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First came the storms.
Then came the Fever.
And the Wall.

After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct… but in reality, a new primitive society has been born.

Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader’s newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans. In the end, they are each other’s last hope for survival.

Sherri L. Smith delivers an expertly crafted story about a fierce heroine whose powerful voice and firm determination will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.

324 pages, Hardcover

First published March 7, 2013

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About the author

Sherri L. Smith

64 books459 followers
Sherri L. Smith is the award-winning author of YA novels LUCY THE GIANT, SPARROW, HOT SOUR SALTY SWEET, FLYGIRL and ORLEANS. In October 2015, she makes her middle grade debut with THE TOYMAKER’S APPRENTICE from G.P. Putnam and Sons for Penguin Random House.

Sherri has worked in film, animation, comic books and construction. Her books have been listed as Amelia Bloomer, American Library Association Best Books for Young People, and Junior Library Guild Selections. FLYGIRL was the 2009 California Book Awards Gold Medalist.

She loves her family, travel, chocolate chip cookies, reading, and and a really good cup of tea.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 804 reviews
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,230 reviews1,651 followers
July 12, 2013
Mini review: Excellent world building and no romance.

Full Review:

Given the onslaught of dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction, knowing which authors have simply hopped the trend bandwagon heading to Fametown and which just had a story to tell that happened to fall into the genre can be incredibly difficult. They've all got, more or less, visually arresting covers and a whole lot of marketing to convince you that this one will be the real deal. Well, my friends, Sherri L. Smith has most definitely not written this book in a bid to earn more readers by writing for a popular genre. Where the most popular of this sub-genre these days focus more on romance, Orleans pays attention to world building above all else.

Obviously, I really, really love dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction, otherwise I wouldn't read as much of it as I do. However, I go into this endeavor well-aware of the weaknesses of such novels. More often than not, the world building receives minor attention, taking a backseat to either mindless action or star-crossed romance. Sometimes, the author does not even offer the slightest hint of how the world evolved into its current state.

In Orleans, Smith starts the reader off with explanations, a detailing of how the Gulf coast went down the shitter, and got quarantined from the United States after a series of devastating hurricanes that resulted in an even more disastrous disease. The individuals still living in Orleans, having dropped the new as they're nothing new and shiny about this place anymore, live a very different life than the one we know. The bulk of the population lives in tribes, organized by blood type, as the disease affects the different blood types in varying strengths. Those with AB blood are most affected, but, as a result, they are most to be feared, since they will attack the other types to take their blood, which helps stave off the illness. From the very beginning, Smith starts building her world and she does not stop until the end, and, y'all, her world is creepy.

On top of the completely stellar world building, Orleans earns so much respect from me for being diverse. People of every race run around Orleans and, for the most part, skin color and heritage do not matter any more; now blood type does. The heroine, Fen de la Guerre, is dark-skinned, but, honestly, I'm not completely sure what her race is; what I do know is that she's non-white, and so are most of the people running around this book. Also, the cover matches this book perfectly, down to the way her hair's piled on top of her head.

Fen really does make a marvelous heroine, in that she looks out for herself and does whatever she needs to do to survive. In a lot of survival situations in novels, the heroine's always trying to save everyone and sacrifice herself, but that rarely strikes me as a realistic. Fen has one person she really cared about and would have died to protect, but that person dies in childbirth in the beginning, asking Fen to take care of her child. Even with this promise in place, Fen considers abandoning the baby at a couple of points to save herself. Later, when she meets a wandering scientist, Daniel, she only helps him to help herself. Her character arc does change a bit, but mostly she's a hardened warrior who has been through the worst and does not want to go back.

The downside for me was that I never felt any connection to the characters. While interesting, Fen closes herself off to everyone, including the reader. Despite her sections being told in first person, I really just didn't have a handle on who she was besides a survivor, which, while, utterly believable on the one hand, kept me from engaging completely. Though his sections were in third person, Daniel was still more approachable, but he's so useless in Orleans that I didn't feel much for him either. Also, I'm generally not a fan of multiple points of view when they're not all in either first or third person. The switches between first and third person narration, in general and here specifically, catch me off guard, especially once Daniel and Fen are in the same place.

Other factors worth noting are the writing style and the romance. For the former, be warned that Orleans is written with quite a bit of dialect, as Fen speaks and thinks that way. Her dialect, however is quite mild, mostly consisting of the use of 'be' in place of 'are.' Though I'm really not a fan of dialect, this did not bother me. To the latter point, there is no romance. None. If you like post-apocalyptics for romance, you'll want to be passing by this one. As for the rest of us, Orleans serves as a lovely break from the monotony of instalove.

Readers who have mostly given up on post-apocalyptics because you're sick of all of the sappy romances and pathetic attempts at world building, Orleans will restore just a little bit of your faith in the genre.
Profile Image for Bonnie.
1,371 reviews920 followers
November 15, 2015
'The shape of our great nation has been altered irrevocably by Nature, and now Man must follow suit in order to protect the inalienable rights of the majority, those being the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, the foremost of those being Life.'

After Hurricane Katrina ripped through the South, six more Hurricanes followed, each more powerful than the last. Hurricane Jesus hit in 2019 and left the South changed irrevocably. Not only did it come bearing death and devastation but a new sickness as well: Delta Fever. Everyone in the affected areas became infected and The Blood Rules were formed.

Types AB, B, and A
Need to stay away
From O and from each other,
Plus from minus, sister from brother.
O positive can feed
All positives in need, But O neg is the one
For all tribes beneath the sun.

A new form of racism grew from the sickness as skin color no longer mattered, it became all about what blood type you were. AB's required constant blood transfusions in order to keep the fever at bay, O positives were constantly being hunted and thrown into the blood farms, and it became survival of the fittest for all.

'My name is Fen de la Guerre... I am an O-Positive. I'ma find a tribe, or let the swamp take me. But one thing for sure, I ain't never gonna cry again.'

Orleans is told from the point of view of Fen de la Guerre, a fifteen year old girl that has had to adapt to survive in this treacherous world that is the only one she's ever known. When her tribe's chieftain dies in childbirth, Fen vows to honor her dying wish: to give the baby a better life. Fen struggles to keep the baby healthy and Fever free so that she can give her a better life, over the Wall. She encounters a scientist that risked exposure to study the Fever in hopes of discovering a cure who ends up being a huge asset to her and the baby.

The medical detailing throughout the book felt well-researched and certainly explained a lot but there was still a lot left unsaid. I attribute this to the fact that neither of the two narrators, Fen and Daniel, had all the answers and they were trying to understand it all too. For that reason I think details were left intentionally vague, because even by the end you still didn't have all the answers.

This was an intense, realistic story of survival in the bleakest of worlds. Fen was an amazing narrator full of strength and perseverance. Her story of survival in her earlier years is told in bits and pieces and it's certainly heartbreaking the things she experienced. The bit I loved most was that there was not a single drop of romance anywhere within these pages! Quite rare, indeed. The bit that I didn't like as much was the dialect Fen uses which she refers to as 'talking tribe' was extremely hard to get used to. Reminiscent of the dialect used in 'Blood Red Road' this one definitely takes some patience, but there ends up being a reason behind this that you find out later.

