Review by Kelyn -- The Last City of America by Matthew Tysz

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Kelyn
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Review by Kelyn -- The Last City of America by Matthew Tysz

Post by Kelyn » 16 Jun 2019, 21:56

[Following is a volunteer review of "The Last City of America" by Matthew Tysz.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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“What is good, but a lighter shade of darkness?”–Georg Ebers; Serapis

2065–America is in chaos. Over a span of decades, a series of genetically engineered viruses have devastated the nation. None of them killed, not technically. Released by a sadistic scientist intent, in his own words, on “F***ing the world”, Hephaestus I stole the fertility of millions, male and female alike. As the scientist neared death, he extracted a promise from his apprentice, Harold Del Meethia, to hasten the destruction of the world. Thus, despite his own misgivings, Harold created Hephaestus II. This virus deformed and twisted the body while instilling an insatiable need to infect others. Then came the worst: Antilife. Hephaestus II had mutated, stripping those affected of their very humanity and creating a new race conceived and suckled on hatred of mankind’s very existence.

2037–With an aging workforce and few children being born, there were no longer enough people to fill available jobs. Unmanned, essential services shut down and medical personnel fled to a facility in Baltimore, the last bastion of medical science in the nation. Families were forced from their homes into “complexes” which were easier for cities to maintain and police. Housing deteriorated, food became scarce and clean water was a thing of the past. With it ever more difficult to secure even the basic necessities, a survival of the fittest mentality arose. With it came riots and rebellion.

2066–In a bid to curtail further violence, what remained of the government instituted the Founding. Seven cities across America were chosen. All citizens were required to choose and relocate to one of these cities. Gradually, isolated as they were from one another, the cities withdrew into themselves becoming, essentially, their own nations. Years later the Host of Chicago silently watches, pleased by the fragmentation he sees. Within his veins flows the ability to control the beasts of the Antilife and in his ever-manipulative hands lies the ability to motivate the masses to destruction. What will be the fate of humanity? Matthew Tysz takes us on a journey through the darkest depths of the human soul on a quest to discover the unlikeliest of saviors.

The Last City of America by Matthew Tysz is a gripping post-apocalyptic novel with a stunningly intricate plot. It is a terrifying and psychologically twisted peek into a possible future. Though its themes are not unique, the author pushes the limits of the genre to create a tale which defies the norms of heroes vs. villains and good vs. evil. It will make you consider the darkness within us and how close to the surface it resides. The novel is home to several larger themes entangled with more personal perspectives from the myriad cast of characters. Equally important are the personal goals of the characters themselves, their desires, and the paths they choose to achieve them. Politics, subterfuge, insanity, betrayal, vengeance, and redemption are vital plot elements. Trigger warning: murder, mutilation, rape, and cannibalism are themes that also occur.

The background of each major player in this novel is revealed to the reader. Some histories are shockingly dark and have driven the character to the edge of insanity. Others have themselves performed detestable crimes against humanity, precariously balancing between good and evil until you are uncertain on which side they will fall. With some characters you will empathize, others you will despise, and for still others, you will pray for either their redemption or their demise. Nothing in this book is purely black and white and all is never as it seems. Within its pages, Tysz skillfully explores the darkest side of human nature in a tale told in shades of gray. The novel has the potential to be a brilliant and enthralling story.

However, there are a few problems. For instance, there are a stunning and often confusing number of side characters in the novel who appear and are abandoned, their storyline left hanging. There are numerous minor spelling and grammatical errors present. For instance, coming across a “bear” which should be “bare” (pun intended) breaks immersion. Unfortunately, that was not my main problem with the novel. Tysz has the disturbing penchant for sexualizing his female characters. With some side characters, there is no depth whatsoever. Their primary description is their sensuality. Even the main female characters are described in this way. One primary character, Angela, is described as having an ample bosom. In every encounter, the other person ends up looking at her chest and it is re-emphasized that she is well-endowed.

Taken together, these problems are vexing enough that I feel I must deduct a star. Therefore, I rate The Last City of America 3 out of 4 stars. This book is not an easy read by any extent of the imagination. The writing itself is often chaotic with frequently awkward phrasing, making the storyline difficult to follow. Containing 658 pages, it takes dedication to complete. I would recommend it for mature, experienced readers who like dystopian and post-apocalyptic themes. Be warned, the book indirectly addresses the darkness in humanity. This is present in every word and chapter. If you dislike complexity in what you read and enjoy more light, fluffy, straightforward plots, I encourage you to look elsewhere.

