Review: Raid by K.S. Merbeth

Publisher: Orbit

Publishing Date: July 2017

ISBN: 9780316308731

Genre: Dystopian/Post-Apoc

Rating: 2.5/5

Publishers Description: Bound and gagged in her passenger seat is the most revered and reviled raider king in the eastern wastes. She can’t cash him in and she can’t let him go, so together they cross the wasteworld, following a dying road and dodging bloodthirsty raiders who either want to free Jedediah or claim him as their own. 

Review: Quick pace, a lot of action, great story line and great characters that leap off the page. What more could you ask for? This Mad Maxian romp through the wastes is a gutsy look at a female anti-hero that is half hot babe and half burnt to a crisp. The writing is really good and takes you to a place you would never want to be yet fascinates just the same. “So, why you no give 5 stars!!!”. What to some might be seen as a minor detail yet to me changed the course of the novel entire was the characterization of Clem. So sit back and relax while I pick the corn out of this shjt. 

Clementine. Her whole life revolves around guns. She is an expert with them, cleans them religiously, places them higher on a list than any human being in terms of importance, notes and admires others guns, got her handgun off an infamous (now dead) raider and feels naked and itchy without one in close proximity. Clearly she is obsessed as it is an important aspect of being a bounty hunter in the wastes. With every scene this intense focus on guns in general and her gun in particular, we never learn what exactly IT is. Make, model and caliber are sadly absent. Why is this important? Gunfighters know their guns and when specific elements about guns are expressed it lends authenticity to the tale and brings the reader into the inner processes of, in this case, Clem.  Additionally, relating specifics is critically important when constructing battle scenes. It is not enough to say that a rifle is good at distance (that distance and caliber is never given) and quickly discarded for a handgun during close quarters battle (CQB). There is never any scale that lends authenticity to these actions. She has a holster as well, but we don’t know if its cross-draw, thigh holster or hip. Is it FBI cant, plastic, leather? Also, AR does not stand for “Assault Rifle” like the media would have you believe. AR stands for Armalite Rifle Co.

This was easily one of the best novels I have read in a long time that sadly lacked the research necessary to bring it to great heights. Either a lack of insight into all things “gun” or really poor editing input did this novel no favors.


Review: Seek and Destroy by William C. Dietz

Publisher: Ace

Publishing Date: June 2017

ISBN: 9780425278727

Genre: Post Apoc

Rating: 3.5/5

Publishers Description: As people fight to survive the aftereffects of more than a dozen meteor strikes, a group of wealthy individuals conspires to rebuild the United States as a corporate entity called the New Confederacy, where the bottom line is law. As a second civil war rages, with families fighting against families on opposite sides, Union president Samuel T. Sloan battles to keep the country whole.

Review: I really liked this novel even though it is fairly steeped in military procedure. The characters carry the story line, or rather are the story line as they develop through one crisis or another. The novel follows two sisters that are ideologically opposed and have not only different world views but go about implementing those views in very different modalities.

The slight fall down with the plot is that although the conflict between the North and South have been revived under the shadow of a natural disaster, there is a definite good vs. evil rhetoric that is revealed through thought processes and overt actions. Take for example the Confederate Army. They are willing to indiscriminately bomb civilian populations to realize their goals and resort to torture as an expedient means of gaining information. The Union Army always seems to take the high road and are morally outraged at their oppositions abhorrent actions. Not to mention that the mere idea that a civil war would re-enact itself during disastrous times is almost too far a stretch that a leap is required.

While the sisters are diametrically opposed, it is the thought processes that really bring the Us vs. Them shtick to the fore. Robin gets the shakes and feels deeply about the people under her command while calmly and effectively doing her job without complaint. Sadie barely knows her squad mates as that would compromise their overall effectiveness and petty emotions drive her reasoning. Hate, jealousy and pride predicate most of her actions.

President Sloan is interesting as a by-line but Robin Macintyre really steals the show with her presence and confident ability. Although it is fairly long, I had a good time reading this.

Review: Post by Brenda Cooper


Publisher: eSpec

Publishing Date: November 2016

ISBN: 9781942990222

Genre: post-apocalyptic

Rating: 2.4/5

Publishers Description: The world, for some, has crumbled. Disease and natural disasters have brought on social collapse in the Pacific Northwest. For Sage, born and raised in the safe haven of the Oregon Botanical Gardens, that has never been more than academic. What more could she ask for than to be safe and fed?

<spoiler alert>

Review: “Why does everyone want to rape me?” As young, hot, nubile 16 year old Sage’s storyline begins, she is chased by rapists bent on catching her. She eludes the rapists and decides that living in a garden sanctuary is like, way boring (ewww, old people) and heads out to find a bigger world. Once she leaves, she is again chased by rapists, meets a new friend that has been raped, saves new friend from biker rapists (because we know that all bikers are rapists) and is saved (again) from a good looking well dressed, self-sufficient rapist/killer. This takes place out in the country, and as they make their way into a city with a couple of hundred thousand people, the worst that happens to them is that they get their asses slapped by guards and groped by a cute boy.  You would think that a city would be a concentrated epicenter of rapists if this books statistics hold true. And why is every dystopian YA novel  rampant with people that predominately want to rape, kill, steal and control?

Well, the novel is well written and brings you into a stylized world of post-apocalyptic mincing about. Sage comes off really self-centered and has no depth of emotion about the people who raised her, but gets all blushy and hot when a girl and a boy kiss her. She is strongly attached to a girl that she has known for a week and this summary relationship just doesn’t add up as being plausible.  Additionally, the idea that a violent tyrant dictator can be overcome by a peaceful process is just ridiculous. And why people would flock to a city that has no resources is again, not plausible.

If you want a factual representation based on a salient process, then this book is not for you. If you want a pretty gurl chased by rapists and kissed by gurls while dreaming about airplanes under a Portland moon, then run to the bookstore like a rapist is chasing you. 


Review: The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison


Publisher: 47 North

Publishing Date: October 2016

ISBN: 9781503939110

Genre: PostApoc

Rating: 3.4/4

Publishers Description: In the wake of a fever that decimated the earth’s population—killing women and children and making childbirth deadly for the mother and infant—the midwife must pick her way through the bones of the world she once knew to find her place in this dangerous new one. 

Review: Wow, a couple of the reviews out there are pretty harsh on this on (I know, I should talk, right?).  One reviewer thought that the writer never passed remedial English in high school and that if written by a grade school student, it might receive better marks. Yikes. I didn’t think it was that bad.  I liked this novel. The story line was great as was the characterization. Even the bit players are built well in a limited amount of time.

<Spoiler Alert>

This novel was only slim on facts. Really, guns and bullets are almost impossible to find anywhere in your travels? Will most men in a post-apoc scenario turn to rape and enslave women so they can sell them to other rapists? Yeah, maybe. I can see where the author thinks that this is so, since there are virtually no women left. But wouldn’t women be prized (as they should be) rather than raped and abused? Does taking away their ability to produce live children diminish their value? Other questions brought to mind was the implausibility that almost every man turns into a drunken looter/rapist once the shackles of normative behavior are loosed. Since most everyone has died off, I doubt you would find roving packs of rapists or even the beginning of a barter system. For awhile, there really would be enough for all.

There was also some excessive backstory narrative that seemed to be rehashing what had already been said as well as the annoying journal entries. A real heavy dose of editing is needed to clean up the grammatical and spelling errors as well as the disjointed scene transitions and shifting points of view. Slim those down a bit and you have 4 easy stars.