quirk is she plays piano and stares at her neighbor while he makes out with girls. Maybe she will improve in the future. Bowen was awesome, but he was flat too. I mean come on, try to be a little less blatant. He was a good guy though, and he had more depth than Fiona. He had a backstory, he had a family who impacted and changed him. And from what I can tell, he was hot as hell. Is that a shallow way to think? Well, that’s how the character was written.

Their romance was very…sudden. I guess I just have higher expectations for romantic development since I’ve become more dedicated to book and television series that have the time to build these relationships well. Not all books have that option, especially if they are stand-alone or a duology. But even so, they could have made that declaration later on in the book. But I guess the author needed a reason to justify why Bowen was risking his neck every two seconds to keep her alive. Once they were together, though, they were pretty cute. Fiona didn’t not care about him, she was willing to sacrifice herself for him several times. I guess what she couldn’t provide in survival skills she compensated for with selflessness, which I respect. I liked them together, and I didn’t particularly dislike either of them, it’s just Fiona rubbed me the wrong way sometimes.

This was by no means a bad or unenjoyable book, it’s just not the most well-written piece of literature to ever exist. Which is fine, not all books have to be masterpieces, some can just be unjustifiably enjoyable and that is enough. And also, who am I to talk about writing quality? I can barely write a book review.

First Read Review ● Rating: 5/5 stars

What an amazing, amazing book. Wow. I don’t even know where to begin. I was so into this book that at random times I was literally yelling at the pages, and my mom had to ask me if I was okay. This book sucks you in so much and you can’t get out. The idea for this book is absolutely amazing and unique, and the execution was perfect. I loved how Wiggins didn’t immediately describe everything about the world and added that little bit of mystery about who Fiona was and what happened to her. The writing was so amazing, and the story line was fast-paced and exciting. One thing that I sometimes find lacking in books is a thrilling, believable escape from a difficult situation. In this book, there are several situations where you are sure everyone is going to die, but Wiggins breaks them out in a very well thought-out way, and leaves you sitting there with an open mouth, asking yourself “How the heck did they survive that?”. And then you have the romance which, I will admit, Wiggins didn’t really develop very much, but once it was there it was so sweet and genuine, I just loved it. The ending was absolutely amazing, thrilling, and perfectly executed. I don’t usually cry in books, but I was very close to crying because of what happened in the ending. It was just so heart-wrenching and genuine that I couldn’t help it. My one problem with this book is that there was one huge twist in this book, and Wiggins kind of hinted about two pages before it happened what was going to happen. It took away the surprise and “what the heck just happened” aspect from the twist, and I really wished that it had just happened suddenly, without any hints before. That little thing shouldn’t bother me as much as it did, it’s just that the rest of the book was so well done that this one little mess-up looked like a huge, glaring mistake. Even though it really wasn’t.

Of course, such a thrilling, well-written book has to have a kick-butt cast, and this one doesn’t disappoint. I absolutely LOVED this cast. Fiona was such a strong ,well-developed character, and she completely controlled the book. And then there’s Bowen. Don’t even get me started on how awesome this guy is. He was such a attractive, strong character, but also kind and caring, that you couldn’t help but fall in love with him. And, like I said before, once the romance was established, it was so well-done and heartwrenching that you can’t help but love it.

For those of you who didn’t know, this book is a spin on Sleeping Beauty . I don’t know about you guys, but I like this story better. What with the amazing idea and story line, kick-butt characters, sweet romance, and events that could make Professor Umbridge cry, this is a book you CAN NOT pass up.
Profile Image for Sarah.
287 reviews8 followers
March 28, 2013
See more reviews at The Best Books Ever!

My feelings about this book can be summed up pretty easily in one GIF:

Because at first I was all YES THIS IS AWESOME THIS BOOK IS SO CREEPY AND UNSETTLING AND I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT IT but by about 60% in I was like NO WAIT STOP GO BACK THIS IS NOT THE BOOK I THOUGHT I WAS READING and then I got to the epilogue and I was like COME ON ARE YOU KIDDING ME. (My word choice might have been less charitable but we like to keep it clean around here.)

I have never been more sad about not liking a book, to be totally honest. The premise is fascinating and at least vaguely grounded in reality -- not the maniacal zombie beasts part, but the parts which are rooted in the very current, real-world problem of honeybees dying at alarming rates. In the first few chapters, we are immediately plunged into a filthy, desperate, terrifying world with Fiona, who has no memory of what possibly went wrong, and it's absolutely thrilling. Like, heart pounding in your chest, chills down your spine. I thought it was masterfully written, and captured the horror of suddenly waking up in this terrible world where there are violent beasts and armed militias and no hope whatsoever. With both the reader and Fiona having no context for what's happening, the opening was so very effective at building mood and tension.

And then the book turned into a completely unadvertised love story.