Orleans is a very mature and gritty read that I think would be better read by an older YA reader even though it's tagged as okay for 12+ readers. There were some very brutal aspects of the story that I felt would be inappropriate for a reader that young (i.e. rape and other forms of violence). This is one of those instances where I feel the book is tagged as YA but for no other reason but because the main character is a teen.

The ending didn't leave off with a cliffhanger (as I don't believe this is an intended first in a series) but it's definitely an ending that left you with questions as to what comes next. Orleans is an extremely captivating and entrancing read that fans of the dystopian genre will likely enjoy.

Profile Image for carol..
1,535 reviews7,874 followers
Shelved as 'don-t-count'
January 29, 2015

Sometimes I'll start a book, set it down, and later come back. That doesn't happen often, and Orleans was not one of those books that leapt the interest divide.

The beginning was promising, with a complex relationship between the female narrator Fen (de la Guerre---really???) and the pregnant leader of her blood-type tribe, Lydia. I found that to be a fascinatingly ambiguous relationship, and learning about how blood types determined alliances was vaguely interesting. However, I started to lose interest when it went Lord-o-Flies/protect-my-baby, and interest was fully killed off when we went to the viewpoint of Daniel, a scientist from outside Orleans researching the blood disease. I even tried skimming, but plotting was too meh. Perhaps it is genre incompatibility between myself and YA.

Found through nomination thread in a book group, which just goes to show you.

And despite the blurb, I would never use "expertly crafted" to describe this book. A pastiche of world-building styles in the beginning quickly settles down into save-the-baby plotting (Really? Must we continue to fetishize birth and babies? I'm so over the tropey symbolism). In the beginning, there's a timeline, official documents in constitution-style about declaration of quarantine and lots of pretty type-set with attractive pictures of water to orient us to Orleans' desolation, not a bad technique if you want to appeal to multi-click readers.

Fen talks in dialect, a technique that is rarely used well or to my enjoyment. Opening line of After: The Tribe: "There be seagulls catching the breeze overhead." I like the jumbled grammar of the unstable narrator in the Matthew Swift books; here it provides a contrast between Fen and Daniel but otherwise mostly annoys. That's a personal style incompatibility, however, so don't let that stop a read.

But. Thematically it feels like it is heading to an allegory for skin color/disease status (HIV?) etc., but I'm having a hard time staying interested. Or caring. Seems fairly simplistic. Imagine The Walking Dead with Lilith (Rick's baby) as the main character and you about have it. It's unlikely I'll pick this one up again.
Profile Image for Willow .
234 reviews98 followers
August 27, 2014
I think Sherri Smith writes extremely well. She has a beautiful way of describing places that are evocative and visceral. Her half- sunken, swampy ‘Orleans’ is ghoulish and macabre (two things I love). So are the blood thirsty inhabitants of 'Orleans'. Her world is well thought out and very dangerous. When I first got this book, I fell in love with cover, and what’s really cool, Smith’s world is even more vibrant and nuanced than the picture. Smith captures this spooky New Orleans and its people so well, it sparked my imagination. I have nothing but praise for the world building.

I also loved the scrappy, cynical character of Fen de la Guerre. Fen speaks in first person with a distinct dialogue which brings her to life. ”Man, you a bigger baby than this little girl in my arms,” she tells scientist Daniel, and she means it. And what’s really great, Smith didn’t use any annoying phonetic spelling to make this happen either. Yay!

So why am I not giving this five stars? I had to really think about that because I admired this book. Yet I was also able to set it down and leave it for days. I wasn’t as drawn in and compelled by the story and the characters as I think I should have been.

I decided the problem was the meandering plot. Most of the story is Fen and Daniel wandering through this creepy Orleans. There’s no mystery, no desperate urgency to get to a place in a certain specified matter of time, no evil villain hot on their trail trying to catch them, and no romance. In fact, I’m not quite sure what the story was meant to be. It’s dark and has an ending that is like a kick to the gut, but I’m not sure I felt the full impact of that kick. Usually a book like this has a specific premise, but I don’t know what it is. But I feel like when I finished this it should have resonated more. As much as I loved Fen and her distinctive voice, I’m not sure I was completely drawn into her pain. And Daniel is a bland and washed out character next to the powerful Fen.

In the end, I recommend this book, because the world building is phenomenal. But I also wish it had been more focused and as always I wish there was some romance.

Profile Image for TheBookSmugglers.
669 reviews1,985 followers
March 23, 2013
Originally reviewed on The Book Smugglers

Trigger Warning: Rape


Words like "gritty" and "powerful" are thrown around so frequently, especially in describing the new wave of post-apocalyptic and dystopian fare, that they've lost their significance. But, at the risk of sounding cliche, I will say it because if ever a title deserved these words, it is this book: Orleans is gritty. It is real. And it is powerful.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall, killing 971 people. Over the next fifteen years, hurricanes continue to batter the Mississippi River delta, culminating with Hurricane Jesus on October 20, 2019. Jesus is a system of unprecedented size and intensity, and kills an estimated 8,000 people after making landfall, leaving fewer than 10,000 survivors in its wake. Those that do survive face other horrors - deadly debris, a lack of basic necessities (like clean water and food), and subsequent violent crime.

And then, the Delta Fever.

A powerful bloodborne virus, Delta Fever infects and spreads without discrimination. Refugees that are evacuated from Nola and the surrounding regions bring the fever with them, causing an epidemic the likes of which haven't been seen since the Spanish Flu a century earlier. In response, the government walls off the waterlogged, infected states of Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Texas. A permanent quarantine is put into effect (until such time as a cure is found), and these states are no longer a part of the country. And in this new, wild, world of infection and death, Orleans is born.

Fen de la Guerre is one of Orleans' children - fierce and hardened, Fen has grown up in the Delta and knows its rules and lessons all too well. An OP (that is, O-positive blood type), like the rest of her tribe and others of the O-phenotype, Fen is a carrier of the Fever but isn't affected by the disease. And, like her fellow O-types, this means that she faces incredible danger - the other As, Bs, and ABs contract the Fever and deteriorate quickly unless they receive fresh infusions of blood from universal donors - and they hunt, farm, and bleed Os in their desperation. It is this desperation that wipes out Fen's tribe of OPs, leaving Fen on the run with her beloved friend's newborn child. Fen knows too well the horrors that could befall an orphan in Orleans, and vows to keep the child alive and get her to the Outer States beyond the quarantine wall before the baby becomes infected with Delta Fever. On this mission, Fen's path crosses with an outsider - an idealist and doctor, whose research could mean the Delta Fever's cure, or its weaponization.

I admit that I was drawn to this book in part because it sounded reminiscent of one of my favorite films of last year: the resonant indie hit, Beasts of the Southern Wild. Beyond similarities in premise and setting, this book is also reminiscent of that film in terms of scope and raw emotional power. Like Beasts, Orleans has the same intensity and heartbreak; the same type of fierce, courageous heroine. But Orleans is undoubtedly a darker animal than that film.

