1 June 2013 2 Comments
Author: Morgan Nyberg.
Summary: The city of Vancouver has been transformed by climate change, pandemic, economic collapse and earthquake into Town, a squalid lawless place inhabited by the desperate, the diseased and the dying. An old man, Frost, remembers the “good times”. Those who live on his farm among the collapsed warehouses and the foundations of vanished houses struggle to maintain human values. But when others in this makeshift world are driven only b greed and the need for power, all values must ultimately be replaced by the simple instinct for survival.
Rating: ★★★☆☆ 3/5
Review: I loved the concept for this book. A desolate city, with the few remaining inhabitants struggling to survive and rebuild after climate change, pandemic and economic collapse decimate the world as we know it.
It starts really well, throwing the reader into this world by showing a market place where people trade bits and bobs found in the old, abandoned and ruined city for food grown by groups with farms and drugs grown by those with no motives but greed. It set the tone, introduced the characters and immersed me into the setting well.
By far my favourite character was Noor. She was equal parts human, with realistic emotion and a pragmatic realist. Overall i thought most of the characters and their development were well done. I cared about who i was supposed to care about, i hated (oh, how i hated) the people i was supposed to hate and i was suspicious about all the people who had something to be suspicious of. In fact, Grace and Brandon may have been my two second favourite characters precisely for their suspiciousness.
I had issues with Tyrell. The only black character in the book, and also the only character to constantly and immediately suggest violent solutions to the group’s problems. Stereotype much?
Frost i am distinctly ambivalent towards. I loved the flashback chapters that showed him in the immediate aftermath of the troubles that have caused such devastation. I loved seeing how Zahra became his daughter. I loved seeing his farm and its people in earlier days. At first i had wanted more of that; more information about what had happened with the pandemic, how Frost had got home and how he’d gone about setting his farm up. But now i think it was just right. There was enough information given to get a sense of the things Frost had been through, how much he’d made it through, without bogging the story down in details which would realistically need a prequel. My only problem with Frost was his inaction. Or, more accurately, his subdued and delayed action. He freely admits by the end that if he had simply acted sooner so many lives could have been saved. I wish i could say he was simply feeling survivors guilt and that he’d done all he could, but i can’t. He was right. He should have done more sooner. I did not feel upset when he died; i rolled my eyes. Grace gave him a massive opportunity by sacrificing herself, but instead of taking it and doing the thing he should have done so long ago (that he was just lamenting he should have done so long ago!), he lets his emotions take hold of him (where were they when he kicked her off the farm in the middle of nowhere?) and allows himself to be killed. (Thank goodness for Noor and her lack of hesitation. She and Grace were the only ones doing anything worthwhile in that chapter.)
Ultimately, this was an interesting and well told story about survival in a decimated world. I may have has issues with a few characters, but the fact that i had them means they were well written enough for me to feel something, which is always better than not feeling anything at all. The characters are what made this book for me.