Malice – By Pintip Dunn

Read it as a part of @dragonsandteabookclub‘s reading challenge. Finished on time! Phew!

The synopsis itself is so intriguing that there’s no room left for doubt. I had to pick this one up. It showed Feb 2020 as it’s release date, so yes it is quite new. Amidst the ongoing pandemic, this book can trigger a lot of anxiety for those who may be sensitive at this stage. The book is not as scary as one would expect. It doesn’t just speak of a global pandemic with no cure, but also how a broken human, and flawed love is instrumental in wiping humanity itself out.

Synopsis — What I know: a boy in my school will one day wipe out two-thirds of the population with a virus. What I don’t know: who he is. In a race against the clock, I not only have to figure out his identity, but I’ll have to outwit a voice from the future telling me to kill him. Because I’m starting to realize no one is telling the truth. But how can I play chess with someone who already knows the outcome of my every move? Someone so filled with malice they’ve lost all hope in humanity? Well, I’ll just have to find a way—because now they’ve drawn a target on the only boy I’ve ever loved… 

Whatever I expected the book to be, it was completely opposite. It began with some really fun, light tone of the protagonist Alice. But, the tone starts to get deeper and more complex. The world from the perspective of a 17 year old who is going through some real problems in her head (not the ones that a regular teen would go through). She hears voice in her head which is HER from the future, almost bullying her to do some things that can prevent the outbreak of the deadly virus that wipes out two thirds of humanity in the next 10 years.

**SEMI-SPOILERS AHEAD**

The characters in the book are quite relatable. Alice has to do what future Alice tells her. Future Alice is time travelling to the mind of the 17yo Alice, and the current (17yo) Alice has to figure out WHO needs to be killed in order to save humanity.

She doubts the wrong person(s). She falls in love with Bandit who she is not supposed to fall in love with (according to future Alice) but she does anyway. The catch is, that almost every character in the book has their future selves visiting them, so that kinda screws things up, obviously.

Through the entire book I was left guessing who is the person who invents the virus that kills most of the world. And I was wrong. It’s so well disguised in the plot you’re never gonna guess who it is. Don’t get fooled by the tone of the book, like I mentioned. It gets serious to the point of heartbreak in the end.

The cover gave me an impression that this would be a science-y book, but it was not. It was more about how Alice races against time. I expected some more detailing on the virus, perhaps a little darker plot. There were flaws though. One big. Lalana’s character was a massive waste. In no timeline was she effective with anything. Besides, if things were to get better in the current timeline, Lalana should have been stuck to the og timeline too and been with Alice. I really felt her character as well as her arc could have been much more defined and clear. I liked her, and then I did not care at all. Never saw that coming.

Alice and Bandit pretty much tie the book together. The romance is mellow but cute. The actual virus maker, though, haha! I won’t mention that I am not THAT evil.

All in all this one was a fun read. 3.5/5 – Not giving a solid 4 in the name of Lalana and not giving a damn about the grandfather paradox. That could have definitely been a part of some explanation here even as a mention. In fact, the grandfather paradox was as if people understood it well (perhaps they do) but not explaining that leaves a lot of questions. But, like I said, Time Travel is tricky.

Pick it up and I’m happy to discuss with you!

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