The newest novel from Sherri L. Smith, Orleans is (as I've said before) a powerful book. It's a frightening look at what might happen to a world ravaged by climate change and a devastating epidemic - one that fractures a society into tribes of violence and even cannibalistic (exsanguinistic?) extremes. This might not be a book for everyone - it is dark, people. This is a world rife with abuse, rape, blood farming, and violence - but its also a book about the desperate struggle and right to survive. A story with hope at its heart, in the midst of so much blood and death. And this, this juxtaposition of hope in such unflinching brutality, is what makes Orleans such a resonant and important book.

In other words: I loved Orleans. I loved it deeply, painfully, and wholeheartedly.

From a pure plotting and worldbuilding perspective, Orleans is nuanced and utterly believable. This future world, hit by hurricane after hurricane, then rising water levels, then plague and isolation, might be a hyperbolic one - but it feels frighteningly plausible. The deadly Delta Fever and its dividing lines by blood type is also a unique and particularly horrific epidemic - even if this is the stuff of medical horror-fantasy, the rules of this particular fever make sense (and thus, allow for suspension of disbelief). Suffice it to say, Orleans is a grim tale and one that, to me, felt very, very real.

Heroine Fen de la Guerre - a beautiful and fitting name for our whip-sharp protagonist - is one for the ages. Fiercely loyal, Fen has grown up in the most nightmarish of dystopias. After losing her parents, she is taken in by some very bad people and has fought her way free from abuse, finding a new home, a new tribe, and a new family. Fen is a fighter, and her will to survive is the driving force of this book. I love that in spite of everything she has been through and every fresh horror she faces, she never lets go of that powerful flame of hope. I love that Fen is wholly capable, that she figures out her own way to save her friend's child - unlike other dystopian heroes, Fen cares first and foremost about survival. Not how she looks. Not about a dreamy teenage boy that swoops in to help her out in the nick of time. Fen's priority is the life of her best friend's baby girl.

Of course, Fen is not the only character in this story - her cutting narrative is joined by that of Doctor Daniel Weaver, an idealistic outlander who crosses the wall into Orleans in hopes of completing his research and finding a cure for Delta Fever. In contrast to Fen's hyperalertness and competence, Daniel is completely out of his element and wholly unprepared for the grim reality of Orleans. I love that when he and Fen do team up, it is out of necessity and again that desperate need to survive. Together, they form a new kind of tribe.

And then there's that important theme of hope - because as dark as Orleans gets, there are these embers of hope throughout. You see it in Daniel's first glimpse of the Superdome, with the countless hours of work the Ursuline sisters have put into preserving the bones of the tens of thousands dead. It's there when Fen chooses to hold on to her friend's baby girl and not abandon her to the blood-hungry dogs and men chasing them. And you better believe it's there when Fen makes a desperate last gamble to get the child over the wall, damn the cost to herself.

I say again: I loved this book. It is dark and gritty, and it might not be for everyone, but for me? Orleans is damn near perfect, and in the running for one of my top 10 reads of the year.
Profile Image for ambyr.
878 reviews77 followers
November 6, 2014
Dear Fen: Just so you know, you were an awesome protagonist. I am sorry you are stuck in this meandering, grimdark book with incoherent worldbuilding, terrible science, and a cardboard supporting cast. In some alternate universe there is a book all about you and Lydia working together to change your world, and I read it and loved it. Sadly, this review is not being written in that universe.

Dear Daniel: Please shut up and go away.
Profile Image for Kay.
220 reviews
March 29, 2016
Get that ending away from me.
Profile Image for Rose.
1,872 reviews1,055 followers
January 13, 2014
Initial reaction: I'm wholeheartedly thanking the author for writing a proper dystopian society that sounds like an actual dystopian society with harrowing stakes and horrific scenarios. "Orleans" was a great story, and I'll admit it tugged at my heartstrings in moments, though I'll also admit I wished there was a little more to it in some places. Probably going to get a solid 4 stars from me, and hope to explain a bit more about it in the full review.

Full review:

To start my review on Sherri Smith's "Orleans", I have to say that I'm glad there's an author in the YA spectrum that actually treats the dystopian genre with a proper, non-glorified world with a character who isn't fated to save the world for some *special* superpower or somehow lends a backdrop to romance where the realm takes a lesser priority for its respective realities. If there's something about Smith's world that is distinctive in this genre - not only does it include a racially diverse cast and plausible - but frightening - future, but it also includes characters who are plunged into this horrific setup and must overcome dire situations to accomplish the things they must do in a realistic way.

Fen de la Guerre is a young woman who lives in Orleans, in a future where a number of U.S. States (Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida) have all separated the union due to several hurricanes that have devastated the Gulf. Too many casualties, too little supplies, and too much sickness - with a Fever that has no cure. Fen is a part of the OP tribe. In this devastated image of what was once New Orleans, people separate themselves by bloodtype, and survival hinges on one's ability to get untainted blood. It's revealed that some tribes even drink the blood they need if they can't inject themselves with it, so it's a grim picture to follow. Fen lives with a friend who acts as leader of her respective tribe, but when the tribe is attacked by scavengers, and her friend dies in childbirth, she has to take on the task of caring for the child and finding a way to get the baby to safety from those who would want to sell her or harm her otherwise.

In the meantime, failed researcher Daniel goes alone into Orleans and the ceded area to find the missing piece of his attempts to find a cure for the Fever. He hopes to find something in the documentation of previous researchers in the area to help him find the missing part of his attempt at a cure, rather than a supervirus that could wipe out the population within a matter of moments due to the nature of the infection.

Both Daniel and Fen end up meeting in Orleans and have far more of a task of survival on their hands than they bargained for.

"Orleans" is told in a dual narrative style - from Fen's first person dialect to Daniel's presentation in third person limited. Once I adjusted to the way the narrative was presented, it became easier to follow as I went along. I did find it a bit of a jarring transition though. I think it probably would've been a little better with consistency - either sticking with first person or third, but not the two of them. I didn't mind the dual narrative between Fen or Daniel at all, and I though Pen's distinct dialect made her voice stand out very well. I'll admit that the two characters also have a narrative that keeps them both at arms length for most of the work, so it wasn't nearly as intimate of an experience as I was hoping for in the course of the work, but I did realize both of these character had events in their experience that shaped them to be emotionally distant. So maybe it was just as well that the narrative styles matched their dispositions.

Fen is really the heroine of this collective story when all the events are taken into consideration. I loved her, she was a strong woman and the kind of female character you don't see in many narratives in YA dystopians. She's tasked with taking care of the baby that her friend died in labor for. After her tribe's dissipation from a dire attack fraught with loss, she's left much on her own to try to figure the next step. Fen's a survivor, and given some of the things she's gone through in the past to the present storyline, it tugged on my heartstrings to know what she had to endure even as a young child to get to the point where she was. Considering she's only a teenager, high school age, it's like she's lived several lives over. The grim reality and the grit this story presents from her perspective is really what made this novel work for me.

