this book just showed up at my house one day.
it’s not a book i’d requested, nor a book i’d been approached about reviewing, it just showed up, knowing where i lived.
my first reaction was FREE BOOK YAY!
and i read the back and i thought POST-PANDEMIC APOCALYPSE, YAY!
and then i saw it was on howard books; S&S’s christian imprint, and i thought MUST REIN IN THE YAYS!
which has nothing to do with religious belief or nonbelief and everything to do with writing style. in my experience, christian fiction has a tendency to be either too didactic/dogmatic or too gentle/treacly for my tastes.
this movie, for example. which i watched. in its entirety.
it makes nicholas sparks movies look like slasher films by comparison.
i decided to give this a shot anyway, because pandemic apocalypse is my nightsweat bread and butter, and — success! it does not fall into the didactic/dogmatic OR the gentle/treacly!
it’s a good addition to the genre, but it’s a genre that is already stuffed to the gills, getting more and more stuffed every day (LGM), and in order to stand out at this point, you really need to bring something unforgettable to impress someone who reads widely in the ‘live through this’ category.
but for regular people (i.e. people without such a narrow, pokémon approach to their reading habits — must have ALL THE BOOKS!), it will probably appeal more. the parts of wynter entering the doomsday cult as a little girl with her mother and sister, the indoctrination of herself and her family, the growing up within a new kind of family, isolated but still secretly questioning a little bit, the pure creepiness of magnus theisen: entrepreneur-cum-messiah, is all very strong stuff. also, the origin, spread, and effects of the prion-based disease was terrifying, and all-too plausible.
somewhat less-plausible is the narrative occurring after wynter’s expulsion from New Earth, back into the larger world. she seems to adjust too well given her circumstances, both before and after the outbreak. i mean, the cast of Third Rock form the Sun was still having difficulty grasping everyday earthling concepts five seasons in, and here’s wynter driving a car and saving the world from early-onset dementia with science. with a handsome man by her side, naturally. warning to those with the same romance-allergies as me: this becomes very romantic suspense.
for me, it’s a good-not-great, like-not-love book, but unless you have the exact dappled brindle pattern of reading preferences as me, your experience will be different.
and for something that followed me home and showed up in my box without my consent, this could have been a lot worse.