Compound 26: Book #1 in The Makanza Series
4.5 stars, actually.
Meghan lives in a post-Makanza virus ravaged Midwest United States. She’s lost alot along with most of the world to the virus that took out a huge percentage of the population and changed the few survivors to something other than entirely human. Now’s a woman with a mission– get a job at one of the Compounds that studies the survivors–the Kazzies– and find a vaccine. But what she finds at the Compound may change her view of Makanza, and herself, forever.
So there are two things that Krista Street does really well– one is the compelling, slightly naive, super-well meaning but anxious narrator voice. Meghan draws you in right away and takes you along with her on her first day at her new job. She’s so relatable and so easy to root for.
The other thing is the science. There’s nothing better than science fiction with great characters that sneakily teaches you a bit about the world you live in. Here there is some great ideas about how viruses might affect the U.S., infection vectors, government response, vaccine creation, and different virus strains. Very cool stuff.
And then there’s the central romantic relationship in the book…which after writing that sentence I realized is actually more of a central emotional relationship between Meghan and the mother of the Kazzie she is involved with just as much as the Kazzie himself. Never read a romance story where the courtship begins with tea and photos with the mom! But it totally works. And there’s all that juicy “can’t touch him through my bio containment suit” angst that Street milks really well. And the answer to the central scientific problem of how to obtain a dna sample from the Kazzies that didn’t degrade totally made me smile. So elegant, so lovely.
There’s just a few little nitpicky things that brought it down half a star for me that most likely wouldn’t bother other people. There’s a couple times where one character says something and then a different character says almost the same thing soon after. I was also a bit– and this is entirely on me, folks, and not probably reflective of the story, and who am i to say anything anyway because I am whitey white European mutt– uncomfortable sometimes of the images Meghan associated with her Kazzie because of his partial First Peoples ancestry.
Regardless of the nits I picked, Meghan’s got me hooked. I’m going to have to find out what happens to the Kazzies now that there’s an actual possibilty of a vaccine.