I was excited to read this. As I understand it, post-apocalyptic scifi has been getting the literary treatment a lot lately. Some are even sick of it, but this was only my second foray into these waters, following Cormac McCarthy’s dark and beautiful The Road.
I wanted to like this book, I swear! But very soon it became obvious that the direction the author chose to go was going to cause a violent reaction. It did.
Look, I get that cult-bashing is very popular these days. Making a religious fanatic the main bad guy is so edgy and hip! It’s just the level of stupidity and lack of thought given to this bad-guy cult that just drove me crazy.
The fact of the matter is this. Doomsday cults exist BEFORE doomsday. If doomsday comes, and those in the cult don’t automatically receive all the good things they were promised (because there’s nothing left in the world), then THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO GOOD REASON for a doomsday cult to exist after everything already stinks.
The idea that this particular cult comes as a result of a child reading the New Testament (especially the Book of Revelations) and some graphic novel is just stupid. The Book of Revelations is confusing enough for adults to read. A seven-year old kid getting ideas about being “chosen” from reading it? I seriously doubt that the author even read the Apocalypse before writing this book.
Maybe it could have been pulled off, if half an effort had been expended by the author to explain why on earth anyone would want to follow such a nutcase. But no. There’s just a bunch of guys with guns, then they “see the light” and go on rampages.
And the counterbalance to this “darkness of religion?” Ipads and stiletto heels. I’m not kidding.
Yes, it’s obvious the author likes Shakespeare and classical music, and the fact that they survive is a nice touch. But half the time she seems embarrassed by this, and more than one character is explicitly mentioned as not liking Shakespeare at all. The interweaving of Shakespeare text could have been powerful and effective. It falls flat.
The characters are not likeable. We never spend enough time with any of them to really get inside their heads, and the jumping through time periods, though artsy, fails to allow the reader to form a real connection with anyone.
A disappointing waste of time.