The world has collapsed, and there are no heroes any more.
But when a lone gunman reluctantly accepts the mantel of protector to a young boy and his dying mother against the forces that pursue them, a hero may yet arise.
An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review. This did not alter my thoughts in any way. The following text is my opinion only.
I really, really need to stop falling for covers. I mean, look at that baby right there – isn’t it just mad cool? It gives me that Assassin’s Creed vibe, something that I don’t really play (I gave up on the first mission…) but think is awesome nonetheless. I know, I know, there’s a bit of bias, but even without my identifying it with AC, it still looks pretty sweet. It has zombies. And it’s post-apocalyptic! POST-APOCALYPTIC! That means something happened that made the world this way. Something scary, to have all these zombies with blue eyes coming at our throats, right?! Right?!
But… le sigh…
If there’s one thing that this book made me feel, it’s disappointment. I expected so, so much, given that sci-fi and post-apocalyptic fiction are two of my favorite genres, but unfortunately everything felt so… I don’t know, lacking? For the first 90%, I was so frustrated with how things were going, and my mind was full of “WTF WTF WTF?!?!” and not in a good way.
First, there was very little world-building. I was just thrown into a world where there were fields and fields of empty lands, void of people and of life, save for a few walled cities and underground refuges. It’s post-apocalyptic but there were some technologies that still worked (like satellites orbiting the planet…). There were these zombie-like creatures popping at night, creatures who used to roam the world as humans. AND apparently, there were also some people with special powers… These were really interesting, but I couldn’t really picture it in my head because nothing was ever explained in depth. How am I supposed to consider this book as post-apocalyptic when no explanation has been given on how everything came to be? Was there a war? Was there a nuclear fallout? Where did these Weirs come from? Were they a result of some sort of mutation, or a failed bio experiment, or what? How the hell did certain people get to have superhuman abilities?
I really, really wanted everything to make sense, but it was one big WTFuckery throughout. There were times some terms were introduced, but like the world-building, I never got a clear picture of them. Apparently, you get “shipped” when you die, and it was thrown in several times, and each time I was like, “WHAT THE FUCK DOES SHIPPING OR BEING SHIPPED MEANS??!!! DUDE. As in, seriously. Then early in the novel, Cass showed this ability that kind of sends signals to satellites and can even take a sneak peek into some sort of internet technology that allows her to pinpoint where they are in a map… she used this twice in the beginning, but until the end, there were no explanation on how she can do that or on how that ability works exactly. AND IT WAS NEVER USED AGAIN. Just like that. Forgotten. Buried in the early pages. Never to be seen once more. Ugh…
And like I said, I couldn’t really imagine the place. The prose and narration was more telling of what the characters were doing every fricking second (verb here, verb again, then verb verb verb), that details on the environment were almost non-existent. I wanted more exposition regarding these things, because it’s with the environment and world-building where the post-apocalyptic element of this really shines. Of course, that’s just my opinion; it could be different for other people. But for me, post-apocalyptic depends on the scenery, on the setting, and on how this setting affects other people, how it becomes an important factor in their every day life. And I really didn’t see that here. Even the walled cities didn’t really make any sense. There was this city where apparently color was everywhere and people had a particular fashion sense, and I was like HUH?! Errrr…
As for the characters, I couldn’t really connect to them. At first, I totally liked Three as he was portrayed as this bad ass mofo who could kick your ass without batting an eyelid. He was shown as this way for the first 40 percent – cold, calculating, meticulous, kickass… and then later on, his personality did a 180° change. He suddenly traced his finger over Cass’ cheekbone gently, nudged her on the elbow after an inside joke, he winked, suddenly “stopped breathing” when Cass smiled at him, suddenly felt warm in his chest when he saw her… like WHOA. I know I sound really nitpicky right now, but why the heck would this book portray him so much like THIS, and then next chapter he’s like an all-new person? I don’t know, a lot of people may see that as character development, but it was just weird to me. It wouldn’t have been if there were more build-up between the two of them, but I didn’t really find any that justified this sudden change. Sorry, Three, you’re badass, but your lovesick puppy moments didn’t work out for me.
And, of course, there’s Cass… sigh. I really didn’t like this heroine. I thought she was so selfish and useless. She tried to get Three to help them run away from some bad guys due to her kid’s speshul power, leading him to a bigger trouble than what’s its worth without him knowing. I didn’t like how she involved him without having even the gall to tell him what he was up against. And apparently, she was part of this strong crew, the best crew evar that has killed a lot of people, and yet when she was traveling with Three, she was useless as hell! All she did was whine and cry and wait for things to happen or wait for Three to make things happen for her. She depended on him so much, that how she was a part of RushRuin’s crew was beyond me. Truly, truly baffling. There was this scene where she was so helpless on what to do, so she asked Three about it. He said he’ll find a way. And she was like, “Ok! He’ll find a way! Three always does! I’ll just sit here and relax!” Of course, that’s not really how it happened, but you know what I mean, right?
I think this book’s saving grace was Wren. He’s the kid the bad guys are after, and I think he was portrayed nicely. There are some books out there where there are kids below the age of ten, but act mature for their age, or too childish. I think the author shown his confusion, his innocence, and his fears really… accurately? If that’s the right word? Like you can really tell he’s a six year old and a half kid. Well done on that part.
90% of the plot didn’t really engage me. It was confusing as hell, frustrating, and sometimes boring. I had to skim a lot of pages. The last 10% was pretty fast-paced and cool, so that makes an extra star. I’m not sure if I’ll read the sequels, though… time will tell.
Final Verdict: 2 / 5 stars
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