Friday, June 28, 2013

The Survivors Book I: Summer (The Survivors #1) by V.L. Dreyer Review:


Goodreads Book Blurb:
The virus came from deep in Africa.

By the time they had a name for the disease it had wiped out half the continent. Within a year, it had decimated our world. Our species is on the verge of extinction. Only a few of us have survived; those of us lucky enough to be born with a natural immunity to the plague. We scavenge amongst the ruins of our old civilizations, picking out a living from the devastation.

Ten years ago, I watched my family die one by one. Now, I am alone. The year is 2024; it has been a decade since the virus reduced humanity to a scattering of survivors strewn out across the world.

The rules that governed our society are gone.

Without laws to protect the innocent, I have seen the worst of humanity throughout the years. Now, I have found a new family who are determined to show me the best. But a fresh mutation of the virus has started turning the harmless, pathetic infected into monstrous predatory creatures bent on our destruction; even the wildlife is turning against us.

We are forced to leave our home and flee for our lives. It is only through unity that we stand any chance of survival. Enemies wait around every turn. For the sake of our children and our children’s children, we must find some way to survive and flourish again. If we fail, then the human species will cease to exist.

My name is Sandy McDermott, and I am a survivor. This is my story.

Genre - Sci-Fi/Dystopia/Romance

I received this eARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

4 Solid stars!
A Layered, Touching, Powerful Story of Humanity and Survival!

The Rundown:

In 2013, Ebola-X decimated the human population, presumably worldwide.

After losing her father and sister, her mother and grandmother, Sandy’s left to live on her own at the young age of eighteen. After weeks of solitude, she ventures out of the secluded beach house where she buried her family, seeking desperately needed food and provisions.

This story starts ten years later in Ohaupo, New Zealand.

Sandy, one of the immune, has survived the apocalypse, the fall of humanity and even barbarous human acts over the last ten years, ever since a deadly virus stamped-out most of the worlds population and turned the majority of society into zombies. The world is a much different place and the small portion of civilization who remain due to an immunity, are no longer governed by the laws and rules once enforced, now washed out of existence.

Escaping horrific circumstances, Sandy has decided being alone is the way she wants to live out her days. So scavenging, hunting and pilfering from one town to the next until supplies run out, keeps her days busy and though her life isn’t a good one or even a fulfilling one, she prefers the loneliness to the barbaric humanity thats scorned her.

That is until an accident sends her out of her hiding place and she meets a small group of people who revive her faith and hope as they hold civility close and exhibit a human kindness she thought long dead.

The Review:
I love a good zombie versus human story, especially when the story is character driven and the zombies aren’t brain starved, staggering corpses. V.L. Dreyer gives us that in this thrilling, sometimes scary, most of the time intense, and always entertaining read. I was warned by the author before starting this read that it was still in the editing stages and I have to say, if this is the unfinished product, color me seriously impressed. The writing was descriptive and flowed well, completely immersing me in the desolate, lonely world this author creates. It isn’t bright and pretty, it isn’t pleasant nor fun. This world is dark, dreary and grim yet when Sandy meets up with the rest of the cast, friendships and companionship is formed amongst the rubble of a once flourishing civilization. Its beautiful and wondrous to see humanity strive for life, holding tight hope, even after such hopeless defeat.

The Story...
We spend the first hundred pages alone with Sandy as she navigates through town and collects provision, but we are never bored. Through the use of internal thoughts, memory flashbacks and one persistent kitten, the author fills those pages with a graphic, daring story of isolation and dismal loneliness as Sandy tracks through deserted streets, buildings and a town no longer thriving as it once had. I could clearly picture the vacuity of her surroundings and I didn’t need a constant interaction with other characters to fill the void. The author does a brilliant job delivering this. When an accident forces Sandy from seclusion and other characters are introduced, a precarious journey of survival begins along with the trials of a small group cultivating a future and re-gaining civilization.

The Zombies...
I really liked the authors take on the zombies in her story. They were unintelligent, unaware and for the most part, non threatening. If they were kind or monstrous in life, they were docile or fiendish after infected. Though we only really met one zombie pre-mutation, we get the impression they just roamed aimlessly without much cerebral function. What could be more terrifying than a human with no cognitive thought, being nothing more than a rotting shell, trapped and unable to feel emotions or to look at things you once loved and have no recognition at all?

The mutated zombies, thats what!! Scare-eeeeeee!

As if a virus wiping out most of the human populous wasn’t enough, now the virus has altered and turned sometimes dangerous zombies into mutated, horrifying cannibalistic monsters who seem to have an intelligence their predecessors don't.

Oh, and crazed, rotting, rampaging pigs! Run!!!

The Humans...
I loved all the characters. The doctor, the child, the pregnant young woman and her fiance as well as the Maori survivors we meet later on but I especially loved Sandy and Michael.

Sandy was seriously haunted and broken after the harrowing events of her past, and rightly so. But she’s independent, strong and brave. When she meets up with the other characters, she becomes this loyal, fierce leader who, along with Michael, lead their small band to greener pastures. She’s a true fighter and her intelligence and common sense keep the family moving forward. I liked that she wasn’t just someone to protect but did the protecting.

Michael and Sandy's romance was a sweet reprieve from the intense danger of the world around them. I really liked Michael and his need to protect the people he feels are now his charges. I do have to say though that he seemed much younger than his thirty-two years and less war-hardened than I would have thought given he’s spent the last ten years surviving the apocalypse.

The Wrap Up:
This book gives the reader a constantly changing range of emotions to experience. From loneliness, to fear, from sadness, to happiness, to nervousness, the story never falters from entertaining. I can’t wait for others to read this book and see their reviews! And I'm excited to see what happens next, in book two, The Survivors Book II: Autumn (The Survivors, #2), considering the cliffy we are left with.


A Few of My Favorite Passages and Quotes...

I’d been alone for a very long time. Even so, killing someone who looked like a person that I loved still affected me more deeply than I could express. I sometimes wondered if it would be easier to feel nothing at all, but the pain kept me grounded in reality. They weren’t monsters, they were people. Just like me, just like my family, just like everyone else. The day I stopped feeling something toward them was the day that I became the monster.
Most of those people were dead now, or they were like me - picking a living from the ruins of the old world.
Every moment of my past experience told me the only thing that could come from an armed man was pain, humiliation and death.

Additional Info - 

V.L. Dreyer is hosting a fundraiser to help get publication costs for this amazing novel. If you're interested, you can contribute at her IndieGoGo Campaign. You can also visit her on the web more information on her books or just to get to know her a little better on her WebsiteTwitter, Goodreads and Facebook

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