Daniel was a character I'll admit I was more disappointed with in certain turns of this story. In the beginning, I admired his goals, his technology (his suit was awesome, well - when it worked, anyway) and realized that in his entry to Orleans, he's entering a world he has no idea how it functions and where to get his bearings. It makes sense that eventually he would team up with Fen, and I liked the rapport between them. But Daniel...never really accomplished anything he set out to do in this story. While one could argue that this really wasn't his story to carry, I thought his character could've amounted to more than what it did, and it really disappointed me that he wasn't. Whether that was by his own follies (and he had several of them) or by the fact he never really had the space in the story to do more than what he did, I'm not sure if it was more one than the other. I do think his efforts in the latter part of the novel were good, especially in conjunction with Fen's rather desperate plan, but I still think that his character was not much more than a placeholder for that ultimate plan.

The worldbuilding in this story was beautifully constructed, and probably one of the strongest aspects of this entire narrative. I was immersed in the world, the devastation, the sense of loss and disparity, and even the sharp social commentary on a "new" type of discrimination in the realm of Orleans. Not by race, but by blood type for survival. It was a bleak future, and one in which every fight had significant weight. I did feel somewhat shortchanged in reading this narrative for some details though, because while the world was constructed very well, it felt like for events in the actual story, there were pieces missing - like it could've had more to Fen and Daniel's journey than what it had. Like the narrative was meant to be longer. I almost wish it had been to cover those gaps and provide more wiggle room and emotional intimacy for those characters.

The ending was reminiscent of my experience with Malorie Blackman's Noughts and Crosses. I didn't really see it coming until it hit me in the back of my head and realized the weight of what the characters had to do to protect the baby and get her out beyond the Wall for a potentially better life. If you think about the narrative for goals, that was one of the biggest goals promised by its end. Unfortunately, I wish some of the other goals had more measure to them as well.

It's a good story, and one I enjoyed for what it offered, but I'll admit, it wasn't an immediate knockout the way Smith's "Flygirl" was with me. I enjoyed it, and I'd be willing to read a sequel to the narrative if it has one to fill in some of the afternotes of where this novel left on, but it did leave me with spaces that yearned for more. It's a valuable social commentary on measures after the U.S.'s very real experiences with Hurricane Katrina. Ultimately, this dystopian scenario shows that as a divided nation, we are not as strong as one unified, and in the face of tragedy, there's both desperation for survival - in corrupt and constructive ways - and hope for a better future.

Overall score: 4/5 stars
Profile Image for Tori (InToriLex).
460 reviews359 followers
January 22, 2016
Find this and other Reviews at InToriLex
Jon Guillaume, Funeral March, InToriLex, Book Review, Orleans, Sherri L. Smith

This book showed me the power of a great story, I'm inspired. I started this book unsure what I was getting into it, because a dystopian in a destroyed Orleans, divided by blood, is a mountain for an author to tackle. However after losing myself in the main character Fen, it has more than exceeded my expectations. Fen is a determined protagonist who never stops moving and finds a way to escape death and destruction over and over again. She uses a simple dialect, that allows her to move throughout the Delta, but she knows French, Patois, Chinese and is teaching herself Spanish. The book slowly uncovers more and more about what makes Fen who she is, and what she has coped with in her past.

"In the early days before the sky got so angry at the sea and went to war, there was a piece of land between them, and they called her New Orleans. She was a beautiful place, a city that sparkled like diamonds, sang like songbirds and danced a two step to stop men's hearts."

Daniel is a scientist who is ill prepared for what the Orleans is and who occupies it. When he joins up with Fen, their relationship becomes better as they trust and rely on each other. Since most people in Orleans are sick, starving, and clamoring for resources, friendship is a fragile thing grown from necessity. There is really powerful interactions, symbolism and experiences that Fen faces, but she has accepted life as it is fighting hard to not waste her life feeling sorry for herself. The plot moves well, and the contrasting point of views between Daniel and Fen are seamless and compelling. The author succeeds at making Orleans itself a character who reaches out and interacts with the reader.

"What is one human day in the life of a ecosystem? Nothing. And still we cannot see."

 I would recommend this to everyone, as a interesting glimpse into Orleans gone bad, and the different ways a virus could effect how we cope and band together. I enjoy speculative fiction, this was special, in it like in real life not everything is fair or happy. The author did a great job of balancing character development and plot. Fen and her journey for survival will stay with me for a long time.
Profile Image for Melody.
2,629 reviews260 followers
February 13, 2013
I got this book free at ALA.

What we have here is that rarest of creatures, the stand-alone dystopian YA book. Oh, sure, there's room for a sequel, but there doesn't need to be one. It was lovely to reach the end and not have to cry, "Curse you, cliffhanging author, I can't believe you left me hanging here!" And even more lovely, this was a good book with a fresh and well-made world.

Orleans used to be New Orleans, before all the hurricanes. And before the Fever. Now, there's a wall between the Delta and the rest of the US, and the shape of civilization is changed utterly. The geography remains recognizable, and it's evident that Smith has a deep and loving relationship with New Orleans. The characters are interesting and serve the plot well, though I didn't really bond with any of them. I loved the dialect, it fell easy on my ears.

Minor quibbles throughout kept it from a 4 (f'rinstance, early on, there's talk of how it's hard to find a set of aluminum tent poles that aren't rusted out) but it's a solid, engaging book that I wouldn't hesitate to press into the hands of any dystopian fan. 3.5
Profile Image for Lectus.
1,029 reviews32 followers
November 21, 2014
This book has so many good reviews that I feel evil for not liking it!

I liked that there's no romance in the story. FINALLY! Not everything has to lead to romance. I was wondering at the beginning, if Fen is like 16 and Daniel is 24, will Smith dare to romance the stone b/w these two? she did not.

I enjoyed Fen's broken English BUT, it made wonder, didn't people speak proper English in Orleans before they were shut off from the world?

Because just about 40 years had passed since the city was locked up. In that little time people forgot how to use verbs, nouns, pronouns and everything else that Strunk and White advise in The elements of style...

The characters felt empty and I didn't care if they lived of died. These bunch of tribes fighting for blood just seemed like a different kind of drug addict vampires. The story didn't hold my interest and I abandoned the book.

Via http://onlectus.blogspot.com/2013/03/...
Profile Image for Jamila.
573 reviews102 followers
May 3, 2013
This is a very dark and poignant book. I love books set in New Orleans, and I think Smith did a wonderful job creating a dystopian-futuristic New Orleans that retains all of the old world beauty and conflicts that make New Orleans so unique. She gave respect to the religions and spirituality, the diversity, the flora and fauna, the death, the crime, the creativity, the intelligence, the hurricanes and the survival.

It could have been longer. More details could have been embellished or clarified. Yet, the characters are powerful, it has action and suspense, and the novel ends with hope.
Profile Image for Ben Aaronovitch.
Author 157 books11.5k followers
June 18, 2013
I don't do full reviews of books. Partly this is because I don't believe that one's subjective and emotional response to a work of fiction can be explained through a misguided and futile process of deconstruction but mostly it's because I'm too lazy.

