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Survival Colony 9 #2

Scavenger of Souls

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Querry Genn must face the truth about the past and fight to save humanity and the future in this stunning sequel to Survival Colony 9 , which New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry called “a terrific novel.”

Querry and the members of Survival Colony 9 have defeated a whole nest of the creatures called Skaldi, who can impersonate humans even as they destroy them. But now the colony is dangerously low in numbers and supplies. Querry’s mother is in command, and is definitely taking them somewhere—but where? Some secret from her past seems to be driving her relentlessly forward.

When they do finally reach their destination, Querry is amazed to discover a whole compound of humans—organized, with plenty of food and equipment. But the colonists are not welcomed. Everything about them is questioned, especially by Mercy, the granddaughter of the compound’s leader. Mercy is as tough a fighter as Querry has ever seen—and a girl as impetuous as Querry is careful. But the more Querry learns about Mercy and the others, the more he realizes that nothing around him is as it seems. There are gruesome secrets haunting this place and its people. And it’s up to Querry to unearth the past and try to save the future in this gripping conclusion to the Survival Colony novels.

368 pages, Hardcover

First published August 23, 2016

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About the author

Joshua David Bellin

17 books263 followers
I've been writing novels since I was eight years old (though the first few were admittedly very short). A college teacher by day, I've published numerous works of science fiction and fantasy: the Querry Genn Saga (SURVIVAL COLONY 9 and SCAVENGER OF SOULS), the deep-space adventure FREEFALL, and the 5-part Ecosystem Cycle (ECOSYSTEM, THE DEVOURING LAND, HOUSE OF EARTH, HOUSE OF STONE, THE LAST SENSOR, and THE GREAT FOREST), and the 3-part Book of the Huntress series (DAUGHTER OF DUST, DARK'S DOMINION, and SCARRED CITY). My latest novel, the time-travel thriller MYRIAD, releases in May 2023.

In my free time, I love to read, watch movies, and spend time in Nature with my kids.

Oh, yeah, and I like monsters. Really scary monsters.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 19 of 19 reviews
Profile Image for Ben Alderson.
Author 21 books13.5k followers
March 13, 2017
What can I say. The most unique post apocalyptic novel. Brilliant character development, and excellent world with mystery and danger. I really enjoyed the male protag.

I thought the ending was neat, well written and perfect. I did shed a tear at the end. Really get series, can not wait to fully review in my YT video !
Profile Image for Shannon (It Starts At Midnight).
1,189 reviews1,017 followers
August 13, 2016
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight
Last year, I read and reviewed Survival Colony 9, which was the first book in this series. It was so unique, something totally different to the dystopian/post-apocalyptic market. I had worried, when I read it, because the ending seemed way too open, and I wanted more. Then, I found out that there was going to be more, and I was happy again. I am going to do my very best to keep this spoiler free for both books!

Did this conclusion satisfy me? It most certainly did! Querry and the other survivors were back in full force, ready to live another day and fight the Skaldi. The atmosphere is just as desolate and unsettling as the first book, but there is a lot of depth to this second book, more even than in the first. My questions from Survival Colony 9 were answered tenfold, and I loved the development of the characters. We're introduced to some new characters who I thought were phenomenal additions, especially Mercy. (Wave to Mercy, she's up there on the cover!) She's exactly what I'd hoped to find in a tough female character, and so much more. She's witty and funny, and her personality is developed so well. Querry grows a lot as a character too, as he is forced to face a lot of really hard realities and decisions.

The plot of this book went places I never imagined, and I adored the twists and turns in this book. There were a few moments that were a little convenient for my liking, but overall, this was an incredibly solid sequel, and I couldn't put the book down in anticipation for what would become of Querry and his companions!

Bottom Line: This was a fresh and exciting series, a dystopian with some sci-fi thrown in. Scavenger of Souls offered an extremely satisfying conclusion!

*Copy provided for review
Profile Image for L.L. Reynolds.
Author 2 books105 followers
September 3, 2016
A truly thrilling read! Truth be told, I had been dying to get my hands on Scavenger of Souls, the much anticipated sequel to Joshua David Bellin’s Survival Colony 9. I have to say right up front … the book surpassed my wildest expectations. The author is a genius when it comes to writing plot twists that make my heart pound and my breath catch in my throat.

