Posted in Apocalyptic Fiction, Best Sellers, Fantasy

Year One by Nora Roberts (Chronicles of The One, #1)

Publication Info: Published December 5, 2017 by St. Martin’s Press. I read the hardback edition, purchased from a local used book store, 2nd & Charles. Other editions available.

Summary: A man vacationing with his family in Scotland shoots a pheasant. It falls into the center of a stone circle, spilling blood and awakening ancient magicks. Shortly afterward, a virus dubbed The Doom, begins to spread, infecting others as the family members fly back home. This virus is virulent and there is no cure. Within months the world’s population is decimated, governments collapse and anarchy arises.

There are some survivors, many of whom have latent talents from old bloodlines. Some people with faerie blood grow wings. Practicing witches find their minimal skills are now exceptional. There are sorcerers, elves and dryads. But not all of the supernaturals follow the good and the light. There are those who have turned to the dark and wish to destroy everything that is good. The few regular humans who survived the plague, are caught in the crossfire and must choose sides.

The story centers on a few of the supernatural and human survivors, most of whom are good. They try to pick up the pieces of society and rebuild a community. When they are savagely attacked, one woman in their group must be protected at all costs, for she bears the savior.

Comments: I am not generally a Nora Roberts fan. I’ve tried several of her books over the decades and they just didn’t do anything for me. They were… meh. But when I read about this apocalyptic fantasy series, I decided to give it a try.

At 419 pages, it took me three days to read, but I actually looked forward to picking it up again. That alone scored a few points. It’s not amazing literature by any means, but the story moves along and the characters are interesting enough. She does know how to write a readable story, even if it’s not particularly deep or insightful. The author has hit the New York Times best seller list 69 times to date, so she’s obviously hitting a chord with many readers. If not a full chord, Year One finally hit at least an intriguing note with me. I definitely plan on reading the next book in the series, Of Blood and Bone.

Recommended for readers of Apocalyptic Fiction, Best Sellers, and books dealing with magic and light fantasy.

My rating: 3.5 STARS

Posted in Apocalyptic Fiction, Dystopian Fiction, Uncategorized

The Rule of Many by Ashley Saunders and Leslie Saunders (The Rule of One #2)

Publication Info: Published May 7, 2019 by Skyscape. I listened to the Audio edition through my Kindle Unlimited subscription. Other editions available.

Summary: At the end of the last book, the twins, Ava and Mira, escaped to Canada. There, they found a group of rebels and their previously unknown to them maternal grandmother, Rayla. Rayla is also a member of the rebel group.

They now live in Canada in relative safety, despite some protests against them, until an incident puts them in danger and they are on the run again. They decide to head back to Texas to fight the evil governor for the rights of all multiples.

Comments: I didn’t like The Rule of Many nearly as much as the first book, The Rule of One. The whole book felt rushed and condensed and may have been better split into two making this a trilogy. But then, the book set wouldn’t have been a twin, would it?

There were so many characters and plot lines that nothing felt fully developed. I would have liked more background on their grandmother and the character named Zee. Owen, the guy who just jumped into the story line for no obvious reason other than to serve as comic relief, just never “fit” for me.

Overall, I was let down by this sequel. My suggestion is, read the first book and skip the second. However, if you like a lot of fast action and don’t care about character development, you may like this book better than I did.

Genre: Apocalyptic and Dystopian Fiction.

My Rating: 2 STARS.

Posted in Apocalyptic Fiction, Dystopian Fiction

The Rule of One by Ashley Saunders and Leslie Saunders (Rule of One #1)

Publication Info: Audible Audio edition Published October 2018 by Brilliance Audio. Other editions available. I listened to this through my Kindle Unlimited membership.

Summary: Climate change has rendered much of the United States almost unlivable. The small towns that dotted the western landscape were torn to shreds by violent storms. People huddle in large population centers. The lucky, wealthy ones can afford opulent homes and private schools; the rest of the population scratches out a more meager existence or is homeless. Cameras are everywhere, spying on the population, looking for signs of unrest and resistance. People scurry about with their faces downcast, covered by hoodies and umbrellas. No one wants to be noticed and risk being arrested or tasered.

In this apocalyptic future, the government institutes a one-child policy in order to control population growth amidst dwindling food and resources. Twins and other multiple births are now illegal. If a mother is unlucky enough to give birth to twins, she must choose which child to keep. The other child is sent to a work camp, unaware of their origins.

The novel focuses on one family, a man high up in the Texas government who oversees the family control policies and his illegal twin daughters. The identical twins, now eighteen, were raised to mimic each other in minute detail. But the “legal” girl has a microchip and the other doesn’t. When a break in their very structured routine causes the illegal girl to be discovered, the family is torn apart and the girls are on the run.

