2 out of 4 stars
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In the year 2021 a virus wiped out 99.9% of the world's population. Those lucky enough to be immune to the virus must find a new way to survive. There are always people, though, that will take advantage of the chaos for their own benefit.
Jameson and his grandfather Johnnie were hunters before the apocalypse, so they are familiar with living off the land. They've set themselves up in a nice cave where they have everything they need to survive. If only they can stay away from the Lankers, a gang that likes to rape, murder, and plunder.
Charity and Passion live a nomadic existence, going from place to place robbing others to survive. After a run-in with a particularly nasty group of Lankers, they are rescued by Jameson. Will these two groups be able to work together and survive? Or will Charity and Passion revert to their old ways?
Apocalypse Life by Ashley Robert is a dystopian fiction novel of about 170 pages. It's a quick and easy read, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone under 18 due to mature content.
The plot of this novel is fairly simple: survival in a post-apocalyptic world. The Lankers are a great addition to the novel, as they add conflict to what would otherwise be a relatively boring story. The characters were interesting; though Jameson and his grandfather are good people, they do what they must to survive. Charity and Passion used to be trusting, but the apocalypse changed that. They live the only way they know how, which does tend to put them more towards the "bad" category. I enjoyed seeing how the characters developed and how their survival instincts played out.
The book starts off slowly and only picks up near the end. One of the reasons for this is the specific details the author gives about seemingly unimportant matters. For example, the author regales us with the specifics of how Jameson prepares a bear he caught hunting. It's almost a step-by-step instruction manual from how to skin it, to how to filet it, to how to cure the meat. Not only do the details slow the story, but they are also a bit too graphic. "Next, he ripped out its anus and threw it into a plastic bucket..."
In addition to the gratuitous descriptions, there were lines that seemed to be out of character with the serious nature of the rest of the book. These completely drew me out of the story, making me scratch my head when I read them. Passion is talking about her sister at one point, and says the following: "...it made her a bit jelly donut of her big sis." She is only fifteen, but she doesn't say anything remotely close to that anywhere else. Johnnie, an old man, is describing how he wants revenge and says this: "...it was on like Donkey Kong." If this is the author's way of inserting levity into solemn situations, he failed.
Furthermore, the book was not professionally edited. There were many errors, consisting of lack of apostrophes as well as homophone substitutions. "Their" is often written for "there" and "near bye" is substituted for "nearby." The errors were plentiful and distracting.
Overall, the book reads more like a post-apocalyptic survival manual than a fictional story. For that reason as well as the lack of editing, I give Apocalypse Life 2 out of 4 stars. This contains the bare bones of a story, but the unnecessary descriptions should be removed and more conflict added. I would recommend it to those that are interested in the hunting and handling of wild animals. Be forewarned, there is extreme violence as well as themes of rape and abuse.
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