Lead character, fifteen-year-old Querry Genn, has had more questions than answers in his short life. Why are there ghastly monsters called Skaldi everywhere? Why does Querry have traumatic amnesia? Who is Querry's father? Wait, forget all that … who is Querry Genn? No, really. Who is Querry Genn? We finally find out in between brushes with the spine-tingling Skaldi. (If you think zombies and vampires are gruesome, then you better invest in some young adult diapers along with this book. The Skaldi are much more alarming!)

Bellin’s world building skills are nothing short of superb, and his character development is phenomenal. I adored the new female lead, Mercy. She kicks butt and takes names. Five stars!
Profile Image for Margo Kelly.
Author 2 books146 followers
August 18, 2016
If you have read Survival Colony 9, you must read Scavenger of Souls! And if you have not read Survival Colony 9 – what are you waiting for? Both books are fantastic, and Scavenger of Souls did not disappoint as a sequel. It picked up the storyline with Querry Genn and his quest to learn more about his past, but the journey is far from an easy one.

Joshua Bellin has an amazing talent for building worlds, developing characters, and devising an intricate plotline. Bellin created a desolate setting, which Querry must traverse to save himself and his friends while fighting the Skaldi. In Scavenger of Souls, there were some new plot elements, some new characters, and some old issues resolved. As Querry learns more and more about himself and about the world he lives in, he realizes “Answers aren’t always true … and the truth isn’t always the answer you want” (page 8).

Some of my favorite lines from the book:

“It felt like the nervous energy that comes from staying up too many nights in a row, that feeling of hypersensitivity all along your scalp and pressure building behind your eyeballs.”

“The sky had turned the color of a day-old bruise, reducing the glow of the black desert to a dull gleam like burnished metal.”

I recommend both Survival Colony 9 and Scavenger of Souls. Plus, the great news is - if you’ve not already read the first book, you can read it now and go immediately into the second book with no wait in between! YAY for books. And YAY for Joshua Bellin and his terrific novels.
Profile Image for Kristen Lippert-Martin.
Author 2 books125 followers
April 21, 2016
Omigosh, so many twists and turns and who-can-you-trusts in this book! Is it weird to say that I *liked* this world in all its spare, post-apocalyptic beauty? Both SURVIVAL COLONY NINE and this sequel share the same incredible world-building, and it blends perfectly with Querry's own personal mystery. And we have a new character to root for too. And a few to hate. And some surprises that I did NOT see coming. Aaannnd ... you should just read it to find out what I'm talking about!
Profile Image for Kat Ross.
Author 39 books733 followers
February 9, 2016
Oh, how I loved this book. The sequel to the terrific Survival Colony Nine, it picks up pretty much where we left all the finely drawn characters from book one: the wry protagonist, Querry Genn, his mother Aleka, various other adults, and the children and teens they're trying to keep alive in the parched wasteland of a future dystopia. And we get a new character: the enigmatic, trash-talking, ass-kicking Mercy of the cover, who it's pretty hard not to fall in love with.

Of course, there are plenty of secrets and surprises and twists, with the mystery of who the amnesiac Querry really is central to the story. Bellin is a sly plotter (you kind of know what's coming, except it turns out you don't), but his deepest gifts lie in creating memorable, all-too-human characters you can't help but care about, and finding the moments of haunting beauty in this bleak world he's created. The prose soars without ever feeling overheated, and there's a sense of optimism and resiliency even in the darkest moments that elevates it to the feel of a sci-fi classic. He's also a wonderfully visual writer, with an ear for dialogue and crisp, concise description that keeps the pacing hurtling along without sacrificing a strong sense of place. And the end…well, it's great when that's your favorite part, yes? It's what we carry with us, and Bellin's is exactly how I hoped this story would go.

