Savage / by Thomas E. Sniegoski

savageBibliographic Information:

  • Classification: Fiction (Dewey: -Fic-)
  • Publisher, Date: New York: Simon Pulse, 2016.
  • Edition, First
  • Description: hardcover (library binding); 408 pages ; 22 cm
  • Interest Level: YA; Lexile Measure: 960
  • Summary: “Sidney and her friends must race to find the origin of a storm that has hit their small island home turning every animal into savage weapons”– Provided by publisher.
  • ISBN:978-1-4814-4373-9 (hardback)
  • Subjects:
  • Survival — Fiction.
  • Hurricanes — Fiction.
  • Self-actualization (Psychology) — Fiction.

Reader’s Annotation: Bugs, birds, cats, rats, dogs and every non-human life form, all trying to kill you and every other person they can find!  How do you escape when they are everywhere?

Plot Summary: There is something terrible riding the storms as they move across the oceans and on one small island it leaves death in its wake.  On another island in another part of the world, 18 year old Sidney Moore, is preparing to leave for the main land vet school she’s been accepted at while dealing with dueling stresses caused by leaving behind a sick father and the long-term boyfriend she just broke up with.  All of these concerns are rendered unimportant, however, as something unexpected arrives on the wind.  After a huge storm bears down on Benediction Island Sidney, Sidney’s ex-boyfriend, another male friend, her dog, and eventually the town vet, find themselves doing battle with every non-human form of life – along with one slightly undead human – on their little East Coast island home.  Something has come to the island in the storm and ‘infected’ every form of animal life except Snowy, Sidney’s deaf German Shepard.   The kids must do battle with killer bugs, birds, rats, and cats, not to mention the occasional dog, as they struggle to save loved ones and strangers alike in this often grisly YA horror novel.

Critical Evaluation: In general, this book was a good read.  The main character, Sidney, is a young woman who is more complex and independent than most of the female characters in Young Adult fiction.  Unfortunately, one of the side effects of a fast moving novel is that it is often more difficult for the writer to create three dimensional characters and that is one of the problems in this case.  You get a good sense of who Sidney is but the other characters are less clear.  Her ex-boyfriend seems kind of weepy and self-centered while the non-romantic boy-friend, seems to be a bit shallow but a nicer guy.  There is another female character who, for reasons never made clear, hates her husband so much that she bashes his head in right after the book begins.  She is punished for this by his re-animation as a killing machine controlled by whatever it is that is causing the animals to go mad.

This is actually one of the things that bothered me the most about the book.  Was he actually dead and then re-animated, or was he just brain damaged and re-animated?  It may be a small thing but I don’t like plot devices that are poorly constructed.  Certainly, a writer shouldn’t have to spell out everything in detail but if it concerns a primary question of the story it should be at least an understandable.  And this seems to be a consistent issue for the writer, who assumes the reader will continue to suspend logic and reason because it’s a good story.  That only goes so far especially when dealing with the behavior of major characters.

But overall, if you like horror you will probably like this book.  It just gory enough for chills but doesn’t offend the sensibilities too much.

Author’s Brief Bio:  “THOMAS E. SNIEGOSKI is the author of more than two dozen novels for adults, teens, and children. His teen fantasy YA series Fallen was adapted into a trilogy of monstrously successful TV movies by ABC Family Channel. His other books for teens include Sleeper Code, Sleeper Agenda, Legacy, and Force Majeure, as well as the series The Brimstone Network. The author’s first adult novel, A Kiss Before the Apocalypse, developed into a series of novels about the character Remy Chandler.
Sniegoski’s work for younger readers includes the Billy Hooten: Owlboy series and the fantasy quartet Magic Zero, which he co-authored with Christopher Golden. Magic Zero is in development as a film at Universal. Sniegoski and Golden have also collaborated on the adult dark fantasy series The Menagerie, and multiple creator-owned comic book series, including The Sisterhood, which is being prepped for a feature film by InterMedia, and Talent, currently in development at Universal after a major bidding war.
As a comic book writer, Sniegoski’s work includes Stupid, Stupid Rat Tails, a prequel miniseries to international hit Bone. Sniegoski has also written the Bone: Quest for the Spark novels. Sniegoski collaborated with Bone creator Jeff Smith on the prequel, making him the only writer Smith has ever asked to work on those characters. Sniegoski and Golden also wrote the graphic novel BPRD: Hollow Earth, a spinoff from Hellboy.
Sniegoski was born and raised in Massachusetts, where he still lives with his wife LeeAnne and their dog, Kirby.“  Retrieved from

Genre Designation: Science Fiction/Horror

Possible Curriculum Links:

  • Extreme Weather Conditions
  • Natural Disasters

Book Talk Ideas:

  • Do you have a pet? How much do you trust that pet?

Materials Relating to Potential Challenges:


Why this book was selected?

I selected this book because I was at first simply drawn to the cover, but after reading what is was about I became curious enough to read the whole thing.


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