Review : Variant, Robison Wells

Variant by Robison Wells

October 18th, 2011 (US)


Benson Fisher thought a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.

He was wrong.

Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.

Where breaking the rules equals death.

But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible.

My review

It’s an awesome novel, it’s not a dystopia but rather a science fiction story as it’s takes place in the contemporary world. But Maxfield Academy is not normal at all.

Benson is an orphan and applied to a boarding school to have a normal schooling. But, as he enters in Maxfield Academy, he understands he is trapped in this strange school and he has to choose his gang.

In the beginning of the story, one character quotes Lord of the Flies by William Golding and it’s almost the same situation in this novel. Teenagers are left alone, locked in the school, and controlled by people outside like a lame TV reality show or a scientific experiment. A strange social organization has built up and 3 gangs emerged.

As Benson tried to understand this universe which came his and above all, he seeks for a way to escape, he gets used to this way of life and makes friends, though he was lonely before.

The story is very addictive with action and suspense. Like Benson, we entered in this school and we don’t know what’s happening, we are learning in the same time as Benson the rules and the mysterious atmosphere. There are unexpected twists which turned the evolution of the story in a complete different way.

It’s brilliant, I couldn’t put the book one tome and I’ve read it straight in one time. The meaning of what’s happening is not approached in this first book, I hope it will be developed in the sequel. Moreover, there is a cliffhanger in the ending.


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