I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC; fans of the first book will be well-satisfied with the deft handling of all the dangling plot threads, and will hopefully demand a third installment. Without any spoilers, I'll just say there's definitely room for one!
Profile Image for Darlene.
225 reviews13 followers
March 8, 2016
: SCAVENGER OF SOULS by Joshua Bellin is the follow up to his successful YA debut SURVIVAL COLONY 9. What a satisfying sequel it is! I enjoyed every moment I spent with Querry and his band of warriors as they fought for their survival in a post-apocalyptic world. This is the stuff movies are made of. For those who like action, adventure, memorable characters, and a plot that keeps you anxiously turning the page, this book is for you.
Profile Image for Elzbeth.
490 reviews
July 29, 2019
The thing that really got me about this book is really the thing that annoys me about many books: romance in the middle of running for our lives. Just make it stop. So yeah, Querry likes Mercy and Mercy likes Querry but within two pages of Querry’s mom dying, Mercy is trying to make out with him. Like, give him a second, Mercy! And sure, Querry pushes her off, but it’s because of “what he is” not the fact that he just killed his mom five minutes ago. This isn’t realized. It’s not cute. It’s annoying and it’s everywhere.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
95 reviews
March 29, 2020
This book was boring and didn’t like Mercy taking the Lord’s name in vain so much. It wasn’t needed and ruined the book along with everything else
Profile Image for Jess W.
79 reviews1 follower
June 5, 2017
Visit www.thebookmarkplace.com for more!

Romance Score: Between You’re Trying and Good Effort

I didn’t really feel the sparks in the main relationship, maybe because there was too much history between the two families or too many mysteries. I also think it’s tough when there are very small communities of people left and people end up with one of the only other survivors their age because it’s almost like an inevitable thing and not about feelings.

Feminist Score: Good Effort

The ladies in this book are interesting characters in their own rights. They make choices to keep themselves and the people they love alive. I appreciated that they were able to make mistakes, too. Through Aleka, we get an example of someone that does things for love and then must come to terms with the consequences – I like that she is allowed to without being villainized for her decisions.

Mercy is also a young woman that stands up for herself and struggles to find her place. She has been given a difficult situation and does the best she can to deal with it. She is strong, but allowed to be vulnerable.

There’s also a character that takes advantage of women. One of these women continues to fight against his (inhuman) power and the abuse on the page is light, so this wasn’t a deal breaker for me.

Diversity Score: Good Effort

I LOVED that this was a post-apocalypse book with people of color. And not like in Fury Road – in this world, background and main players are people of color – just like the real world.

There’s also a couple of characters with gigantism, although that isn’t explored in a very full way. Off of my limited knowledge, I would say this plays to stereotypes more than to a holistic picture of the physical issues that come with it.

One of the characters also ends the story as an amputee and, while we don’t get a lot of time with her at this point, her reaction provides some insight into what life may be like after losing a limb.

Awesome Factor: Good Effort

The story is intriguing and you don’t need to have read the first to get into this book. I’m always interested in seeing how an author has decided humanity will destroy itself – the premise here is definitely an engaging twist on the science-gone-too-far idea, although I was a confused on the exact specifics at the end (perhaps due to my own poor reading).

Favorite Character

Nessa – she doesn’t get a ton of time on the page, but when she does, she’s fighting everyone’s (low) expectations of her and doing what she must to survive

Fun Author Fact

Bellin has a blog highlighting YA and the writing process and the books he features are all over the place, so it’s pretty cool.

Is this worth a book hangover?

Scavenger of Souls features determined characters with a lot of spunk that face a difficult world and situation. If you’re intrigued by how far we’re willing to push science for the “good of the world” and what consequences may come from it, this is a story for you. If you’re interested in books that are about characters making difficult decisions, this is also for you.

Read These Next

Origin by Jessica Khoury for another story about (un)ethical science or 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil for characters that must face themselves and determine what, if anything, of ground-breaking discoveries the world should have.
Profile Image for Nic.
1,622 reviews60 followers
February 15, 2018
This book is a sequel, so I'm sure there are some things I'd understand better if I'd read the first one. (I received this one in a giveaway, and I don't have the first one, so that's why I'm reading just the sequel.) In particular, the references to Korah, Yov, and Laman, characters who died before this book started, and also the way the Skaldi creatures actually work, might be easier to understand if I'd read Survival Colony 9. Still, I think I got most of it.

