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Yet, it is more than just memories of the past at stake when a new enemy arrives in The Waste. Flooding over the land and leaving total destruction in their wake, these mysterious invaders will stop at nothing until all ties to the old world are destroyed and forgotten.
But there is one last hope, a rumor which speaks of a powerful people who survived The Wandering unscathed. Could they be the answer The Waste needs in its darkest hour? Could this rumored people hold back the tide of destruction or will The Waste, along with the final remnants of humanity's glorious past, disappear forever like dried grass in a flame?
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By DabOfDarkness on 03-26-17
A Western with a post-apocalyptic veneer
Set in a post-apocalyptic world, Rock is an indie wanderer, traveling from place to place trading news and whatever he might have come by in between. He meets Caroline and her powerful father and is given a mission to escort her to the Wall. There her mission will begin as she attempts to find and bring back the last unscathed and powerful remnants of humanity. A tide of warriors is sweeping the land. They don’t trade, they don’t take tribute and submission. Instead, they seem bent on wiping the land clean of inhabitants and Caroline won’t let that happen without a last desperate attempt to push them back. Rock will have to figure out where his loyalties lie.
Basically, this was a Western given a little post-apocalyptic flare. It followed a pretty standard, and, at times, cliched, script. The beginning held a lot of promise and I was rather excited to venture into another destroyed future that was mostly desert and full of folks who have their own agendas. Once they started circling the wagons and shooting at warriors on horseback, I had to roll my eyes a little. This is a Western, which can be fun if a bit tired and worn.
On the plus side, Rock is an interesting character if a bit standard. I always have a thing for those strong silent types that are good in a fight but bad in relationships. Still, I was rooting for him the whole way. Caroline was your standard plucky female wild west woman. She’s beautiful and knows how to shoot but is a bit brash and wants to rebel. Still, she’s dead set on saving her people, if she can, even if it kills her. There were very few women in this story, which might explain why the world hasn’t managed to repopulate itself yet. There’s Caroline (who has plenty of lines), a mysterious female leader of the warrior tribe that is sweeping the land (who has perhaps 3 lines), a little baby girl that gets to be cute and cuddly for a scene or two, and then Rock’s remembrances of his own mother (who has 3 or 4 lines as well). This story could definitely improve with some gender balancing.
I also feel the need to comment on how the invading hoard all seem to be brown skinned, instead of a greater mix of ethnicities as I had been expecting with humanity surviving an apocalyptic event. Perhaps they are akin to a Mongolian tribe or perhaps akin to a Native American tribe. Since we haven’t met any of them individually, other than that brief encounter with one of their female leaders, we don’t know much about them. Still, their feathers, beaded clothing, horse skills, and archery all add to the Western story tone of the book.
Now I am very curious what lies beyond the Wall and why everyone thinks their saviors may be hidden in that direction. After all, no one has survived their journey over the Wall and returned to tell about it. In fact, bones of those who died shortly after traversing the Wall can be seen from it. I think Caroline definitely has her hands full in attempting this quest.
Over all, if you enjoy your standard fare Western and want a little more sprinkled in, then this is a good book for you. For me, it was so-so. It started off promising but the middle was very predictable. The ending has promise for the series with the Wall and beyond.
I received a free copy of this book through Audiobook Jukebox.
Narration: The author performed his own narration of this book. It was mediocre. First, the production quality wasn’t all good but it wasn’t all bad either. The volume goes up and down but never so loud as to blow out your ears. Also, sometimes it sounds a bit tinny and sometimes it’s good and clear. Hallewell does do a good job of keeping each character distinct. However, most of his voices appear to be based off old Western serials, which adds to the whole cliched Western flavor of this book. His female voice for Caroline is OK.
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By Eugene Hughes on 07-02-16
A Post Apocalyptic/Dystopian Western
The story is set 100 years after civilisation fell. People have reverted back to hunter-gather life style and wander the lands, known as the waste, either alone, referred to as Indie’s, or in groups, referred to as tribes. There are no cities, there are only camps and small trading outposts. Bullets are used as currency and owning books or working appliances powered by suncatchers is a sign of great wealth. Life in the waste is hard and what life was like before the waste is seen as just stories.
The way of life for people wandering the waste has become threatened by a new enemy called the Vorin. This people of the Vorin are not fighting for resources but are instead massacring everyone in their path and burning down crops and orchards. No one knows who the Vorin are or why they are intent on destroying everything in their path.
When one of the larger tribes are attacked the chief of the tribe tasks his daughter Caroline to seek help beyond the wall-without-walls where there are rumours of powerful people who survived the destruction of the old world unscathed. No one has been known to survive the journey and it is seen to be a sacrifice. An Indie called Rock takes the job of accompanying Caroline to escort her across the central waste to the edge of wall-without-walls.
Who was your favourite character and why?
My favourite character was actually one of the main side characters, Mayer Jude. The Mayer is a visionary who is trying to build up and manage Centralia which is the first city in the waste. I thought the author did a great job with this flamboyant character as he tries to lead his people for the greater good and strive for progress and a slow return to how life was before civilisation fell.
That’s not to take anything away from the main protagonist Rock. The main character says very little as he prefers to, and is used to, travelling alone only caring about himself. That begins to change when we meet Caroline, a tribe’s chief daughter, and I liked the pace at which the two came to trust and depend on each other. You can’t help but root for both of them.
Did the narration match the pace of the story?
I was actually quite keen on listening to this story as it was narrated by the author himself. Normally narrators, and readers, interpret the writers’ characters whereas this time the author is presenting his characters as he intended. Sounds random after typing that but I thought it was interesting.
I thought the narration was enjoyable and kept pace with the story. The different styles and voices were good and after a while even Rock’s gruff voice grew on me. If I had to nit-pick, I only have 2 very small criticisms. Narrating the chapter titles after a while became a little bit irritating as it did feel like it interrupted the flow a little. Also the mic quality, while perfectly adequate, felt like it would benefit from being a notch better.
Any additional comments?
I actually managed to snag a free copy of the book from the author in a giveaway on the reddit audiobooks section. I normally listen to fantasy, thrillers and adventure books but over the last few months I have been listening to more post-apocalyptic titles. I really enjoyed this book and without hesitation have already spent two credits on book 2 and 3 to continue Rock and Caroline’s story. It is an intriguing world that the author has created and I’m looking forward to experience more of it. So many questions to answer… how did civilisation end? what are the real motivations behind the new enemy? what lies beyond the wall without walls.