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A Review of Bait, by Courtney Farrell

Updated on February 24, 2015

Summary of the Novel

A pox has swept across the United States. It attacked women first, with few surviving to satisfy the lust of the men of this apocalyptic world. Jack is in danger of her identity as a female being discovered, and so hides beneath baggy clothing and baseball caps. Even among her crew, she must keep her identity a secret. Females are a commodity, to be kidnapped and perhaps sold to the highest bidder.

Jack is able to hide her secret until the night that the pox stares out at her from the eyes of a rat for the first time. It's never moved from humans to animals before, and as she scrambles to make sense of this change in circumstances, Jack finds herself swept up in a whirlwind of activity, stealing supplies and a vehicle from another crew to take home to her boys. It is only then that they discover her true identity, and her secret, and learn how they must protect her.

It is also then that she becomes a prize among the boys of her crew, the three eldest vying for her attention. She must make choices, fending off the unwanted advances while learning to allow her new boyfriend to protect her.

Amid these new discoveries, something darker and more devastating lurks in the shadows. The pox can think, and it's coming for Jack.

Book Details

  • Title: Bait
  • Author: Courtney Farrell
  • Page Count: 480
  • Publisher: Fiction Foundry Press
  • Format: Kindle
  • Price: $5.99
  • Rating: Recommended

4 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Bait, by Courtney Farrell

Need to Know

I recommend Bait, by Courtney Farrell. This book is well suited to those reading in the New Adult category and anyone who enjoys dystopian fiction should enjoy this book. Lovers of zombie fiction may enjoy this book. I've classified it as dystopian apocalyptic fiction. Bait features elements of science fiction and some elements of horror as well.

The author sent me a copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review. I read it for free. If I had the choice to make again, I would be willing to pay $5.99 to read this book, and am confident that most readers will enjoy this book.

Farrell did a wonderful job of introducing her main character right from the start...

First Impressions

It only took me a couple of sentences to note that this book is extraordinarily well-edited for an indie novel. Poor grammar and punctuation have the unfortunate consequence of making a book difficult for me to read. When grammar and punctuation are excessively bad, I've been known to abandon a book. Many indie novels are poorly edited (or not edited at all) and I tend to go forward reading them with low expectations for editing.

I enjoyed the fact that the book took off running by placing Jackie in a dangerous situation that forced action and required her to make decisions for herself and for her crew. Farrell did a wonderful job of introducing her main character right from the start, and I enjoyed Jack immediately and immensely.

Bait captured my interest right from the start.


Grammar, Punctuation, and Spelling

Bait is well-edited and easy to read without unnecessary commas, quotation marks, or apostrophes. Farrell uses appropriate grammar and punctuation throughout the novel with minimal spelling errors.

More aggressive grammarians may find some issues with mis-used quotation marks (particularly when a character continues speaking for more than one paragraph) but the general population should find that this book reads as well as any traditionally-published novel.

Farrell gets four stars from me for grammar, punctuation, and spelling!

Substance and Cohesion

I enjoyed the story, but in the beginning I felt as though I was reading a series of short stories. In many cases these short stories (usually a chapter but sometimes two or even three) could have stood on their own and left me wanting more. This is a good thing on one level, but I didn't find that the book maintained its cohesion as a result of this. The chapters might have been improved if each scene connected more strongly to the next scenes.

This is a "New Adult" novel, and true to the popular formula for this genre, the main female character has not one romantic interest, but three.

The first half of the book sets the stage for what will come later, while focusing on the relationships. This is a "New Adult" novel, and true to the popular formula for this genre, the main female character has not one romantic interest, but three. Farrell focuses on these relationships and setting the story up for roughly the first half of the novel (but perhaps for a bit longer than that).

It would have been possible to tighten up the story and shorten the novel from its 480 pages (which is on the long side for this type of book) by moving the story forward sooner, and introducing the elements which would lead to the climax. While I cared about the main romantic interest in the story, it wasn't enough to hold my interest on its own and I would therefore have enjoyed more information about the pox and its effect on the North American continent.

This would have allowed the author to work on more development in the latter half of the book, where the real action begins to take place. I'd have appreciated more information and a clearer picture of the setting for this part of the story as well as a better understanding of some of the less-common words (or meanings) used in this book.

Bait leaves off on Farrell's attempt at a cliff hanger. If you do not enjoy cliffhangers, then you will want to skip this book. A sequel is planned.

Farrell gets four stars from me for substance and cohesion.

The root of Bait is as an apocalyptic zombie novel, but it goes further than that.
The root of Bait is as an apocalyptic zombie novel, but it goes further than that. | Source

Story and Setting

I wish I could say that I enjoyed the story of this book more, but I feel that the author fell short in many ways. It could have moved more quickly in the beginning and slowed down in the second half of the book in order to explain more about what was going on and the story of how the pox began. The book took me quite some time to finish because the story struggled to keep my interest, and at times I felt as though I was meant to take a break before reading the next section.

Dystopian fiction is my favorite, so I did enjoy this. It's one of my first apocalyptic books that I've finished (most I read are post-apocalyptic) and in that regard it gave me a good experience.

I only wish that this had moved faster and give more in the last two hundred or so pages. The characters (see below) managed to make up for what the story lacked, however.

Farrell gets three stars for story and setting.

I was not pleased when I realized that Farrell had introduced a second (and, in a way, a third) love interest for Jackie

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Characters and Relationships

I loved Jackie's character. Clever and caring, she's everything I like in a female heroine. She's strong in her own right, doesn't need men to protect her (in fact, she protects her all-male crew, including elder Joe!). Her conflicts are real and the urgency with which she handles her situation is understandable and well-handled by the author.

Unfortunately, I'm just not into love triangles. The romantic angel which is prevalent in so much young adult and new adult fiction these days is overdone and (in my opinion) annoying. It's no less so in Bait, for as much as I otherwise loved these characters, I was not pleased when I realized that Farrell had introduced a second (and, in a way, a third) love interest for Jackie.

If there has to be romance, then my preference is for the romantic interactions to be one-on-one, without interference. In the spirit of indie fiction, I've chosen not to consider this when rating the characters in the book.

Farrell gets five stars for characters.


Overall, I recommend Bait to my readers. I think that most people who trust my taste in books will enjoy this novel and should consider purchasing it. The book is worth the purchase price, in my opinion.

If you choose to purchase Bait, then I would love to see more readers take the time to review this novel on Amazon, Goodreads, and Shelfari. You can find the links to these services to the right, where you can click through and rate and review the book (only if you've read it, please!). Ms. Farrell is sure to appreciate more reviews of her book from those who have read it!

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