Now, despite the fact that I spend a lot of time complaining about romances, I am not totally anti-love story. I just want it to be realistic and not icky. Stung gets the realistic part right -- you try being around Hottie McHotterson 24/7, the only person who treats you like you're a real person, and not falling for them -- but fails on the icky factor. Here's why it didn't work for me (I will be vague, so as to avoid big spoilers, especially considering that the love story aspect isn't even promoted in the book summary):

* Fiona wakes up with the body of someone in her late teens, but the last thing she remembers is a time period roughly around her 13th birthday. So she's got the mind of a tween/early teen and the body of a woman. I don't know, if I were Hottie McHotterson, I'd maybe be taken aback by this fact. Fiona hardly even has time to adjust to this horrible new world she's found herself in, let alone her new body and advanced age. The love interest knows this - he knows about the years Fiona is missing - but it doesn't seem to give him much pause.
* In true YA fashion, things progress from mutual dislike of one another to "I don't want to live without you" in no time flat. A backstory is given for the characters to try to give their relationship a little more context and realism, but it didn't work for me, and also helped emphasize how weird my first point there was.
* One character calls Fiona a nickname from their school years: Fotard. It's one of those bullying, pigtail-pulling sorts of names, but all I could think of was that with so much attention and emphasis on trying to eradicate "the r-word" as a slur from people's vocabulary, the author surely could have picked something else. There's got to be another teasing sort of nickname for Fiona which doesn't have the association with calling someone you don't like or someone who is different from you "retarded". Especially considering the fact that the name winds up being used somewhat affectionately by the characters.
* Rape, or threat thereof, as a plot point. I have complained about it before and will continue complaining about it every time I see it. This book basically says that all women need to hide themselves away/dress like boys/be ugly in order to not get raped, and that all men are basically so starved for that sort of contact that they can't control themselves and will force themselves on any woman around. As long as she's hot. It is a stupid, stupid plot point and it's sexist all around and a cop-out and I'm tired of seeing it in media.
* By the end of the book, things start to fall apart. There was a lot of telling-not-showing and a lot of things happened very quickly in ways that didn't always make sense on a first read-through. (As a grown adult who has been reading for longer than some published authors have been alive, I should not have to read passages of a book marketed towards teens several times to understand what happened.) And there's also a case of Completely Unnecessary Epilogue. I understand that authors and publishers want to leave books open for a potential series if they perform well, but Stung had a completely satisfactory ending on its own. The epilogue felt cheap and tacked on, like it was a ploy to please, please let a sequel get green-lit.

Sorry if I sound bitter, but the beginning gave me such hope and the rest of the book didn't live up to it, in my opinion. I give the first few chapters of this book five solid resounding stars for the horror and creep-factor, and then I take off a couple for the way I felt let down by the rest of the story. It's another case of getting something totally different from what I was expecting, I suppose.
Profile Image for Jillyn.
732 reviews
April 13, 2013
Fiona wakes up to a world that's different from the world she fell asleep in. She's alone in her dirtied, abandoned room with a tattoo on her wrist- an oval with five lines on either side. She knows she should keep it hidden as she walks out into the barren wasteland that, before the bees, was once her home. She must find out the meaning behind her tattoo, why she has been left alone, and why everyone who sees her mark wants her dead.


I'm honestly torn here on a rating. I'm going to say a 2.5. It had some really strong points, but too many negatives for me to give it a three.

First, the positives.

+I love the concept. Bees are important, and most of us don't think about the impact that they have on the Earth on a daily basis. It was cool to see how honey became a luxury good, and just how much the world could be in danger if they were simply to disappear (or be modified by the government.....).

+In true dystopian style, I like the conflicting levels in society. The Fecs, who live in the sewers, the beasts, who are dangerous, the criminal raiders, and those who are allowed inside the wall. Each were affected differently by the change, and none of them are an ideal place to be in.

+I love a good fight to the death. A bit like the Hunger Games, those with the tattoo are pitted against each other in fights until only one is standing. There's something morbidly fascinating about children/young adults trying to kill each other, and I liked that addition to this story.

+I love the cover design. It does represent the major plot of the story in a cool if simplistic way.

But for me, that's where the positives end.

-Instant love. Why is that such a recurring theme for the books I read lately? What happened to learning to love someone, or even the old cliche of enemies becoming loves? I found the main couple in this book to be almost nonsensical and a bit over the top, especially considering all of the danger and threats surrounding them.

-The beasts (those injected with the vaccine in the "change") went from being sci-fi creations to being odd fantasy mixtures. Strong, crazy, violent.... With healing saliva? No thanks.

-Arrin/Arris is one of the most insufferable characters I've ever come across. I don't care what gender they are, or what point in the book it is, they're mean and little and always popping up a bit too conveniently. I was very excited at the end of the book when they got what was coming to them.

