Those who have power don’t want to give it up and are often reluctant to share it. Those who don’t have power want it and will often go to extremes to acquire it. When the balance of power begins to shift against those who hold power, bad things can happen.
When the male-female balance begins to shift drastically in favor of females, the men in power begin taking drastic and deadly steps to redress the situation. Eden by G.C. Julien and Ash S-J is a different kind of post-apocalyptic novel. The cataclysmic event is not a meteor strike, rising ocean levels, or a nuclear war, but a shift in the birth rate giving women a vast numerical advantage. This leads to all-out gender warfare and the creation of single-gender enclaves at war with each other for survival. Through character shifts and flashbacks the authors show us a dark world that, given the current state of affairs globally, is not an impossible scenario to imagine.
In the midst of a seemingly hopeless situation, the actions of a few free-thinking and courageous individuals offer the only glimmer of hope. It is on that hope that the fate of the world rests. A chillingly realistic look at a world that one prays will never come to be. It sucks you in to a whirlpool of action, human angst, violence, and hope, and spits you out at the end breathless.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review. Without hesitation, I give it four stars.
After a cosmic event has mostly destroyed earth, turning many survivors into mutants known as Zaps, the surviving unaffected humans gear up for an assault on the cities, now held by the Zaps. In the middle of this war of extinction, a small band of survivors is only trying to do just that—survive.
Rachel Wheeler, part human, part mutant, is feared by both sides, but when her group is drawn into what could be the final battle for humanity’s survival, she must decide whether to stay loyal to those she loves or fight for a cause she doesn’t fully believe in.
Earth Zero by Scott Nicholson is the second book in the post-apocalyptic Next series. In this story, the mutants have evolved the framework of a function society, but under the leadership of perpetual babies who are without maturity or moral compass, while the remnants of human society are in isolated bands worldwide, many having descended into anarchy. Unlike the first book, which focused primarily on Rachel, the main protagonist, this book shifts viewpoint several times to other characters, which can cause a bit of confusion.
It is still an interesting and provocative read. I give it four stars.
Five years after a massive solar storm has destroyed human civilization and spawned a race of mutants, called Zaps, Rachel Wheeler, herself half-mutant, and her mismatched family, barely clinging to existence in an abandoned military bunker, are faced with a fateful choice. Do they continue hiding out, or do they seek other humans in an effort to rebuild some semblance of human society.
The problems they face are tremendous. The Zaps have concentrated in major cities, and seem to have evolved into a society of sorts, radiation has created monsters on land, sea, and in the air, whose only aim is to feed, and the remnants of the American government have coalesced into a force bent on eliminating the Zaps and retaking earth for humans.
Rachel is faced with a dilemma; should she continue to honor her human side, or become fully mutant?
Afterburn is the first in the post-apocalyptic Next series, which follows Rachel as she fights for survival—of what, she is not certain. The author has created a stunning cast of characters, focusing primarily on the humans, Rachel’s family and the soldiers of the rump government. The Zaps, the principal antagonists in this compelling thriller, are less fully developed, leaving the reader to guess at their motives and abilities—but in such a way as to send chills through your body as you read.
The book ends on a chilling cliff hanger, and the frightening thought—what next?
An interesting beginning to a depressing and frightening look at what could be. I give it four stars.
Theo then finds himself and his friends between forces contending for control of what they now call Atlantic Island, and they are soon in a life or death struggle against greed, corruption, and a lust for power, all backed by a strange force that he doesn’t understand. Both Theo and Kylee must face up to unthought-of challenges and rise to the occasion or they and their friends will die.
Atlantic Island by Frederic Shernoff is an interesting post-apocalyptic/sci-fi thriller that is also something of a coming of age story. While it’s a bit choppy in places, and often makes abrupt temporal shifts, it is nonetheless an entertaining read for fans of the genre. The author does a good job of foreshadowing the source of the main antagonist’s strength and mental instability without actually giving it away until the fateful confrontation. I was a bit disappointed that the ‘terrible incident’ referred to by the Coast Guard officer to Theo at the end was not explained in more detail. It would also have been nice if there’d been an explanation of how the ‘orb’ worked.
I ordinarily don’t like books to end on cliff hangers, but I’ll give the author a pass on this one. He settled all but one of the problems that arose, and set it up for an interesting sequel. I give the book three and a half stars.
Selah Rishon Chavez, on the eve of her 18th birthday, captures an elusive Lander, one of the strange, marked people who occasionally wash up on the shore of her community. But, her captive is taken from her by her brothers, taken to be sold to the Company in the Mountain, and to make matters worse, Selah awakens the next morning with the mark of a Lander upon her on flesh. What she learns then will change her entire life, and only the Lander, Bodhi Locke, can help her survive.
Thunder by Bonnie Calhoun is a finely-told apocalyptic tale of a future-America after natural and manmade disasters have reduced the once-great country to a series of feudal settlements. It is the story of a girl who discovers a legacy that explains her troubled life to that point, while at the same time, it threatens to end it.
Riveting storytelling, relatable characters; this one will keep you reading. I give it four stars.
With most of the world’s population dead and gone, the survivors are scattered and fighting to hang on to what little humanity they have left. These ‘leftovers’ each have his or her own unique way of coping with the apocalypse.
The Scattered and the Dead by Tim McBain and L.T. Vargus is a series of stories of the individual ‘leftovers,’ some beginning just before the tragedy has completely enveloped the world, and some taking place at different times afterwards. Each story unfolds slowly; the authors intersperse them, moving from one character to another in a measured fashion, showing how he or she deals with an uncertain and gloomy future.
