Tag Archives: post-apocalytic

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of KINDLE Ebook Scavenger Alliance – Book 1 of the Exodus series by Janet Edwards

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I was a bit shaken to see that I’d let this one slip under my radar as I’m a real fan of Edwards’ writing. But fortunately Himself was on the ball and picked it up for me…

In the year 2408, a century after the invention of interstellar portals, seven hundred people scavenge a living in abandoned New York. The respectable citizens have either withdrawn to new settlements in the countryside, or joined the great exodus of humanity to new, unpolluted colony worlds, but eighteen-year-old Blaze is one of the undesirables that neither the citizen settlements nor the new colony worlds will accept. Blaze’s mother died six years ago. She thinks her father is Donnell, the leader of the uneasy alliance between the remnants of the Earth Resistance and the old criminal gangs. It’s less clear what Donnell thinks, since he barely speaks to her. The alliance is crumbling under the strain of its hardest winter ever, when an old enemy tries to use Blaze as a pawn in a power bid. She thinks her life can’t possibly get more difficult, but then an aircraft carrying three off-worlders arrives in New York.

This post-apocalyptic science fiction adventure is set in the same world as the popular Earthgirl series – see my review of Earthgirl here – but earlier when Earth is still reeling from the Exodus. There is still a group of people eking out a living in the ruins of New York and we follow the fortunes of one of the teenage girls, Blaze. Once again, Edwards has depicted a sympathetic, readable protagonist so we get a ringside seat in her gritted existence as the group battle horrible alien creatures, the constant threat of starvation and illness. However, most of the time Blaze is more taken up with the tensions within the group as some dangerous people are unwilling allies and want to take over the group. And right in the midst of this, three off-worlders turn up, completely ignorant of their way of life.

It’s a nifty plot device as Blaze is regularly having to explain to the clueless bunch what is going on, allowing the equally ignorant reader to glean important details about their everyday life without it turning into an info dump. Particularly as one of the group, Tad, is a real motor-mouth who seems to expect everyone else to wait with baited breath as he asks a constant stream of questions. And a fair number of them are really stupid – while others display a disquieting amount of knowledge about Earth that he shouldn’t have…

As a YA book there is a romance, but as ever with Edwards, it doesn’t hi-jack the story which suits me just fine. In fact, while I always enjoy Edwards’ books, this one nocked up the action and tension such that I didn’t put it down until I’d finished it. If you like your science fiction with a gritty edge, plenty of action and a readable protagonist then go searching for this one. It’s one of the best science fiction adventure tales I’ve read this year.
10/10

Review of Angelfall – Penryn and the End of Days – Book 1 by Susan Ee

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I had heard about this self- publishing phenomenon at the time – but somehow didn’t get around to tracking down a copy of the book. So imagine my surprise when there it was, in my local library. Naturally, I had to whisk it off the shelves. Would I enjoy it as much as The Hunger Games trilogy?

It has been six weeks since the angels returned to Earth and destroyed the world as we know it. When they fly away with a helpless little girl, her sister Penryn will do anything to get her back…

angelfallI’ve read a couple of apocalyptic books, recently – so this post-apocalyptic offering is timely. It certainly is a page-turner – Penryn is an appealing protagonist, street-smart and tough after having lived alongside and cared for her mentally ill mother, in addition to looking after her paraplegic young sister. The narrative engine of the story is Penryn’s frantic search when she witnesses Paige being snatched from her wheelchair by an angel and carried off. After helping another angel, Raffe, who was wounded by Paige’s abductor, they team up and experience a series of adventures, despite the fact that angels regard humans with contempt, calling them monkeys.

The book is written in Penryn’s first person viewpoint, so it is vital that we engage with her and I think her strong characterisation is one of the key appeals of this book. The present tense throughout emphasises the fast-paced action that tends to characterise YA books – and this is certainly a foot-to-the-floor non-stop ride for all you adrenaline junkies. Despite the YA tag, there is a lot of violence and some of it is visceral, particularly near the end.  The world that is portrayed by Ee is deeply unpleasant – everything has gone to Hell in a handcart since the angels struck. Several reviewers felt that the speed at which everything has disintegrated is too fast, given that the angels destroyed civilisation six weeks ago. But having read one or three apocalyptic books in my time, I reckon Ee has it about right. There are still a handful of houses where there are slim pickings, while survivors have banded into gangs, the majority of them aggressive males. Once electricity becomes sufficiently unreliable so we cannot rely on most of our clever machinery to keep ourselves clean, fed and watered – life in any sized town rapidly would become untenable. Very rapidly…

I also like the fact that Penryn doesn’t know much about anything. She doesn’t know why the angels struck, and is unaware of the warring factions amongst them until she sees the attack on Raffe, who isn’t the chatty sort. The relationship between the two of them is nicely judged – I personally would prefer it if it doesn’t slide into lurve as I think the prickly tension between them is far more interesting– but I’m not the target audience for this sub-genre.

So… after all the adventures, fights and harrowing discoveries, does Ee satisfactorily wrap up this story? No, she doesn’t. She leaves it dangling on something of a cliffhanger – and still managed to garner a hatful of five star reviews from ecstatic readers. While the prose is a tad basic, Ee produces strong characters, plenty of thrills and spills and an intriguing world where we are left wondering exactly what is going on. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book, World After.
8/10