3 out of 4 stars
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Whispers from the Wasteland by MJ Tilbrook is a novel in the science fiction/fantasy genre. This book is a prequel to the series entitled A Tale of Grudge and Gods. According to Amazon, there are 532 pages. However, in the version I reviewed, there were only around 225.
Hylore Grudge has released a plague on mankind. The name of this scourge? Terra Phorm. These tendrils of black and purple have not only taken over the country but have infected the population as well. Those who have not been driven mad by this disease have been banished to the part of the city infested by the Terra Phorm. They are forced to scavenge the ruins and fend for themselves against the Terra Phorm and the monsters it has created.
This book follows five people. First, we have a gentleman named Koden. He has joined a group called the Ferryman (who try to keep order), but he is not easily accepted considering he comes from the town of Hallovale. Next is a girl named Merak who possesses special abilities. She is under the protection of the most hated man in all of Hallovale, Hylore Grudge himself. The next person we get to meet is named Iban. He is the son of a Ferryman and goes to the academy to train to become a Ferryman like his father. Fourth, we meet Pox, one of those whom the town has exiled. She has been infected by spores from the Terra Phorm, but it has not driven her crazy like some. She and a group of others like her (known as Enderlings) band together to try to survive this exile. Lastly, there is Waker. Waker lives in Guaranthium, a city with a very high wall to keep the Terra Phorm out. Waker is a scientist experimenting on the Terra Phorm (and its victims) to find a way to control it.
What becomes of each of these people? What do they have to do with each other? Who exactly is Hylore Grudge and what is this Terra Phorm he released on the world? Will someone be able to put a stop to the Terra Phorm and cure its victims?
I wish I could say that all you had to do was read this novel and all your questions would be answered. That is not the case, however. In fact, you will probably finish the book with more questions than you started with. Since this book is a prequel, though, I doubt the author intended to wrap up a story in a nice, neat box. In prequels, the author's goal is usually to get the reader so intrigued by the world that he has created that the reader can't help but to continue the series. If that was Mr. Tilbrook's purpose, he has succeeded as far as I'm concerned.
The author's world building skills are on point. I was able to picture the Terra Phorm in my mind taking over the buildings and infesting people. There is even a scene where there is a sort of dust storm except that it is made of Terra Phorm spores. With the author's description, I was able to imagine what this would be like. Even though the world is different from anything we are familiar with, Mr. Tilbrook uses his words to help set the scene.
Right away, the story lures you in and urges you to keep reading. At some points, you see the lives of the characters intersecting, but there really is no over arching plot that ties everything together. Still, the story moves along quickly, and I doubt anyone could be bored while reading this novel.
Unfortunately, I think it is evident that the book is not professionally edited. The formatting was nice, but there were grammatical errors on just about every page. Mostly, the errors consisted of word substitutions (feel instead of fell) and missing words. To me, it was a slight annoyance to which I rolled my eyes. I know that there are others who would find this more bothersome, though.
My first thought upon finishing the book was, “What happens??” I was eager to read the first book in the A Tale of Grudge and Gods series to see how (and if) the characters reappeared. I, therefore, rate Whispers from the Wasteland 3 out of 4 stars. Due to the number of errors in the manuscript, I was not able to award it a perfect score. A word of caution to potential readers: this book is not for the faint of heart. There are a number of gruesome scenes as well as adult content. I would recommend this only to mature readers who enjoy a good apocalyptic science fiction and are eager to get involved in a series.
Whispers From The Wasteland
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