Pretty intense and relentless. The characters basically suffer and press on desperately for almost the entire book. Kind of reminds me of The Scorch Trials, so fans of that one might like this one, too.

The writing is pretty good, I think. Personally, I like for a book to have a few more chances to take a breather, tone-wise. Even The Hunger Games isn't dire, desperate action for the entire novel. I also wish I understood better how some of the stuff - like the Skaldi - works, but again, maybe I would if I'd read the first book.

The one other thing I wish I could like better is Mercy's character. Among other things, she is a massive jerk to Nessa for basically no reason. When Mercy first appears, she glimpses Nessa being carried off by baddies who will force her into servitude and make her an unwilling wife of their leader. Mercy has precisely no sympathy, referring to Nessa - who she has literally never even met - as a "bimbo" and "floozy." Because . . . why? I seriously don't know. Is it supposed to be that she's jealous because Querry cares about Nessa? But Mercy doesn't even seem to like Querry at that point, and Querry and Nessa aren't an item anyway. Later on, Mercy suspects Nessa of having been taken over by Skaldi, and she wants to shoot Nessa, just to be safe. When it turns out Mercy was wrong, and Nessa has been brave and heroic and clever the whole time, there's no hint of an apology. Plus, I'm also weirded out by how Mercy keeps pushing Querry for kisses and other physical affection even when he's really not feeling it. Like, for example, half an hour after Querry watched his mother burn to death. When Querry rebuffs her, Mercy says something like, "Okay, but soon. I'm not known for my patience!" If she were a guy, that would sound suuuper threatening and bad, and the fact that she's a girl doesn't really make it okay.

Anyway, like I say, pretty good writing, and I think some people like this kind of relentless pacing in a book. The previous novel looks to have gotten some rave reviews; maybe having read that book would also impact one's enjoyment of this one.
Profile Image for Joy Givens.
Author 9 books37 followers
March 15, 2016
In this taut sequel to SURVIVAL COLONY 9, Joshua Bellin returns us to the decimated future landscape that Querry Gen calls home. Let me say this first and foremost: I was thirsty for most of this book. From the colony survivors’ initial trek through the melted desert to discover the cave-dwellers of the Canyon, from there to the mysterious base, and everywhere in between, Bellin has created such a gripping, sensory world for the reader that I literally felt thirsty as I read about their deprivation and depth of exhaustion.

So… it’s not a light read. As with its predecessor, the youth of the main characters in SCAVENGER belies the gravity and desolation of their world. Querry’s core goal is the protection of those in his colony, including his mother Aleka (who is seriously injured early on), but he discovers throughout the course of the novel that he may be more threat than protector to everyone he loves. Querry leads an escape attempt from the terrifying Asunder and the cultish pseudo-mysticism of his Canyon civilization, only to be taken by the fiery and precocious Mercy to a sterile and soulless base where secrets are peeled back like the layers of an onion. Via the enigmatic and ancient Udain, Querry finally receives the answers he’s been seeking—the events that destroyed the old world, the origins of the Skaldi, his own family history—and they are more horrifying than he could have imagined. Armed with little more than those answers and his own abilities, Querry is the last hope of the exhausted world around him against the fiercest enemies they have ever known.

The book’s pacing was almost too quick for me at times, if only because the richness of the plot kept producing more storylines and subtexts to unpack. (That might also have been because I was so engaged that I couldn’t slow down while I was reading.) SCAVENGER OF SOULS took me well out of my comfort zone, cutting somewhere between THE HUNGER GAMES and the Holocaust memoir NIGHT with its teenage perspective on graphic violence in a brutal and completely unforgiving world. The writing is distinctly cinematic; the imagery leaves just enough scope for the reader’s imagination, as if Bellin is providing the set-pieces so that we can put them on our own stages. This is definitely a book you’ll want to read again, for all the right reasons.
Profile Image for Dianne Salerni.
Author 16 books378 followers
March 18, 2016
4.5 stars. Scavenger of Souls is a fantastic sequel to Survival Colony 9. The unanswered questions of that book – What are the Skaldi? Where did they come from? Why did Aleka keep her relationship with Querry secret? – are revealed one after the other as a giant conspiracy putting the entire world at risk is unraveled.

