3 out of 4 stars
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Wyatt Sullivan is just a boy trying to survive alone in a nuclear-ravaged world full of mutants that would like nothing more than to eat him alive. Having no knowledge of the world before, he scavenges what he needs. But, is this lonely existence worth living? After stumbling upon a radio signal for a city of survivors nearby, he risks his life getting there. But, will he make it? If he does, what will he find?
Post-Apocalyptic Paradise by Alestarious Blac is a science fiction novel with dystopian themes. Profane language is prevalent; however, there are only mild sexual innuendos. With violence and extreme gore, I would advise only older teenagers and adults to pick this up.
I think my favorite part of the book was trying to figure out the mystery of where Wyatt came from, of who he was before the apocalypse. Following along with him and figuring it out as he does is part of what kept me engaged in the book. Though the author drops hints here and there, it isn't easy to piece together yourself.
While this is science fiction, the major themes in this book are depression and suicidal thoughts. The author even has a message at the beginning to those struggling with such issues. It's clear that Mr. Blac knows this subject well. When Wyatt is contemplating suicide, he says: "I let myself slip back into the warm arms of my resolve." I appreciated a different approach to something that afflicts so many. While the book doesn't explore ways to help the depression (as that's not its scope), it does help others know that they aren't alone.
The story is a bit slow to get started; it took me several chapters to become invested in the story. Once I was, though, the action was non-stop, and I didn't want to put the book down. There are fights, there's adventure, and there's a small bit of romance. If you're prone to queasiness reading about blood and guts, you'll want to skip this. "Rivers of tainted blood gushed down its scaly body as I decapitated its many heads."
Sadly, the editing needed some work. I found many errors of varying types. Mostly these consisted of typographical mistakes like spacing issues or incorrect words. Even though they weren't egregious, they were numerous. For example, "Wash this what Grim ad died for?"
As for the ending, it isn't exactly what I was expecting or what I hoped for. There's much that's left open-ended. It didn't seem that the author was setting up for a sequel, but one could be written. To me, it seemed like a metaphor that Wyatt's journey was just begun. While not entirely satisfying, it was probably realistic.
All in all, this is an intriguing take on depression and mental health in a dystopian setting. Due to the errors, I must rate Post-Apocalyptic Paradise 3 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to adults who don't mind violence that enjoy science fiction, especially those prone to mental health problems. I applaud the author for bringing such a delicate subject to the forefront. I'm looking forward to seeing what else he comes up with.
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