So here is my review of Orleans by Sherri L. Smith --- It's bloody brilliant and you should read it. Smith has created a world of terrifying beauty and populated it with characters and stories of such intensity that they will drag you screaming through the landscape until they deposit you breathless and emotional on the final page.

Some notes on the worldbuilding on my blog here http://temporarilysignificant.blogspo...
Profile Image for Amy.
154 reviews
August 23, 2012
I received an ARC of Orleans by Sherri L. Smith. I was quite excited to read it, living in the Greater New Orleans Area and enjoying books set in this region.

Smith does a great job of creating characters throughout this book. Each character is distinct and are developed in such a way that their flaws and their virtues are quite believable. I found many of the elements incorporated into the story quite brilliant, particularly the role that storm Jesus plays in the Delta region and the mythology behind New Orleans and why it was plagued with so many high-powered, damaging storms.

The story line is believable, which I'm not sure is a good or a bad thing, depending on where you live, I imagine.

The dialect used for narration for one of the characters is quite distracting and it isn't until later in the book that one finds out why it is narrated that way. When reading the first chapter, I wanted to correct the language used in my head. By the end of the book, it read like any other narration.

There is a bit of geography on the city off. Algiers is a neighborhood in New Orleans, not a separate town. The way it is described in location makes it appear as if the author believes it is its own small village or apart of New Orleans East, when in fact it is apart of the city and located on the West Bank of the city. Other than that, though, most of the setting is pretty true to form, at least as much that can be considering the damage that had been done within the storyline of the book.

There was humor mixed in with tragedy, which I think is important. It was nice to see a strong female protagonist.

Overall, an enjoyable read, though because of subject matter, I'm not sure this is a 12 and up book. There are some topics in this book I would not be comfortable with my 12 year old reading. It didn't read like a 12 and up book, not even really a YA book.
Profile Image for La La.
994 reviews126 followers
July 24, 2015
Refreshingly real and gritty! No kissy facing or love triangles; just in your face life in a dystopian world. Fen is a strong and courageous heroine, who tugs at your heart and amazes you with her facility to be both warrior and gentle caregiver. I loved this book from beginning to end. There wasn't one page of boring filler fluff in it.
Profile Image for Kaethe.
6,406 reviews462 followers
February 10, 2017
Orleans - Sherri L. Smith So far I've only read Flygirl and Orleans by Smith, but she is a fabulous writer, regardless of the style, time period, plot, etc. Yes, I'm going to read the rest of her books, she should be getting more recognition than she does. Enjoy, and then be sure to tell everyone you know that you did.Library copy 
Profile Image for Kat.
870 reviews76 followers
March 3, 2021
3.5 stars. The writing was really strong and I loved the world-building, I just felt disconnected from the plot, especially at the end.

This is the first epidemic-based book I've read since COVID started but this is more of a book about climate disaster and illness is a part of that. I really enjoyed the setting. As is probably obvious, this book is set in what used to be New Orleans but it, and other southern states, have been walled off to try to contain the virus after the area was devastated by every stronger hurricanes. Smith painted a really persuasive look at what climate change will actually look like. This book was published in 2013 and the emergency is even more dire now. I thought this was very well done and a great look at this topic.

I also really enjoyed the writing. I liked that Smith gave the Fen a dialect because it really brought me into the world. Sometimes those sort of things annoy me but I appreciated it here. I enjoyed the the nature descriptions and the way the characters talked about the world. Really lovely and I would really enjoy reading more from this author.

The plot was interesting but I just found myself being less interested in at the end. The final little bit was super interesting and I did like how it ended but the final half just kind of dragged. This is definitely more a reflection on the reality of climate change than an action packed adventure, which I can appreciate but in this, case I just wanted a bit more from the plot. I also wanted to learn a bit more about Daniel.

Like I said, I would definitely be interested in reading more from this author. For the most part, I enjoyed this. I would encourage others to pick this up as I think it's less well known and I think a lot of people would get a lot out of this.
Profile Image for A.L. Davroe.
Author 16 books520 followers
March 28, 2013
I first learned about this book when I recruited Sherri as one of my feature Friday authors. As soon as I read the premise for the book, I was intrigued and I was lucky enough to get an advance reading copy from Sherri’s promotional group.

This book is very different from what I’ve been reading lately and honestly, it’s very refreshing.

First off, let me explain the premise. Orleans takes place in a near-future where the delta region of the United States has been continuously hit by progressively stronger hurricanes over a short span of time. This leaves a huge drop in population, little time to rebuild, cripples aid programs, and causes unsanitary conditions. Thus creating the perfect storm for the development and outbreak of Delta Fever. This fever is incredibly contagious and as a result, the United States quarantines the whole of the delta region behind a massive wall.

Despite it’s best efforts to aid the region and help fight the fever, the United States eventually secedes from the affected areas because the virus is beginning to spread and the rest of the country needs to be preserved. This leaves thousands of infected people trapped behind the wall.

…Then fifty years goes by.

Over this time, the survivors behind the wall have created a tribal existence where people are not divided by race or ethnicity, but by their blood-type because the fever seems to have different affects on people of different blood-types.

This is where the story starts.

Orleans is told from the point of view of two main characters.

The first point of view is a first person account by Fen de la Guerre. Fen is sixteen and the right-hand-man to the O-Positive clan chief, Lydia. That is, until their tribe is attacked – which basically obliterates the whole tribe – and Lydia goes into premature labor. Lydia dies giving birth, leaving Fen with a newborn baby and a promise to give the baby a better life. Fen decides that the only way to give the baby a better life is to get her over the wall and into the outer United States.

The second point of view is a third person account of a twenty-something scientist named Daniel. Daniel is trying to find a cure for Delta Fever, but he’s hit a snag in his research. His solution? Go over the wall into Orleans and try to locate an MIA group of researchers who had gone into the region when the fever first hit to study it and hope that they’ve got something he can use. So Daniel dons his bio-suit and scales over the wall into hell.

From there, Daniel and Fen have to team up and rely on each other in order to get what they both want. I won’t go too far into the rest because that will give it away, but I’ll leave you with a couple of interesting impressions.

One: This book was interesting in how it jumped between the first and third person narrative.

Two: Fen both speaks and thinks in a modified dialect, so it will probably be jarring for most people when you first start reading her. However, once I got to the end of the first of her chapters, I didn’t notice it any more.

Three: The setting and development of the world of Orleans is rich and inventive. The spirit of New Orleans, the bayou, and the south are still very real despite the almost apocalypse-style setting. Anyone who has been to New Orleans will love how Sherri L. Smith weaves the familiar into the unknown. Expect to see voodoo, craw fish, and the Ursulines. :)

Four: This isn’t your standard boy meets girl story. Putting an independent teenaged girl with an almost cowardly grown man and a new born baby is an interesting combination. I wasn’t used to the age difference and kept wondering what kind of creepy feelings one would develop for the other, but there was no element of romance or love at all in this novel. I loved it all the more for that. It’s a story of survival and gritty reality. What makes it even more poignant is the addition of the baby. I’ve never read a book where a teenaged girl had to haul around a kid that wasn’t even hers. I wasn’t sure how the author was going to do it, but I found it believable and I thought that it added a very human aspect to a world and a main character that would otherwise lack it to some degree.

