My rating: 2 of 5 stars
it’s always a pity when a book has some really innovative ideas, then fails to be well-executed for other reasons.
in this book, we get the discarded of postapocalyptic america, many of whom have are punk teenagers with hispanic roots; a badass black, female special ops warrior; some way fun genetic engineering; and a sentient lifeform that may be a plant, may be an animal, that is able to produce the last viable seed for food crops in climate-change-devastated north america (alas, we don’t really know what happened to the rest of the world). it’s a great setup.
but then it pretty much all devolves to shooting.
the body count in this book rivals that found in war porn. people get shot, stabbed, nuked, chewed apart, dismembered, etc etc and with one exception (and that only barely), for the most part, we really haven’t been given much cause to care. our spec ops heroine is the most efficient killer, and while it’s nice to see a woman in that role, it’s not nice to see her be just a guy with breasts and an armory.
the hispanic punks and their nonstandard argot are interesting, except that the main character’s depth seems to have disappeared. he has a past, which we are dutifully shown; he has a brother, whom he tries to protect; he has needs and desires, even if they never get much beyond sex and food. but a reader never gets a grip on what moves him beyond these surface things; his heart remains entirely opaque.
so our two main characters–the spec ops warrior and the hispanic punk–are altogether too similar and between them have less depth than a puddle.
and more tropes: the eViL guvmint functionary; the Other that wants to wipe out humanity entirely; the ever-so-clever military guys, all of whom take more physical punishment than is possible for meat; even a dog at the end.
and one thing for which i will unmercifully dun the editor, proofreader, and publisher of this book: the typos and misspellings are awful. nauseated characters kept “wretching,” which was miraculously corrected 2/3 of the way through the book, and then showed up again in the last chapters; the man whose skin “pealed off,” and so on. and editor? mr. or ms. editor? you really should have called out the truly excessive use of truncated language in this book. a battery is always a “bat,” a zeppelin is a “zep,” even poor Colorado Springs, in its one cameo appearance, is “C-Springs.” ya, i get that it’s fun to mix it up with language, but one should be wary of becoming a one-trick pony.
and a final word, which i will put in bold so that it can’t be missed: it’s just hateful that the book’s standard collective noun for women is “bitches”!