by Mike Whitmer
for The Deseret News
Tory Brennan and her four Virals pack members are back for another challenge. Endowed with super abilities from a rogue virus, the five adventurers are on a quest for a lost pirate treasure, but they aren’t alone in the search.
Author Kathy Reichs, creator of the “Bones” TV show, delivers another story for young adults in a tale that is rife with tension, thrills and danger.
Tory, with her friends Ben, Hiram and Shelton and her faithful wolf-dog, Cooper, form the pack known as the Vials. Each member of the pack has developed special canine characteristics after coming into contact with an illegally developed parvovirus created by Dr. Marcus Karsten.
These special powers, plus the determination of the teenage mind and heart, drive the Virals as they seek to discover a way to help their families.
Budget cuts threaten the facility where their parents work, and unless the Virals can come up with millions of dollars, their lives will be changed forever and they will be separated.
Following the clues of a 300-year-old map, Tory and the boys begin a search for a lost treasure hidden by the infamous female pirate Anne Bonny. Along the way they must deal with hidden traps, gun-toting criminals and secret messages that make the way more difficult. Added to this, Tory also has to contend with her newfound dad and his society-obsessed girlfriend who wants to make her a social debutante.
Reichs has captured much of the angst and struggles of being a young adult and wanting to move to the full adult world. While Tory and her friends struggle with their new powers, they are also trying to find place in the world where they live.
Reichs has also included a fair amount of language and attitude that may concern parents of young people. In addition to normal teen swear words and replacement words for swear words, there are many instances of lying to parents and disobeying rules of the family and society. Using movie standards, this book would probably earn a PG-13 rating for language, violence and inappropriate attitude.