Five: If you cry easy, bring tissues.

So, in all. I really thought that Orleans was a unique and refreshing book for the YA crowd and I encourage everyone to check it out!
Profile Image for Alanna (The Flashlight Reader).
419 reviews77 followers
April 13, 2013
Move over Tris and Katniss, because Fen de la Guerre is ruling the dystopian scene.

I really hope this is the beginning of a series, because the final page left me breathless. I have to know more about what this future America is like. Sherri Smith did an amazing job creating a world within a world.

The Delta region has been destroyed by hurricanes and left for dead. Survival of the fittest. No one expect the people living in New Orleans to survive the Delta Fever, so when Daniel, an overly optimistic scientist, sneaks across the border to New Orleans he is shocked to find that everything he has been told is a lie.

The Delta is very much alive, and it's terrifying. Blood hunters become the new form of slavery and human traficking. They are ruthless and they lurk behind every shadow. Poor Fen is O Positive, which means she's a hot commodity to those suffering from Delta Fever. Her blood could give them life, and she is constantly being hunted for it. I don't know about you, but that right there was enough ot make me go "OMG" as I read this book. What an imagination! How terrifying this new America is!

The characters were pretty solid. Daniel was certainly foolish, but he meant well. Fen was fierce. She was determined, and she certainly wasn't going to sit back and accept defeat without a fight. Her quick thinking saved her numerous times throughout Orleans. The villains are many, and you can't limit them to one type of person either. I don't think it gets any worse than a blood hunter, but then I read about the evil woman that ran a blood bank/brothel using innocent orphans. That was pretty awful. Betrayal lurked everywhere.

I have to be honest, though, that I was a little worried when I started reading. Fen is from deep in the Delta and so she speaks with a distinct dialect. It was hard to read at first because my brain was revolting against the lack of subject-verb agreement. Ultimately, however, that distinct voice is what made this book so unique. Fen was very believable-- from her speech patterns down to her love of her hair. It was so real, and my heart ached for her in the end.

In short, this is a must read. No questions about it. It is by far one of the best dystopians I have read in 2013. I really, really, really hope it will be a series because I can't get enough of Orleans!
Profile Image for Beth  (YA Books Central).
415 reviews115 followers
May 17, 2013
First let me say that I LOVED the cover to this book!!! It is really perfect for this book and I found myself continually turning back and looking at it. It is a true depiction of survival and this is what Orleans is ALL ABOUT!!

Orleans is a dystopian, post-apocalyptic, young adult story. This is VERY different than any other dystopian I have ever read. This story focuses more on the truth of what is happening rather than focusing on the characters lives. The author focuses on world building and I truly loved that. Most dystopians are mainly about a love interest and just add a small amount of world building where as I felt as though I was in Orleans with the characters.

I loved the main character, Fen. She was soooo intense and I loved the way she kept her word and fought to protect Baby Girl at all costs. She survived so many horrible experiences and wanted nothing more than to give Baby Girl a good life and I just felt myself cheering for her.

I wasn't sure about Daniel when he was first introduced. I couldn't decide whether to consider him a “good guy or bad guy.” In the end I found out. (no spoilers here! HA!)

Sherri Smith could have added a romance in with Daniel and Fen but instead she decided to create more of a deep friendship and dependency that made their survival attempts even more intense.

I really enjoyed this book. It had lots of moments where I couldn't wait to turn the page to see what happened. This is a young adult book but it did have some intense moments that almost could make it adult and I loved that about it!

So needless to say I will be looking for future books by the incredible Sherri Smith!!!
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
618 reviews48 followers
February 7, 2017

1. Diversity is a big part of the world building which I loved
2. The dialect was just different enough to give it a different feel without being distracting
3. No romance!!!!! So refreshing!
4. World building is really well done. Super interesting.

Dislikes (of a sort. Mostly things I don't know how I feel about)

1. I can't decide if I like the ambiguity of the ending, or if I am unsatisfied with it
2. Also can't decide if I like that it's kind of like if you were a side story in a larger plot or if I wanted more of that story too. I found it both refreshing and frustrating haha! I do think I could have been happy with another 100 pages (but I'm notorious about liking overly large books).


Definitely a book more people should be talking about! I never would have heard of it if it weren't for La La (and definitely wouldn't have read it so soon if she hadn't sent me a copy!)
Profile Image for Susan Tunis.
812 reviews177 followers
October 31, 2021
All Hallows Read #6

Yes, I celebrated All Hallows Read with the traditional gifting of books, but I'm also borrowing the title for my Halloween reading marathon.

And, while this novel could be classified into any number of genres, as far as I'm concerned, it's horrifying enough. And downright eerie! Because this novel, published nearly a decade ago, is set in a near future New Orleans (where I currently live). That New Orleans, much like this one, has been ravaged by increasingly strong, increasingly prevalent hurricanes. And that New Orleans, much like this one, has been devastated by a virus called Delta. However, the US of Sherri Smith's fictional world has taken a novel approach to deal with New Orleans--they've literally walled it off from the rest of the continent. It's a no-man's-land, and presumed by most to be peopled by only the dead.

But that is very much not the case. Society has been broken down into tribes based on blood type to slow the destruction of the virus. Our protagonist Fen was born into this world. It's the only thing she's ever known, and as a carrier of the virus, she will never be allowed to leave it. People from the other side of the heavily guarded border are not allowed to cross either, but that doesn't stop David, a scientist on a mission to cure this disease. And now you've got the catalyst for your story.

I'd been wanting to read this for a while, and I enjoyed it quite a lot. Smith is known as a YA writer, but aside from the fact that one of the two protagonists is a teenager, there's nothing YA about it. It's true that there are a lot of YA dystopias, but this doesn't read like them. There's no love triangle, or romance of any kind, for that matter. And the typical YA tropes are missing, as well. Smith isn't reinventing the wheel here. We've all read this kind of post-apocalyptic horror show, but her version felt a little more original than most. Character development was so-so. Fen's main quality is harsh. Can you blame her? David is a bit bland.

But their lack is more than made up for by New Orleans, which is probably the best character in the book. And it's clear the author knows the city intimately. There's a lot of rich detail both culturally and geographically. New Orleans is one of the world's most colorful and fascinating cities in life. You should see it in death!
Profile Image for Lisbeth Avery {Domus Libri}.
196 reviews154 followers
July 8, 2013
Startlingly original, Orleans brings a whole new take on the term "YA dystopian" or more accurately, brings the genre back to where it should be. Instead of focusing on romance and destructive government schemes, Orleans concentrates on world building and plot progression.