The switching, of character and time, can be a bit confusing for about the first third of the book, but you soon get in the swing and it all makes sense. A chilling tale, as much for the almost distracted way it’s handled. Once you start reading, you’ll be hooked.
Five stars for a great read.
A global terrorist attack sends the world back to the 19th century, with anarchy and chaos ruling. On an island off the coast of Oregon, though, thanks to the foresight of Eden McKay’s father, things are peaceful—relatively. When Eden’s mother wants to see her other daughter before she dies, Eden has to leave the safety of her small town and venture onto the mainland. The only help she has is Aaron Jenkins, a Navy SEAL who has fought his way through hell to get back home. The two of them must fight packs of wild dogs and even wilder humans in order to get their mission accomplished and survive.
Eden’s Promise by M.J. Frederick is a post-apocalyptic novel that is fast-paced, yet profound, as it explores the depths of human depravity and the heights of nobility. You won’t be able to put it down. I give it four stars.
Apocalyptic Fears II is a collection of 12 tales of the world after things fall apart. The 11 authors featured in this box set are at the top of their game in the indie and small press world, with an assortment of stories of what the world might be like after devastating war, alien invasion, and other assorted tragedies. I’ve already read several of these tales individually, and liked them, but it was nice to have them all together in one place for the time when I feel like binging. It was a treat to re-read such stories as ‘And then There Were Giants,’ by Greg Dragon. This collection of extremely tall tales is a great read for fans of the genre. There is something for every taste, including a zombie western.
Don’t miss out. I give it four stars.
Apocalyptic Fears I is a box set of 14 apocalyptic stories, edited by David VanDyke, and containing his story, ‘Reaper’s Run,’ as well as 13 other stories by authors such as Marilyn Peake and David Beers.
I’ve previously read and reviewed Peake’s stories of a secret government program to create an army of zombie soldiers, and the first two in the series, ‘Mutation Z,’ are included in this collection.
Each author comes at the post-apocalypse world differently, with stories that are as fascinating as they are far-fetched. And, each gives readers a chilling look at what things will look like when civilization fails and life as we know it ceases to exist. Whether it’s a takeover by a superior AI with the aim to create the perfect—and totally subservient—human, or when those hungry for power overreach in their efforts to take and hold it, fans of the genre will find a story here that will tap into whatever is his or her greatest fear.
A few of the stories could have used a bit more proofreading, but the few gaffes that were missed don’t detract from some great storytelling.
I received a free copy of this set in exchange for my unbiased review. I give it four stars.
In Stuff of the Stars, award-winning author David Litwack told the story of childhood friends Orah and Nathaniel, and their voyage to find the descendants of the Keepers in the hopes they would be able to help them understand the secrets kept within the Keep, a storehouse of knowledge of the time before the Darkness. I read this book before book one, The Seekers: The Children of Darkness, and became curious about the events that led up to the fateful voyage, events that were alluded to in the second book. After finishing The Seekers, I am even more impressed with Litwack’s ability to create a believable post-apocalyptic world.
Orah, Nathaniel, and Thomas have been friends since childhood. Living in their tiny village of Little Pond, they want more out of life than is offered by the teachings of the vicars of the Temple of Light, but are afraid to challenge the status quo. When Thomas is taken away for ‘teaching,’ and returns with his spirit broken, they become even more determined to break away from the oppressive order. The defining moment comes when Orah is taken for teaching, and Nathaniel defies his father and follows after her to rescue her. Held prisoner in the Temple City, Nathaniel encounters a fellow prisoner, Samuel, who has been imprisoned for decades. He learns that Samuel is a Seeker, who, as he approaches the end of his life, is looking for someone to take over for him, and he believes that Nathaniel is that someone.
Armed with secret instructions from Samuel, he travels with Orah and Thomas in search of the Keep. When they find it, all that they thought they knew is challenged—moreover, they are determined to challenge the iron hold the Temple of Light has over the people.
The Seekers is post-apocalyptic fiction at its best. Without going into great detail, it addresses issues that are relevant today—and nails down the truth; power corrupts, and the desire for power leads to unimaginable evil. It also shows that for evil to prevail, it is only necessary for good people to stand by and do nothing.
If you’re a fast reader, you can probably finish this book in about three hours, but give yourself more time. This is one you need to read slowly so that you can absorb all the messages that it so skillfully conveys.
I give it five stars.
Massino Marino’s Once Human: Vol. 2 of the Daimones Trilogy continues the saga of Dan Amenta and his family after the arrival of the Moirai on earth has triggered the culling of the human race and the resurrection of humanity. Dan has been ‘selected’ by the Moirai and given special powers. New communities of the ‘selected’ have cropped up, the largest being that led by Dan. Humanity seems on its way to a new beginning, until raids by the ‘spared,’ humans not selected for transformation, signal the presence of a third entity, the Kritas, a race at war with the Moirai.
Dan, with his Moirai allies must deal with the incursions, a task complicated by the possibility of traitors within the Moirai ranks, and doubts about the real intentions of the Moirai.
Marino, in this second volume, has found his stride. The suspense that began to build in the first book rises to heights that will make your blood race. At the same time, he explores what it really means to be human, even when given superhuman capabilities.
One has to wonder whether Marino will be able to maintain the same level of wonder in the final book of the trilogy – but, I predict that he will not only maintain, but surpass.
Once Human is easily four stars, and for all the right reasons.