Author : Ricky Dragoni
Published By : CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Year Published : 2018
Genre / Tags : Audiobook, Dystopian, Survival, Novella
Mood : Everything
Formats : eBook, Audiobook, Paperback
# of Pages : 3 hrs & 46 minutes
Left behind after the military evacuation and separated from their families, the people of Storm Lake must decide what to do. Technology along everything else has mysteriously ceases to function. There are no answers, only question and many tough decisions to be made. As they search for help in the cornfields of rural Iowa, a deadly game of hunter and prey develops between them and the Swift. The Swift are a mysterious and ruthless creatures who hunt to kill. They unexplainably appear after the event and mercilessly dispatch of anyone who they encounter; while Coach Mike Larson, Levi, his pupil, and everyone else must hunt the Swift for sustenance and survival. Go along this dark and twisted journey with Coach Mike Larson and Levi as they do the unimaginable to survive in this apocalyptic new world, all in hopes of one day reuniting with their families.
This is both a review of the book and Audible audiobook. The narration is of very good quality, pronunciation is smooth, clear, and polished. Though I typically listened to this one at normal speed, I can verify that it’s very possible to listen at higher speeds like 1.2x or 1.5x and still perfectly make out every detail. At 1.5x speed this one is a handy 2 hours and 25 minutes, almost a novella, and about the same length as watching a longer than average film would be.
Which is fitting because (onto the book review now) the story line flows in a way that’s similar to a fast-paced action flick. This is a dystopian tale about two people left behind to fend for themselves after an apocalypse wherein creatures called Swifts (similar to zombies, but different) lurk about and much of humanity has been evacuated into safe zones.
The main characters are Mike and Levi, a teacher and his student, desperate to get back to their families and traveling from place to place in search of food and fellow survivors. The story is told from the first person perspective of Mike. There is a lot of detail put toward his inner voice and reactions, putting the reader in his shoes to feel every harsh and frenzied moment of his struggle. Levi is in a fragile state and reminds Mike of his own children.
Mike’s determination to protect Levi is endearing, but I was often left wishing Levi showed more personality early on and were a more interesting character. He does show more spark toward the end though. I also wish there had been more character development for other characters. Mike and Levi end up finding more groups of survivors but that’s quite late into the book and the focus is still on the larger goal of just surviving from day-to-day. I do like single-character storylines or small casts of characters though, so it wasn’t a big problem and Mike’s death-defying journey is well-paced enough to be entertaining. Mike himself is a well-defined character.
Withing spoiling anything I’m just going to say the ending is really good. I was left startled by it. After enjoying a plethora of dystopian/survival media, I’ve never seen an ending quite like this one and it’s a clever approach to this genre. There’s some good re-read value in experiencing the story again, knowing some important details that the ending provides.
Disclaimer : I was provided a digital audiobook of this title in exchange for an honest review.
Overall Rating – 8/10
Why You Should Try It – A good quality audiobook, solid narration, understandable at 1.5x speed and about the length of a movie. For those looking to fill out their reading goals, this can be a really good choice. Tense action and survival-focused storytelling. Appealing if you like the genre. I really liked the ending.
Why You Might Not Like It – Limited character development outside of the leading character, Mike.The Swift (Amazon Link)
Thanks for reading my review! Feel free to let me know your thoughts at any time, your likes and comments are highly appreciated.