Review: Wisteria by Bisi Leyton (Blog Tour & Giveaway)

Posted January 23rd, 2013 in Blog Tour, book review, Giveaway / 12 comments


Wisteria Series, #1

by Bisi Leyton

Publisher: Self-Published (Aug. 2012)
Genre: YA, Horror, Sci-Fi, Paranormal, Post-Apocalytic
Format: eBook (278 pages)
Source: Blog Tour/Author
Purchase: Amazon
Rating: ★★★½☆ (3.5 stars)

Sixteen year old Wisteria Kuti has two options—track the infected around the Isle of Smythe or leave the only known safe haven and face a world infested with flesh eating biters. But even with well-armed trackers, things go wrong and Wisteria ends up alone facing certain death, until she is rescued by the mysterious Bach. Uninfected, Bach is able to survive among the hordes of living dead.

Eighteen year old Bach, from a race known as The Family, has no interest in human affairs. He was sent here to complete his Great Walk and return home as a man—as a Sen Son. The Family regard humans as Dirt People, but Bach is drawn to this Terran girl, whom he has never seen before, but somehow knows.

Hunted by flesh eaters, cannibals, and the mysterious blood thirsty group called Red Phoenix, Wisteria and Bach make their way back to the Isle of Smythe, a community built on secrets and lies.

At A Glance
Wisteria was a zombie, alien, post-apocalyptic mind explosion. However, the writing wasn’t great.

The Good
The concept of Wisteria is what drew me to this book. Aliens and zombies? I am so there. But I never expected the lengths this book went. I was sickened, excited, and terrified with every word, every page. I never knew what to expect next. I love a book that can keep me guessing.

The world Wisteria lives in is horrifying. The world is overrun with zombies, an infection that has only missed a few small communities that the remaining survivors have put together. And though zombies should be the number one fear, Wisteria has other problems. The community she lives in is run by the strongest and smartest, and they get to do whatever they want to the rest of the community without repercussions. Wisteria is close to the bottom rung of the social order, even though she is a tracker, someone who observes the zombies and patrols the surrounding areas. I found it so hard to watch Wisteria be repeatedly belittled and abused by her community. I was actually happy when she was left to fend for herself on the outside. I respected Wisteria for her strength and endurance. This girl never gets a break but she lives her life the best she can. The trials she goes through on the outside were gruesome, but through it all she kept her friends safe and did what was right, not what was easy.

Then Bach came into her life. Stupid aliens. Bach thinks himself superior to the dirt people, humans. He has to spend time on earth, watching humanity slowly die out, as a trial to become a man on his world. But when Wisteria comes into the picture, his narrow-mindedness stars to unravel. For the first time, he can see a human for something more. As something beautiful and interesting. And he can’t shake the feeling that he and Wisteria have met before, but when…where? Bach was hard to care about since he did act pretty emotionless and superior most of the book, but I also caught the few times his walls cracked and the caring, sympathetic Bach came out. I would like to learn more about his people because this book only skims the surface when it comes to the aliens.

Leyton was amazing at painting each scene with great detail. I could picture every place, every action without effort. And the overall theme and story has huge potential as a series. Just in this book alone we go through more than one person can handle in a sitting. So much happened it still makes my mind whirl. The tension and suspense were well done. My stomach was in cramps with the places Leyton took her characters. The world-building was complex but I did want a little more explanation on a few things.

Though this book had zombies, it wasn’t really a zombie book to me. The zombies were a factor but not a main focus in the story. Leyton focuses more on the relationships between people: between the aliens and the humans, between the meek and strong, and between Wisteria and Bach. Wisteria also raises a lot of questions that you are dying to be answered the whole book. Why do these aliens hate humans so much? Who was responsible for the infection? Who can these characters trust in a world falling apart? There were so many secrets revealed, and by the most unlikely people too. Nothing is as it seems. And when the Red Phoenix, alien hunters, came into the picture, all hell breaks loose. Are they bad or good? They added another element that kept the reader guessing.