-It really fell apart for me in the end. I feel like it was somehow both rushed, and yet, didn't answer anything. At the end of soap operas, when they some up all of the crazy shenanigans about twins and comas and alien babies.... Well, that's how this ending felt for me.... But I was left with questions.

*Why am I supposed to hate the government so much? I understand it's supposed to be evil, but there wasn't enough background information for me to feel passionately about their downfall.

*Where were the bees? The book is called Stung. There's a bee on the cover. But really, they weren't discussed very much. I would have liked to learn more about them, or the change, or something.

*Why is there a fairy tale style happy ending at the end of a dystopian novel? Everything was somehow patched up at the end.... I'm not sure if shit's about to go down in a sequel, or if that really is just a very very very wishful thinking type end scenario, but I feel like I was left out of part of the story.

-To be honest, I didn't find the writing itself to be all that well structured or thought out. The characters felt very shallow and underdeveloped- I didn't really care who lived or died throughout most of the novel. The characters keep referring to the incident that changed America as "before everything changed." I feel like it needed a name, Bee Day or something. Admittedly, whenever I read that line, I actually read "everything changed when the fire nation attacked". The villains were talked up as being super dangerous and rape-y, but the protagonists didn't really seem to have much of a challenge. A quote from the book that sums up the writing in my eyes: “Three minutes,” the doctor says over his shoulder, sounding just like a … doctor." ....Really?

All in all I was disappointed with this book. I thought it was going to be a four star read, until the last quarter or so just fell apart for me. I cannot stress this enough I love the concept for this book, and I want to like it. Unfortunately, it fell short. I wouldn't really recommend this, but if you're a fan of books like The Hunger Games or Matched, you may like this. If you didn't like The Hunger Games, I wouldn't recommend getting this book.

Thank you to WinterHaven Books blog for my ARC copy. This review can also be found on my blog, Bitches n Prose.
Profile Image for Crystal.
449 reviews92 followers
March 8, 2013
I never knew or even thought about how important bees are to our world.

"Lots of plants will die without the bees' pollinating them. And if the plants start dying, then the things that eat plants will start to die, like cows and chickens, which means no more meat for us to eat. If we have no fruits or vegetables or grains to eat, and no meat, our world will experience major famine"

Very eye opening! If bees did become extinct what do you think would happen? Well in Stung, a group of scientist develop a modify bee that was supposed to stop the effects of the bees going extinct only things went wrong and people started dying from the bee stings. So so many things went wrong with the mod bees and the end result was a us vs them type world where some people lived inside the wall while the others lived outside it and had to fend for themselves. The ones living outside the wall had to live in fear of the beasts, humans who went crazy from vaccinations, and raiders, a gang of humans who take whatever they can from whoever they can. There are also those who haven't turned crazy yet and live in the tunnels, they are called Fecs. They are as harmless as they sound since they have to be just as ruthless to live among the beasts and raiders. This is where are main character, Fiona, wakes up and is an intense journey throughout the entire book.

I have to say this story is unique but it did fall apart for me towards the middle. I was totally into the world without bees, scary beasts, and all the craziness but the author strayed from the story and it just went in a totally different direction instead of answering our questions. The story starts off with a bang and really made my heart pond when Fiona wakes up in her old childhood home. She has no idea how she got in her old bed and doesn't have a clue what is going on. We learn a lot about what happened to her throughout but my main question is why didn't she remember right away. I guess I can kind of see why her memory would be jumbled but we aren't really given an explanation and that irked me a bit. Like I said I liked the world that Wiggins created, it was brutal and you couldn't trust anybody which was shown over and over again, but when Fiona does something that made me scream at her the story takes an over dramatic turn and the story takes a backseat. There are 2 events that occurred that made no sense to me and I think it really took over the story. After finishing the book I couldn't remember why people were vaccinated and with this type of book I should have remembered but since the story turned and took a different focus I didn't remember. Which really makes me sad since I loved that part of the book. I have so many questions that I know won't be answered even if there is a sequel.

I am going with 3.5 snowflakes and that is strictly for the beginning and Jonah. I haven't mentioned Jonah yet and I can't since it will be too spoilery but if you decide to read Stung you will meet him in the beginning and well I will read the sequel if there is one just to find out more about him. This book does have a romance that was very sweet. I liked Bowen and Fiona together and one of those snowflakes is for them.

*Quote was taken from an uncorrected proof*
Profile Image for Melannie :).
344 reviews199 followers
May 19, 2013
Absolutely amazing and unforgettable. This book brought back my love for the dystopian genre. I haven't enjoyed a story so much since the hunger games, and believe me it's been a LONG time.

