Review: The Road

The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
Genre: Post-apocalyptic
Rating: 4-stars
My aunt sent me a copy of The Road, by Cormac McCarthy, and I finally got around to cracking it open a couple weeks ago.
It… took me a bit to get into. I didn’t like the extremely slow start. The way he chose to write the dialogue isn’t to my taste. And everything was so bleak… something I’m not really in the mood for often anymore, given the current state of the world.
Yet I found myself getting drawn into the story of the man and his son. I found myself caring about these nameless characters, and wishing they could find SOME bright hope in a dying, scorched world.
And I cried at the end of it.
I think the father-child bond was what did it for me. I kept trying to imagine myself in such a dire situation, watching my own children slowly wasting away, and it hit me right in the amygdala. It’s a parent’s worst fear.
And I loved how gentle he was with his son, even as he taught him hard truths of the world, or his son figured them out for himself. He took ownership when things went wrong, and realized that when his son did something incorrect, it was his own fault for not double checking things, or teaching his son how to do it properly.
If you can get used to the style of the writing, the book will grab you and not let go until the very end. If you’re a dad who loves your child(ren) fiercely, this won’t be an easy book to read, but there are some great lessons in the darkness.

Review: A Handful of Dust

A Handful of Dust: Tales of Post-Apocalyptic Kentuckiana, by Jeff Ford

Genre: Post-apocalyptic

Rating: 4-stars

Biological warfare wiped out almost all of humanity, and these short stories chronicle some of the aftermath.

Each story was unique and evocative. I think my favourite was “Sam,” because I was kept guessing until the very end. I’d thought it was going to go all Shaun of the Dead on me, but it didn’t (I won’t spoil it, though!).

Also, every story had a satisfying ending – that’s not to say happy. It’s an apocalypse. But they wrapped up nicely and showed a wide range of trauma that people went through.

While I enjoyed the entire collection, the stories were littered with minor errors – spelling, added/missing/incorrect words, typos, punctuation – but were not enough to make me want to stop reading. Just a short pause, an, “I think he meant X,” and moving on. I did my usual thing I do with indie authors in offering to point out these sorts of errors, but was told the story already went through an editor, so I didn’t take out my notepad for the last three stories. Thus, I’ll check a sample in future works to make sure more care is put into it, especially if it’s a longer novel, because a longer book with an error on every page or two would wear on me.

All in all, a quick, entertaining read that builds up a world that I look forward to seeing more of from this author.

Review: Silent Clarion

Silent Clarion: The Full Collection, by Matthew Graybosch

Genre: Science-Fantasy

Rating: 5 stars

I want to start off by saying I received a copy of Silent Clarion to beta read.

The story follows Adversary Naomi Bradleigh. If you’ve read Matthew Graybosch’s first novel, Without Bloodshed, then you’ll be familiar with this character already. Born with CPMD, a condition that gives people cat-like features, Naomi is as tough as they come. Using her position to whip police officers into line and keep the peace, she’s a force of nature.

But even officers of the law need some down time, and the majority of this story takes place during her “vacation” which is anything but. A hint of trouble presents itself, and she follows the trail, uncovering twist after twist, always finding more questions than answers. The pace is fast, and I never had any idea what was going to happen next. I loved this story, and look forward to more!