The novel starts off with a punch, launching you directly into the gritty, dark world of Orleans where blood type determines everything and segregates the community due to the deadly Delta Fever. From very early on, it's easy to tell that the world building is most definitely Orleans' pride and glory.

The book starts off with an abrupt, yet fitting, introduction to how the world works without dumping it onto the reader. It tells of how much of the Gulf Coast was hit by numerous disastrous hurricanes and was quarantined after these disasters led to an even more dangerous plague. Now, the population of these areas is mostly living in tribes of blood type. Some 'types are more susceptible to the fever and attack other tribes for blood.

Smith's world is well fleshed out and beautifully constructed. It's not perfect; there are flaws and holes but for the most part, it's pretty nice. It's dark, grim, and, honestly, breath-taking. I am thoroughly impressed by Smith's brilliant approach and take on post-disaster Gulf Coast.

While the world building is fantastic, you can't help but marvel at the diversity of characters. It's neither a white dominated book, nor a black dominated one either. There's a vast diversity in ethnicity in the book. No one really cares too much about ethnicity anymore - as blood type is much more important.

The diversity is also quite subtle. It's not in your face like some authors do. Smith doesn't put "a African-American man" or "a Chinese woman" in ever sentence. It's subtle because, for the most part, the book is written in first person from the heroine, Fen La Guerre's perspective.

Why does this matter?

Fen was raised, for most of her life, in this disaster, this wasteland. She was raised to survive and that was all that mattered to her. Even if it doesn't seem like it, we're raised to identify differences in people. Toddlers can tell differences in ethnicity just because of how we were raised.

Now, to a girl who was raised with one objective, would the color of someone's skin really matter?

Fen is a really excellent heroine. Unlike many others, her character growth wasn't bogged down by romance. Her character really felt like she belonged in the book. Fen felt like a character who really could be living in this world - or more accurately, a person who could really survive in this world.

Armed with only her wit, Fen is somehow supposed to get a newborn baby that was entrusted upon her across the quarantine zone and into the proper United States. Fen doesn't take the task lightly, but that doesn't mean she's not human. At numerous points throughout the point, Fen plays with the thought of letting the baby go to save herself.

Later she meets David, a young scientist in his early twenties. They team up to get the baby across the zone, though each has their reasons. Fen helps David to help herself and David the same. While their relationship matures, it never becomes anything more than a tight bond.

While Fen and David were certainly good characters, they weren't very personal characters. They were characters that you admire from afar, not characters that you can empathize with. I liked their characters a lot but I found it near impossible to step into their shoes.

Overall, Orleans is a pretty good book. It's incredibly readable and the plot and world is very engaging. While it's not perfect in it's world building, plot, or characters, it's really good and I recommend it to anyone who is either sick and tired of dystopians revolving around romance and tyrannical governments or just looking for a good book.
Profile Image for Bryn Greenwood.
Author 5 books3,939 followers
August 21, 2016
I read this book piecemeal over the last two weeks, while I was in the midst of a lot of chaos related to my own book release. For the first half of the book, I had a hard time getting into it, which worked out well for a book I was reading just a chapter a day. I struggled to connect with the two main characters, one because the narration made him seem so bland (and hermetically sealed away from the consequences of his actions--which he is), the other because she was so reserved with her emotions.

Then I hit about 75% and I was finally IN it. I read the remainder straight through in one sitting. I found the ending more heartbreaking than hopeful. (Honestly, I would have snapped up a sequel in an instant, which I basically never do.) I was crushed by the final pages, testament to the degree that I ended up invested in Fen & Daniel & baby Enola.

Smith is a master at dialect, giving just enough hints to help the reader hear the characters, without bogging down our ability to parse it smoothly. The drowned city of Orleans is revealed in deft strokes and perfect details.
Profile Image for Evie.
711 reviews926 followers
March 8, 2013
Orleans is, hands down, the best book I've read this year thus far. I find myself at loss for words to describe just how much I loved it. In fact, I am still processing what I've just read, and the more I think about, the more amazed I become.

The post-apocalyptic setting is absolutely stunning. The prose is so unique and intriguing - it elevates the story and puts you right in the middle of the disease-ridden environment. The premise is very original, there's no cheesy romance, the characters are one of the most interesting, realistically-sketched ones I've ever read about in YA lit, and the totally unpredictable, bold ending left me dumbfounded and with a hole in my chest.

It's a story I won't ever forget. I wish there was more, I wish it wasn't the end. At the same time, though, this story is just perfect the way it is. I wouldn't change a thing.

Full review to come, soon! :)
Profile Image for Jana (Nikki).
290 reviews
March 22, 2013

I was so excited for this book. SO excited. It sounded awesome - doesn't that synopsis sound awesome?? A fierce heroine, battling against the odds to get her leader's baby to safety, befriends a scientist who is braving the walled-off city to find a cure for Delta Fever. I had very high hopes for this one.

Sadly, my hopes didn't pan out. I actually had a really hard time getting through this book.

You know the premise, so I'm just going to talk about my issues (the first-person narration, and a lack of any emotional connection to the plot or characters).

First, Fen's first-person narration. Here's a sample:

This still be a crescent city. It still curve with its arms wrapped around the river. I be walking west, where most of the people be. [...] We pass canals what used to be roads and swamp what used to be dirt. We skirt the swamps and it take time. [Excerpt from ARC.]

I read the first couple pages of the book when I got it in January, and actually thought this would be cool - I was expecting an adjustment period, of course, but then you get used to it, and it adds to the story, right? But for some reason, Fen's narration was really hard for me to get into, and most of the time had me stumbling over sentences trying to parse her dialect. I understand that it needed to be written like that since it's in first-person, because that's how Fen speaks, but to me it just felt like a barrier... instead of adding to the story, it held me back from it. I'm also confused as to why Fen's sections were written in first-person present tense, while Daniel's were written in third-person past tense. Why did Fen's story have to be told in first-person when Daniel's didn't? And why the tense-change as well? Maybe I'm being way too critical... but it did add a layer between me and the story that stopped me from really getting into it.

Maybe I wouldn't have had as much of a problem with those things, though, if I'd felt emotionally connected to the characters at all. Fen is fierce and brave and strong, but she shows almost no emotion throughout the entire book - which is weird since her parts are told in first-person, so we should be able to see inside her head more and see those emotions playing out...? no? Instead she's driven only by self-preservation.

I got the feeling that she wasn't even that concerned with getting her leader's baby out of Orleans, other than to fulfill her promise that she would give the baby a "better life". She even made excuses a couple of times like, "I could just leave the baby here in this slightly-better-but-still-awful-place, this still counts as a slightly better life." More than anything, the baby felt like a means to an end, to help Fen feel like she did her part for her tribe leader. Maybe this behavior is realistic, because her struggles in this harsh environment have shaped who she is and what she thinks she needs to be in order to survive (logical, calculating, and not swayed by emotion), but again, it added a barrier that I couldn't get past and ultimately kept me out of the story.