Everything about this book is nonstop action, and nail biting suspense. From the first page we are catapulted to a setting above our wildest dreams yet completely believable. The state of Colorado is a deserted land, where all your nightmares will come true, from awful men with no fear of God that will do anything to whoever they find wandering the streets, to the beasts, kids that have turned to monsters after a vaccination that went wrong. It's horrible and hopeless and Fiona woke up in the middle of it all, with no memory of why she's there or even how old she is.

My heart warmed for Fiona instantly. Amnesiac book characters can be a pain in the butt, they go on life endlessly feeling sorry about themselves. Not in Fiona's case, she barely had time to think about it when she was already struggling to survive. She was amazing, she was brave and strong but not so that she appeared unbelievable. She is a seventeen year old after all, and a girl, living in a world where there's only one woman to seven men. It was terrifying, but she never gave up and I loved her.

Dreyden Bowen was absolutely amazing too. He is only seventeen and you can feel that, it's hard to explain because he acts older than his young years but you still can't doubt he is only seventeen. I loved him so much, his fears and his braveness mend and stretched so often, he was just a kid trying to survive, and yet he always tried to help too. I completely fell in love with this vulnerable and strong character.

I cannot recommend you this book enough. So much to love here, the action, the characters, the plot! Simple yet complicated enough to make me lose myself in it. It didn't go for the insanely technologic and complicated world building that all the other dystopians go for, nor the stupid crazy names for every character, and definitely not the fancy love triangle. Oh how I loved the slow building romance and the surprises it brought to my life.

Speaking of surprises, I was shocked at how fast the story moved and the many twists in it. I was transfixed! Reading for what felt like seconds yet I've gone through 20% of the book without looking up. I didn't expect it, like a ball to the face in elementary school kickball. I was shocked at how much I loved, and enjoyed it. Kudos, Ms. Wiggins, I am a fan.

I am completely in love with this book. I just wish it would get more attention, like the many mainstream dystopians coming out this year that aren't half as good (ouch! prejudicing much?) but really, I have a hard time imagining something better than this. 5 stars!

If you loved the book as much as I did, you'd be delighted to read my interview with Bowen, just when you think he can't be anymore swoon-worthy: http://booksarevital.blogspot.com/201...

Profile Image for All Things Urban Fantasy.
1,921 reviews616 followers
June 5, 2013

I don’t even know where to start with this review. I knew that STUNG was a work of YA fiction when I selected it for review, but I didn’t expect to be childish. Does that make sense? Probably not, so let me explain a little further.

So the book starts with Fiona waking up and not remembering anything past the age of 13. Since she’s now 17 this poses a bit of a problem. I was as confused as Fiona was throughout most of the book because the world building is, uh, sparse to say the least. I know that the bees died and there’s something making people in to super strong killer thingamajigs. That’s about all that’s clear for almost the entirety of the book – which mostly consists of Fiona and some guy (who was so dull that I’ve honestly forgotten his name even though he’s the second main character in the book) running through the woods. There’s little to no sense of space or description or anything during these scenes. I had no idea if they were miles away from the city compound, a dozen feet or what. It felt like a low budget movie where they only had the money for one set and had to keep reusing it in every single scene.

Then there’s Fiona. Fiona is everything I hate in bad YA fiction. Absolutely every single choice she made in the book was stupid and annoying. She gets captured, boring lead male takes pity on her (Because, duh, they’re already falling in love. Gag.) and let’s her sleep unshackled. He then falls asleep. He’s about to take her somewhere where she’ll be killed or worse. What would you do? If you’re Fiona you lay there all night staring at his face and thinking about how cute he is. Ugh. Then there’s the scene where they find a safe place that has changes of clothes. Does she choose something practical for fleeing for her life through the woods? Nope. She picks a fucking sun dress so she looks cute for boring male lead. God dammit.

The whole book is like this. I realize that Fiona is a teenage girl and I have no problem with characters that make bad decisions, but c’mon. Every single decision she makes is stupid and makes no sense in the context of the scene. Then there’s the ever present threat of rape that is mentioned about every three paragraphs. Why, you ask? Because apparently there are seven guys to every girl (this is never explained) and instead of, you know, prizing the female population they just rape and kill them and stuff. Cause that’s what you do when you want to repopulate.

Save yourself some time, dear reader, and find something better to read. It shouldn’t be hard.
Profile Image for Lauren.
676 reviews76 followers
July 23, 2012
Whether or not you're a fan of dystopia, you will enjoy "Stung" since it's not a "Hunger Games" knock-off, it's a fresh new story that I couldn't put down! Bethany Wiggins re-imagines the story of "Sleeping Beauty", but with killer bees, gore, and a corrupt government - I hope there's more where that came from!
5 reviews1 follower
September 9, 2021
This book means the universe to me, it has been one of my favorites for 5 years and yes that makes me biased. I truly love when i get people to read this book and they love it as much as i do. Everything about the characters and the storyline took my whole heart and then proceeded to rip out my soul. I hope whoever you are you enjoy it as much as i do:)
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