4 out of 4 stars
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By now, we are familiar with the havoc a small virus can stir up. But what if a deadly virus and a vengeful mad scientist team up together? Can you even envision the destructiveness the world will have to face? Let Matthew Tysz escort you into a pandemic-induced apocalyptic world through his book The Last City of America.
When a new virus named Hephaestus entered the world, it was brushed off as harmless. But, by 2066, the world’s population had dipped dangerously low. Since the Hephaestus made conception difficult, birth had become rarer and rarer each day. Every country had become isolated in its bubble. Businesses, real estate, education institutes, and even governments were flailing. The US government was struggling with the anarchy spreading among its citizens. To reel this, every remaining US citizen was ordered to relocate to a select group of seven cities.
While the world was in such a state, the creator of Hephaestus was wallowing in Chicago: this devastation was not enough for him. He wanted the world to suffer more. But he also knew his age wouldn’t cooperate with him. So, he nurtured a predecessor who would torture the world more than him.
Will his dreams come true? The US had reduced from 50 states to just seven cities. Can at least a single city survive? Was humanity always doomed to fail? Will humans remain a failed experiment forever with their unending misery? Will people be stuck in the cycle of hope and despair forever?
This book is an anomaly among the regular apocalyptic fiction. Instead of focusing on erasing the virus or rebuilding the world, the plot focuses on whether or not humanity deserves to have a break from its despair. Tysz’s writing engages the black-and-grey morality to its fullest. Much like Harold, Grakus, and Adrian, most characters are anti-heroes. If this book's intention was to leave the readers dazed, ruffled, and drained by the end, it definitely succeeded in its mission.
The character list is endless. Even a character who appears in a single scene has ample space to blossom. The story is purely character-driven. There is a great plot, but the characters are the ultimate decision-makers. I will rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. This book seemed well edited, as I did not find any errors, and I do not have any complaints against this book.
I hated and liked Grakus’ ambiguous nature. Victoria Morena’s character arc felt abrupt. If you picked this book because you are a fan of Tysz’s We are Voulhire series like me, then get ready to see different variations of Meldorath throughout the book. This work is quite lengthy, more than 900 pages! The plot is set entirely in America; we will not know how the other countries are faring the apocalypse. And, the story’s realistic nature turns into fantasy when sky lords, dancing hosts, and magical powers enter the scene.
If you are looking for an easy read with a satisfaction quotient, do not pick this. Go for this only if you do not mind overflowing descriptive narration, stream of consciousness, end of the world harsh scenarios, profanity, adult content, and a fantasy element. To understand the nature of this book, imagine if Fodor Dostoevsky had written The Stand; if this seems intriguing to you, then go on and have a blast reading this fiction.
The Last City of America
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