I was really hopeful that when Daniel showed up -- having lost a brother to Delta Fever, driven to sneak into Orleans to research a cure -- that we would finally see some emotional connection. But even his sections fell flat. Daniel was pretty helpless in Orleans, and he didn't bring a lot of emotion to the story, either. There were a couple instances where Daniel was overcome with his and Fen's situation and I wanted desperately to read that from his perspective -- but those moments were told from Fen's perspective instead, so I didn't really get much out of them.

The reason I rated this book two and a half stars, instead of two, is because it was pretty exciting in places, and the worldbuilding was interesting. But it ends rather abruptly and we don't even get to see much of an outcome of Fen's struggle to save this baby from Orleans. I finished the book thinking, "What, that's it?" =/

I can predict, though, that Orleans will probably be much more successful for fans of Paolo Bacigalupi's Ship Breaker. It strikes me as very similar to that series... although I only made it through half of the second book...

{ You can find this review, and others, at my blog! There were books involved... }
Profile Image for Lauren.
159 reviews50 followers
August 4, 2020
It’s a CRIME that mediocre YA dystopias like Divergent are wildly popular while a gem like Orleans languishes in obscurity. This book’s world-building is incredibly creative, detailed, and believable. Fen is the most compelling and complex protagonist I’ve possibly ever encountered in YA sci-fi. I HIGHLY recommend Orleans to anyone who enjoys: dystopias; outstanding world-building; fierce girl protagonists; no romance; diverse characters; and survival stories. I was strongly reminded of Children of Men, one of my favorite movies.
Profile Image for Paige.
1,723 reviews79 followers
March 14, 2017
Rating: 5/5

Genre: YA Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic

Recommended Age: 16+. Book makes allegories to child rape and mentions real child rape as well.

Favorite Quote: "The Outer States had almost everything that Orleans didn't. But the Delta still lived on."

Beginning with Hurricane Katrina, a series of category 3-6 hurricanes strike the Gulf Coast. These hurricanes not only destory Hawaii and the Carribean, sinking them below the sea due to rising water levels, but it also changes the border of the USA​. The hurricanes also bring a new deadly plague called Delta Fever, which seems to effect people due to blood type. When the sickness can't be controlled, the Gulf Shore becomes quarantined. Years later, the residents of the Outer States believe all life in the Delta is gone... but a new society has been born out of the ashes of the old. Fen de la Guerre is living with her blood tribe when they are ambushed. Left alone with her leaders newborn and determined to find a better life for the child, Fen sets out to find a way to sneak the child over the wall that the Outer States have erected to keep the residents of the Gulf Shores out. Soon, Fen meets Daniel, an scientist from the Outer States who came to the Delta to find a cure for the Fever. Together they are each other's last hope for survival and the child's only hope for a life beyond the Delta.

This book was a complete cover buy. I don't think I even looked at the back cover blurb before I bought it. That being said, I didn't know what to expect except for what looked like a flooded New Orleans. So when I started reading this book I was completely caught off guard by how amazing it was! I loved how the author used Hurricane Katrina to be a spring board for the possible destruction of future hurricanes and I loved the background of the story. It was so we'll developed and it honestly seemed to be something that could happen in the future. Nothing political or anything, but I'm pretty sure we can all agree that we, as a nation, didn't take care of our Gulf Shore neighbors like we should ​have in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and I can see the events of this book happening if such events came true. The book also brings up using x code markers like search and rescue teams did during Hurricane Katrina, which I thought was an excellent nod to the historical storm. The author also made sure the characters had their own voice. Since the POV switches between Fen and Daniel and since Daniel is from Virginia and Fen from East Orleans, it would make since both characters talk different. The author delivers this by narrating in different tones and ways of talking for the characters. The story is also very high energy and compelling. You feel you're in the marsh with Fen and Daniel! Can you tell I'm fangirling over this book?! I'm completely in love with this book!

My only complaint was that the book ended so abruptly. I won't spoil anyway but I was left in confusion and fear for the characters at the end. While I want to know more and I hope there would be a sequel, I feel the book had to end that way. I definitely recommend this book and I want you to read it because I NEED SOMEONE TO DISCUSS THIS BOOK WITH!!
February 22, 2015
For those who don’t know me: I grew up in New Orleans… my reasoning for picking this one up was a no brainer. So, I added this gem to my bookshelf and there it sat for pretty much a year. I’m happy to finally move it from my To Be Read shelf to my Read shelf! *phew*

Now on to the verdict…I liked this story A LOT: It’s 50 years after Katrina , a cat 6 super storm wipes out the south, causes an epidemic called Delta Fever, and creates an “Us {south La} against Them {everyone else}” atmosphere. But within the Delta, it’s a constant war between Blood Tribes {some blood types are more susceptible to the fever, others are basically immune… you can see where this is going}. Needless to say, it’s nonstop action, fighting and surviving.

Our MC, Fen, from The Delta {which spans from Pearlington, MS on south} is super spunky and scrappy. You’ll love her. Our MC, Daniel, from the Outer States {which is the rest of America that’s on the other side of The Wall} is smart and on a one man mission to help save any future patients of Delta Fever. Each character dictates his/her chapters, so we have a duel POV going on here. Let me say this: Fen’s character is southern, and speaks improper English. Fen’s dialect was hard for me to read; I concentrated more on getting her accent just right rather than concentrating on the tale being told. Other than that, Sherri Smith is a wonderful writer.

This is a dystopian novel that includes the following: death, sketchy ass leaders, a computer powered by a Singer sewing machine pedal, an insane woman who pimps out kids for their blood, New Orleans in a whole new light, and a story you can honestly believe.

This is a dystopian novel that DOES NOT include the following: LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *cue the choir of angels* Not even kidding, I high fived myself when it clicked that there would be no love. Breath of fresh air, Sherri Smith.

*deep breath* *exhale* I liked this book. You’d probably like this book. OH!!! Almost forgot, when I got to the very end…I frantically searched for a sequel. And guess what? THERE IS NO FREAKING SEQUEL. WTAF??? *sigh* I just … I don’t think I can handle not knowing what happens next but I don’t really have a choice, do I? Anyway, read this book. I need someone to talk to about it!
Profile Image for Titus214.
80 reviews
February 1, 2013
This book was provided by Netgalley in ebook form for a honest review.
This book was so unexpected. In a good way. I enjoy dystopians however sometimes they can be a little far fetched. This book however was so realistic and probable that it was creepy. I also like the fact that the characters are African American. Many dystopians are from a white point of view. Authors forget that an dystopian society would effect all races. Orleans is a story about a young woman name Fen who is living in a post hurricane destroyed New Orleans.Fen is trying to survive despite maundering gangs who are literally out for blood. You see the final hurricane brought in an illness called Delta Fever and blood transfusions for certain society members is crucial. New Orleans was then quarantined from the rest of the United States to fend for itself. The remaining society members then form gangs based on blood types I don't want to tell to much because I don't want to ruin the story or change your mind about reading this book. I will say that this is the closet you will get to a real life end of world scenario. Sherri did a creative job reinventing a seemingly overdone genre.
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