My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book in a giveaway from the author a few years ago. The delay in finally getting around to reading it was partly because I’ve gone digital, and I only had the paperback. The relative short length of it and the tail end of 2017 rolling up with my reading goals still incomplete prompted me to pick it up. Finishing in on New Year’s Eve is quite the testament to procrastination.
I have given the book three stars, even though on a grouchier day I might have gone with only two. The uptick is because the story was told well, and the conclusion was very satisfying. It isn’t often you find an ending like this one in an apocalyptic tale. The author writes quite vividly, and you are never at a loss for immersion into the surroundings of the world. It can make for some tedium at times, especially when describing things that are only encountered in passing… but then again, so can life.
The tale itself is centered around a brother and sister duo trying to make it in the post-apocalyptic world 20 years after the vast majority of the population has been wiped out by plague. There are few people left, and fewer that are decent human beings. The detritus of a technological society is left behind for them to sift through as it slowly turns to dust. What once was plentiful is now becoming scarce, and scavenging nomads are beginning to realize that eventually, it will all be gone. A chance encounter with another wanderer brings information that few know about the fall of civilization and the true Monster of the Apocalypse. Despite some very hokey conspiracy theory stuff about why society had gotten so bad before the plagues, I still found the general premise of this scenario plausible.
I do have to put down the negatives I see in the book to explain why it was almost a two star. I see some writing foibles that I, myself, had pointed out to me in my own work. The two most obvious are the sudden shifts in point of view, and the lack of transition of topics. There were many times in the book where I was jarred completely out of the story by the sudden shift from one head to the next, or even to an omniscient view that told me something as fact, rather than showing me how it developed. A couple time, I even got lost and had to re-read sections to determine which thoughts went with which character. There was also a tendency to write short clipped sentences, and to jump from one idea to a completely unrelated one in the next paragraph without any trail out or lead in whatsoever. It’s almost like a mental non-sequitur that leaves you asking ‘woah, where did that come from?’ The last gripe I have is character behavior. I enjoyed the tale, even though some of the characters were a little too silly in the mistakes they made. I can buy clueless teenager, but if you say they aren’t in once sentence and then make them act that way in the next, I get irked. Consistency in character traits are important to me.
So, to sum up, I probably should give only two stars, but the good plot, the decent descriptiveness, and the more than satisfying ending pulled it out of the ditch at the end. I give it three stars and call it Decent Apocalyptic Read.