So I can’t remember if I have written multiple reviews on one author (that is not a sequel because I have written reviews on books in a series) but this is my second review on one of Jessica Khoury’s books. The first one was for Vitro and if you read that one then you know I loved it. She is one of my favorite authors. I have read all of her books (stay tuned for another review of her latest book) and I have even met her in person.
Kalahari is about Sarah who has lived in the African Safari for most of her life. Having parents who are zoologists means she has lived pretty much all of her life in different exotic location. Her mother has recently passed away so it is just her, her dad, and their friend Theo who is one of the last people who follows the traditional Bushman lifestyle. They work on conversation efforts in Africa. They need money so they take on 5 teenagers who are going to come for two weeks and learn about their work in order for Sarah and her Dad to get more grant money. However, something goes wrong and Sarah and the teenagers get separated from her father and Theo. While trying to locate her father the group stumbles upon a pure silver lion and a science project that could destroy all life on the planet. Now they have to try and survive the African Safari and get to the government to warn them all while being hunted down by the scientists and lion.
One thing I really like about her books are the science and ethical issues that they discuss. I loved how she incorporates the issue of how far is too far when it comes to scientific research. The scientist started how with good intentions but it went wrong. This is a topic that is so intriguing to me and I love how well she incorporates it into this adventurous story.
The setting was also so amazing. Having the African Safari as the backdrop of this life or death situation was perfect. Every time they would be wandering the desert, I mean semidesert (you will get that if you read the book), I would feel myself stress out hoping they would find shelter or food or water. She had actually went to Africa for research for this book and it showed. The setting was described so perfectly that you believed that it is exactly how she described it. She also does a wonderful job of incorporating the Bushman history and lifestyle into the book. I learned so much about a culture that I knew nothing about but she did it in a way that didn’t feel like listing facts.
The characters were by far her best characters. At least in my opinion. Sarah was a great main character. She was strong enough to lead the group but not perfect and selfless. She would get angry when they would slow her down or do something wrong. Even though she was anxious to move and felt slowed down by the group she never abandoned them. But she still snapped at them and was not very accepting of them throughout the first half of the book. Then all of a sudden she starts calling them her friends. She showed great character development.
The other characters also showed a great lesson that not everyone is what they seem. Sarah judged each of the other people when they first arrived and was proved wrong in her assumptions. All of the characters, Joey, Avani, Miranda, Kase, and Sam proved that appearances can be misleading. The romantic sub-plot between Sarah and Sam was done really well too. I liked that it was not the main focus of the story. Instead it happened in the background of the everything else happening. It did not really get in the way of the main plot but instead flowed with it.
The only thing I really didn’t like was the ending. The wrap-up of everything at the end felt really rushed and I would have liked it flushed out a little more.
This was by far my favorite book in her Corpus trilogy. And luckily for you guys you don’t have to read the books in any particular order. I read Origin long before I started this blog but that one was really good as well. I highly suggest reading these books if you want a science fiction and adventure book that won’t bore you with all the science details.
P.S. I had to attached my autograph. The “Don’t scratch” is a reference to the book so if you want to know what it is you’ll have to read it to figure it out.