scott nicholson

Review of ‘Earth Zero’

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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.

Review of ‘Afterburn’

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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.