I was hard pressed to find parts of this novel I didn't like, even the zombies were ok in my book. Written by a guy who teaches in New York; obviously well educated, well read, and with a nack for imagery and symbolism, this book was beautifully written. The protagonist, Temple, or Sarah Mary Williams, her real name maybe, was tough and scrappy, and I immediately liked her.
She encounteres some aweful and amazing things in this book, like the electric-fence guarded plantation home, existing oblivious to the decaying world outside the baricade, with a sad and desperate family within. But even with fresh food and shelter, the wanderer, feels the calling of the road. She meets a pair of brothers as well, which doesn't go so well, and haunts her throughout the story.
To take this journey with Temple is to put it lightly. She encounters so much, gets into a few scrapes, and I felt myself both cringing and marveling at her actions. Most of the trip is dark, as she often questions whether or not she is evil in the things that she has to do to survive. But she also has goodness coursing through her veins, she tries to help a friend find his way to find his family, all the while being pursued by another not so unlike herself, only much larger.
Some basic technical things bothered me about the novel, for instance, the utilities working in several parts seemed not to be something the author was concerned about. Even in deserted places, Temple was able to walk into shops, use the running water, and I wondered if this was an oversight or was the "world" still so new in this phase, that some of the basic utilities still functioned somehow? It bothered me a bit in the beginning, but then not so much as the novel wore on.
I also like the introduction of other creatures aside from just your average zombie. I won't spoil anything here, but if you stick around long enough, you'll see Temple encounter a new kind of fiend, a result of the horrid wasteland and how a few have figured out to survive.
Overall I really enjoyed the novel, and think Alden Bell is someone I'll keep an eye on to see what's next. I recommend for fans of tales from the wasteland.
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