This is a really good book, but I have to be honest and say it was another which left me feeling a little hard done by. I hate to spoil books, but occasionally I feel an ounce of civic duty is required to warn readers in advance; this is one of those books. So, be advised: after nearly 400 pages you will find that this is the open-ended first instalment in an ongoing series, which promises to be a long and sprawling saga.
Owen is a very good author, with wonderful language, vivid descriptive prowess and an aptitude for profound detail; this book is long and very, very involved – almost real time, in a sense. Starting with an apocalyptic, near-extinction level event, there is no conclusion and not really any explanation of the “pulse”, the source and nature of which is left mostly to the reader’s imagination; we really only know that some sort of electrical surge has caused mass infernal destruction, probably on a global scale, with catastrophic loss of life – the characters don’t really have any way of knowing any more as communication has come to a stop. There is more than a small sense of the post-apocalyptic graphic novel series about this, especially nodding to The Walking Dead, and you can certainly see Owen’s numerous influences in this work. Whilst I never read the blurb before reading fiction books, so I had no idea what this book was going to be about, it became quite obvious after the “event” that inhumanity was going to be the key theme of the book; there was no surprise at all when the usual tropes of man turning against his brother became the focus of the narrative, and the violence became graphic and explicit. At the end of the book, Owen reveals that there are two sequels already, and one would suspect it is his intention to write a long and involved series. Therefore, I think it is also pretty safe to assume that, like that particular graphic novel series just mentioned, most of the loose ends will never really be tied up, because that is not really the point; ultimately the event is merely a flashpoint, or perhaps a metaphor, and the real narrative is the profundity of human nature.
Owen is a very good author – that should be clear – and more than capable of setting out his vision. He writes a lot of words, and scenes are fully descriptive to the extent that it feels almost live. The book does feel long at times, for sure, but never boring and always engrossing. Simply be prepared to immerse yourself in his bleak new world – and bleak it is, with adversity and hopelessness around every corner – but a lot of readers like that dystopian thing, and feel that the inhumanity is an inevitability in a lawless world. Personally I wouldn’t like to think about it in order to presume. But what I do think is that Owen has created a series every bit as promising and top drawer as the many other post-apocalyptic survival sagas out there, and I wish him the very best success.
In : Book Reviews
Tags: owen-garratt drama fiction vivid graphic violent post-apocalyptic sci-fi futuristic dystopian