Comments: I devoured this book. Forced into even more insomnia than usual by some medication I’m on, this book kept me company for two nearly sleepless nights. I was completely pulled into the world of The Rule of One. With climate change damaging our shores and coastal cities, the country’s polarity over so many issues, the interference of foreign governments in the US elections and the ubiquitousness of cameras, the future portrayed in this novel did not take giant leaps of imagination.

Recommended for readers of Apocalyptic and Dystopian Fiction. Also suitable for Young Adults.

My Rating: 4.5 STARS

Posted in Apocalyptic Fiction, Beach Read, Best Sellers, Contemporary Fiction, Popular Fiction, Science Fiction

The Warehouse by Rob Hart

Publication Info: Published August 20, 2019 by Crown. Kindle pre-pub edition courtesy of NetGalley.

Summary: In the near future, global warming has turned much of the country into permanent desert conditions. Small towns are nearly abandoned and cities are hot and overcrowded. After the Black Friday Massacre, when thousands of people were shot while doing their holiday shopping, people are afraid to leave their homes for even routine errands. Most brick and mortar stores have gone out of business except for the very largest ones and a few determined mom-and-pop stores.

One man, Gibson Wells, is behind the solution. He created mega centers where people live and work. Deliveries to homes outside of Cloud are made with a well-designed drone system. When people work for MotherCloud aka Cloud, they have everything they need right on the climate controlled property, which is described as much like an oversized airport terminal.

As the story begins, Gibson Wells is dying from cancer. He is taking his last year to visit his MotherCloud centers and greet workers personally. He has yet to choose his successor.

At one of the centers, two new employees have different agendas. Paxton has an axe to grind with Gibson Wells. Paxton invented a device that cooked a perfect hard-boiled egg. Cloud purchased the product and then undercut the prices time after time, putting Paxton out of business. He wants to meet Gibson Wells and give him a piece of his mind. Zinnia is a corporate spy, sent to discover weaknesses and deceit in Cloud’s power systems.

Paxton and Zinna find themselves unexpectedly sucked into the Cloud mentality. It seems to not be quite as bad as they thought. But slowly, they discover things that put their very lives in danger.

Comments: This is a whiz-bang, first-rate page turner! I romped through it in a single day. The author has created a very believable world, in which things that actually exist today are just taken to the next horrific step. The characters are all very relatable and the alternating chapters in their voices gives the reader a well-rounded perspective.

A bit of an amusing personal aside on current delivery systems, I’m currently waiting for a package delivery. The package was apparently farmed out to an individual who does deliveries after work. The building I’m living in locks the doors at 5 pm. This package is going round and round trying to get here. I’ve tried to resolve this problem, but haven’t been able to yet. It definitely would be nice if a drone could drop it on my balcony!

Very highly recommended for readers of General Fiction, Science Fiction, Apocolyptic and Dystopian Fiction, and Contemporary Fiction. It would also make a great Beach or Travel read and I’d love to see it hit the best-seller lists.

Director Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment has already opted to adapt The Warehouse into a movie. I don’t watch many movies, but I’m already looking forward to this one!

My rating: 5 STARS

Posted in Apocalyptic Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, General Fiction, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Thrillers

Recursion by Blake Crouch

Publication Info: Published June 11th 2019 by Crown. E-book kindle edition courtesy of Netgalley.

Summary: Helena Smith, a neuroscience researcher, feels disheartened. Her project is about to run out of money and she’s nowhere near a solution. Driven by her desire to help her mother who is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s, Helena is trying to discover a way to preserve and restore memories. She’s on the verge of giving up when a mysterious man offers to fund her project beyond her wildest dreams. Recursion Crouch

Barry Sutton, an NYPD detective tries to talk a despondent woman, Ann Voss Peters,  down off the ledge of a high-rise. After a brief conversation with her, he realizes she is a victim of false memory syndrome. In her mind, Ann lives two lives. In one set of memories–her real memories–she lives single life in New York. In another, she remembers a husband and young son. Her second set of memories are in black and white, yet the emotions associated with them are completely real. After listening to her story, he tries to talk her out of suicide, but fails.

In alternating chapters, Helena and Barry narrate their stories, unaware that they are destined to meet and change the world–over and over.

Comments: Recursion is a genre jumping look into the repercussions of fear and power. In a book that blurs the lines between science fiction, apocalyptic fiction and thrillers, it has potential to appeal to a broad audience. There is even a G rated love story tossed in for good measure. I can envision this book translating well to film.

Highly recommended for readers of sci-fi, speculative fiction, apocalyptic fiction, thrillers and anyone who likes general fiction with a twist.