I am very interested to see where this story goes. Only a few things are resolved in this book, but so much is left to fix, to deal with. I want to know what’s next for Wisteria and Bach because after what they went through together, I can only hope a happy ending is on the horizon.

The Bad
I think the biggest thing that bothered me was that Wisteria was treated like crap from a lot of people and no one stopped the abuse, not even she did much to stop the verbal and physical abuse from her schoolmates. People claim to care for her but just stand by while she is abused. I didn’t like it, it made my stomach hurt.

But it’s the writing that made me take away the one and a half stars. This book has a first-time writer feel to it. The dialogue was often mechanical and it felt off. Some scenes felt rushed while others dragged out. Bach’s background or story should have been introduced sooner. I was confused for a lot of the book, especially in the beginning, on what Bach’s whole deal was. And really, Bach is not a likable character. I finished the book and still didn’t like him. He mostly has no emotions, but when a few shine through, it’s contempt and hate for others not like him. Really, Bach, you’re not that great yourself.

The Snuggly
Not much snuggly in this book. Bach is too mean throughout most of it for us to enjoy the few times he and Wisteria kissed and touched.

Final Thoughts
I enjoyed this book overall. I wasn’t wowed by the writing, but the concept kept me reading. I like books that keep me wound tight with tension and have me guessing until the end. Wisteria does that for sure. Recommended for those looking for a different kind of zombie book.

“I know you had nothing to do with the Red Phoenix attack,” Bach finally spoke. “I should not have let Enric do what he did.”

“No, you shouldn’t have, Bach.” She marched up to him and poked her finger to his chest. “I did everything I could to protect you on the street and in the dungeon. I gave you all my food. That crazy woman, Mackenzie, almost killed me because of you.”

“I did not know.” Bach responded quietly.

“No, you didn’t. You were only thinking about yourself, your cohort, or that damn cult–whoever those people are. You see the whole world from your point of view. I get it, Bach. You’ve have a hard life. Well, big surprise! Everyone has had a hard life since the outbreak.” She closed her eyes and backed away from him while seeming to hold back her tears.

Author Bio
Bisi Leyton was born in East London in 1978. She grew up in London, Nigeria and the States, listening to the stories life and love from aunts, cousins and big sisters.

She lives in London, but has worked around Europe including France, Germany, Ireland, Belgium and the Czech Republic. She has a fondness for reading graphic novels.

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12 Responses to “Review: Wisteria by Bisi Leyton (Blog Tour & Giveaway)”

  1. Sarah Elizabeth

    So glad to hear that this is good! I have both this and the sequel to read 🙂 I hate it when characters are poorly treated though, it just seems so unfair!

  2. Jaclyn Canada

    I love it when a book keeps me guessing too! That’s one of my favorite things about a book nowadays. The problems with Wisteria not standing up for herself though…that would bother me quite a bit. I found it hard to watch Claire in Morganville because it seems to me like she just let Shane use her all the time and I can’t stand for a girl not to stand up for herself. The concept of aliens and zombies together in one book is interesting to me though and I’m wondering what the storyline really was that pieced it all together. Excellent review! Jaclyn @ JC’s Book Haven

  3. Elisa

    hmmm, the zombies and aliens sound good. I really like the idea of this world. I can deal with the slights if the world is built that way, but it makes me crazy watching them have to deal with it! ESPECIALLY if the protag was alive pre and post crazy world and they have to learn to be the bottom of the rung, but if they are born there…. still sucks, but that is what they know. I might have to check it out (when I can dig out from under the pile I am currently sitting under) 🙂 excellent review!

  4. Cecilia Robert

    I’ve been really curious about this book since I saw it on some blogs. Great book title name. eyecatching. 🙂 Thanks for the review, Jennifer. 🙂

  5. kimbacaffeinate

    Really great review Jen, I was curious about this and really appreciate your honest review, with so many books out there and a tbr pile that could fill a train…it really helps..thanks!

    • Jennifer Bielman

      I agree, you have to get an idea about certain books through reviews before you choose to read them because there are just too many you can end up adding on your TBR.

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