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Game Changers of the Apocalypse, by Mark Kirkbride: #BookReview.

Science Fiction/Post-Apocalyptic

Horror

299 pages

As far as I can recall, I’ve never read a book in the post-apocalypse genre before, so it’s probable there are recognisable conventions of which I’m unaware. That said, any book should generally be accessible to all readers if possible. This one took some getting into for me. Once I was in the story, however, it sucked me in for much of the time and I felt compelled to discover how it all ended.

As a reader, I want characters I can empathise with; it’s the way I write my own books. In this unusual novel, my initial response to the male lead was one of pity mixed with frustration; he began as somewhat stupid and rather pathetic. But he developed quickly as the story unfolded. The female lead was an entirely different matter; she presented as selfish, cruel, obsessively concentrated on a single incident, and incapable of prioritising life-threatening events over her continued whining about that one unfortunate incident. Fortunately, the responsive growth of the male character allowed me to continue the story.

This is more fantasy than science fiction, and perhaps that’s common to the genre. The element of science was thin throughout. But fantasy ruled for much of the time. The premise, that the end of the world might be seen as a chance for a new beginning for humanity rather than its utter destruction, appealed to me; I love the idea of new beginnings.

There were elements of the action, of which there is a great deal, that had me straining to suspend my disbelief, as one escape followed another in quick succession. And there are unexplained anomalies. But the writing is so good that I was encouraged to continue.

The male’s determination not only to save his own skin but that of his undeserving lover was a strong thread throughout. But there were times I wondered at his devotion to this unpleasant woman who appeared to have few good qualities.

As an agnostic, I find the whole idea of a divine apocalypse ludicrous and unsustainable, and the author was very careful to keep any idea of ‘god’ well in the background, almost unmentioned. In the end, it was a combination of the impressive writing style and my growing appreciation of the man’s situation that kept me reading.

This is a fast-paced page-turner, once the reader accepts the relationship between the main characters, and I expect lovers of the genre will find it a very good read.

[Any review is a personal opinion. No reviewer can represent the view of anyone else. The best we can manage is an honest reaction to any given book.]

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