Since mankind began, civilizations have always fallen: the Romans, the Greeks, the Aztecs…Now it’s our turn. Huge earthquakes rock the world. Cities are destroyed. But something even more awful is happening. An ancient evil has been unleashed, turning everday people into hunters, killers, crazies.
Mason's mother is dying after a terrible car accident. As he endures a last vigil at her hospital bed, his school is bombed and razed to the ground, and everyone he knows is killed. Aries survives an earthquake aftershock on a bus, and thinks the worst is over when a mysterious stranger pulls her out of the wreckage, but she’s about to discover a world changed forever. Clementine, the only survivor of an emergency town hall meeting that descends into murderous chaos, is on the run from savage strangers who used to be her friends and neighbors. And Michael witnesses a brutal road rage incident that is made much worse by the arrival of the police--who gun down the guilty party and then turn on the bystanding crowd.
Where do you go for justice when even the lawmakers have turned bad? These four teens are on the same road in a world gone mad. Struggling to survive, clinging on to love and meaning wherever it can be found, this is a journey into the heart of darkness – but also a journey to find each other and a place of safety.
While this book started off a bit slow for me, it eventually sunk its teeth into me and wouldn't let go. This book brings to life the fall of a society--the moment when the civilization that we know collapses like so many before it. Four teenagers must cope with the terrible evils that permeate society and bring survivors to the brink of extinction. Where will the world end up? Who will win? What are they fighting for?
Humans are the most violet species on the planet. We have a brilliant history of all the ugly deeds we've done. We're rotted straight to the core. The disease finally won the battle. We've never had the cure, and the symptoms are out of control. We're finally doing something right by wiping ourselves off the face of this planet.
From the beginning, Ms. Roberts doesn't shy away from the dirty realities of her post-apocalyptic world. The four main characters face death and destruction on a scale that the majority of us can't relate to or even truly begin to imagine. Each character must face the death of a loved one or close friend. Each character must fight to survive on a daily basis. The world that they are now living in is a stark place.
When I first started this novel, the multiple POVs threw me for a loop. The story seemed a bit disjointed, and it took a long time for the connections to form between the characters. You knew (or assumed) from the beginning that somehow these four teenagers were going to end up together, but the process of getting them there was a be arduous at times. I jumped for joy when two characters finally met just over 200 pages into the story. The idea that two of them were finally working together gave their part of the story some cohesion.
There are different types of people in this world. There are people who accpet what's in front of them unquestioningly. They live in the dark. In defeat. Ignoring what the future might bring or how they might help to make things happen. Then there are people like me. Optimists. They too live in the dark, in times like these, but dream of light. i trust in the possibilities of betterness. I believe there is more to life than this. I have to. There's no other choice for me.
Each minor character contributes to this story. While we may be following Aries, Michael, Mason, and Clementine directly, the story is really driven by the people they meet along the way. Each of these secondary characters has something to teach a main character, whether it's patience, love, trust, or acceptance. There are not throwaway parts in this story. I felt like each person had a special role in the story that would have left a hole if they were removed.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this novel. There were a few things that were a bit "off" for me. First, I'm not sure what role the "Nothing" was meant to play in the narrative. I didn't feel that the sections of the novel narrated by "Nothing" added a lot for me because the voice didn't make a lot of sense. I couldn't connect with it. Second, this novel has a lot of action and character development, but in the end, it feels very much like the beginning of the story. Since it took the entire book to establish our band of characters as a group, it ends feeling like a beginning. I'm fairly used to cliffhangers so that's not really the issue. I simply felt that not a lot really happened in terms of plot development in this book. However, my connection with the characters and enjoyment of the writing style definitely has me looking forward to reading more in this series!
I'm a Missouri-based lover of all things bookish! I'm studying to be a librarian and I'll finish my MA in December 2012. I read mainly YA but if you stick around, you'll notice I have a severe soft spot for adult romance. :)