Querry continues to be an admirable and worthy protagonist. Thrust by circumstances into a role of leadership, his decisions are always guided by the best interests of his colony, even to the point of self-sacrifice, and even in the face of devastating revelations about his personal history. At some points, I wondered how much more heartbreak Querry could take before he crumbled.

The one thing I missed was the sense of creepiness and horror from the previous book. The scientific premise behind the Skaldi is fascinating, but an enemy explained is not as scary as an unknowable one. The most frightening part of the book is not the Skaldi, but the megalomaniac humans who compound error after error and never doubt their right to make decisions that put mankind at risk. No monster can ever be as terrifying as a human leader with no humility and no doubt in his own greatness. (Today’s political climate made this part of the book even scarier.) Querry, with his guilt and self-doubt and willingness to sacrifice himself, is the kind of leader we need to see more of.

A must read for fans of Survival Colony 9.
Profile Image for Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*.
6,001 reviews193 followers
July 13, 2017
Bellin, Joshua David Scavenger of Souls (Survival Colony 9 #2), pgs. 356. Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, 2016. $18.99 PG – Language: 15-20 swears, Content: some violence.

Querry is now 15 years old and moving on through the desert with the survivors of Survival Colony 9 to find a place safe from the Skaldi. Skaldi are alien creatures that feed on humans and then take over their bodies. Once the Skaldi has taken over a human, it is hard to tell whether it is human or Skaldi. Querry has many questions. He can’t remember who he is or how he came to be in Survival Colony 9. His “father” was killed by the Skaldi and his mother, Aleka, isn’t filling in the blanks. Before you know it, the Colony faces another jeopardy-filled danger. Querry faces up to the new threat and, throughout the book, acquires the answers to his many questions.

I found this book a little slow at the start but it picked up momentum along the way. There were many plot twists and turns with a little romance thrown in for good measure. Querry, as the male central character was a plus, as was a strong female lead. The story tied up all the loose ends to Querry’s story quite nicely.

Profile Image for Christina Farley.
Author 10 books468 followers
March 26, 2016
I have been waiting anxiously for the sequel to Survival Colony 9 to release and Scavenger of the Souls does not disappoint! In fact, I loved this book even more than book 1. Bellin really nails the world building in Scavenger. I didn't think it possible to up the stakes any more than he did in Survival but I was wrong! Between the creepy new group that Querry discovers and a compound that holds deep, dark secrets of Querry's past, I was hooked from the very first page.

Bellin brings alive the characters in this book making them feel like I'm out there in the wastelands surviving along with them. And the Skaldi! I thought they were freaky in the first book but this one takes them to a whole new level.

If you are looking for a fast-paced novel with a unique spin to dystopian literature, then this book should definitely be on your to-read list.
Profile Image for Sheila Myers.
Author 16 books15 followers
September 30, 2017
A great sequel to "Survivor Colony 9". I enjoyed reading about what happened to the survivors and the final outcome. Don't worry if you haven't read the first book because there are enough details given that you can read this one and not get lost.
Profile Image for S. Martin.
Author 7 books63 followers
October 16, 2016
Upped it to four stars after a second read through. NOW my review will come soon.
339 reviews
May 1, 2017
definitely not as good as the first one. Does wrap up the story nicely with Querry understanding how he can fight the Skaldi (he essentially has some of it in him). They are rescued by a colony with a girl named Mercy, her grandfather leads it. They had built their colony on top of the lab where the scientist from old had actually developed the skaldi as weapons for fighting. They weren't aliens as originally thought to be. There is a lot of back and forth with the grandfathers two sons who had different visions (turns out Glenn from the first book who claimed to be Querry's father (but wasn't),is the son of the grandfather who did not agree with what his brother was trying to do so he left). In the end, they destroy the other brother and all the skaldi and make their way to another place, a safe place that Querry only remembers in his dreams. It does look ahead and show Querry and Mercy having a child and everyone rebuilding. So all is well that ends well.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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