******
The Last City of America
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Post by Letora » 20 Jun 2019, 07:04

I wouldn't be able to continue a book that sexualizes the characters continuously. It seems like it needs a good round of editing to take out the unnecessary bits and tighten up the story. I'll have to pass on this one. Thank you for reviewing!
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Post by Kaylee123 » 20 Jun 2019, 07:36

Wow this sounds like an amazing book! You did a great job describing it! I don't know if I would be able to read it though, since you noted it's a "terrifying and psychologically twisted peek into a possible future." Something that dark probably isn't for me. Thanks for a great review!
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Post by Kelyn » 20 Jun 2019, 21:26

Letora wrote:
20 Jun 2019, 07:04
I wouldn't be able to continue a book that sexualizes the characters continuously. It seems like it needs a good round of editing to take out the unnecessary bits and tighten up the story. I'll have to pass on this one. Thank you for reviewing!
I tried to mentally skim over those bits once I realized how frequent they were but it wasn't easy! A good round of editing would do a world of good. Still, I mostly enjoyed the book. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! :D
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Post by Kelyn » 20 Jun 2019, 21:29

Kaylee123 wrote:
20 Jun 2019, 07:36
Wow this sounds like an amazing book! You did a great job describing it! I don't know if I would be able to read it though, since you noted it's a "terrifying and psychologically twisted peek into a possible future." Something that dark probably isn't for me. Thanks for a great review!
Thank you so much for the compliment!! Yes, the book does have quite a dark feel to it, but that's not something I mind reading. Makes me think. If you don't like that type of thing though, it's probably not the best book for you. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
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Post by thaservices1 » 21 Jun 2019, 11:48

Wow. That was an incredible review. Your overview was easier to understand the history leading up to the book than it was to get the info from reading the book. Well done, Thank you.
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Post by Ekta Swarnkar » 21 Jun 2019, 11:49

The writer is known to me for his incredible hero-villian stories combined with twisted plots. The review is informative and I am sure you enjoyed the book.

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Post by Bianka Walter » 21 Jun 2019, 13:11

Sexualising female characters - ugh. This happens so much in books where the fairer sex get described by their sub-facial assets. Very annoying.
This seems like an interesting book, though. Great review!
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Post by Nisha Ward » 21 Jun 2019, 18:38

I've noticed that Mr. Tysz tends to write some very dark, very interesting things when he does science fiction. His other series starting with The Turn also seemed similarly dark and I'm not going to deny being very intrigued by the premise of this one despite seeing it before. The sexualisation aspect is ugh, but I've unfortunately learnt how to skim over that thanks to comics. Gonna check this one out, thanks!
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Post by Kelyn » 21 Jun 2019, 23:21

thaservices1 wrote:
21 Jun 2019, 11:48
Wow. That was an incredible review. Your overview was easier to understand the history leading up to the book than it was to get the info from reading the book. Well done, Thank you.
Thank you for the compliment! I'm glad you enjoyed the review and that it helped you understand the book a bit better! Thanks for stopping in and commenting!
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Post by Kelyn » 21 Jun 2019, 23:22

Ekta Swarnkar wrote:
21 Jun 2019, 11:49
The writer is known to me for his incredible hero-villian stories combined with twisted plots. The review is informative and I am sure you enjoyed the book.
Yes, I did though it was a bit long. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
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Post by Kelyn » 21 Jun 2019, 23:25

Bianka Walter wrote:
21 Jun 2019, 13:11
Sexualising female characters - ugh. This happens so much in books where the fairer sex get described by their sub-facial assets. Very annoying.
This seems like an interesting book, though. Great review!
:lol2: Sub-facial, I love it! And yes, it happens far too much. The book was indeed interesting, if a bit long. I'm so glad you liked the review! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
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Post by Kelyn » 21 Jun 2019, 23:29

Nisha Ward wrote:
21 Jun 2019, 18:38
I've noticed that Mr. Tysz tends to write some very dark, very interesting things when he does science fiction. His other series starting with The Turn also seemed similarly dark and I'm not going to deny being very intrigued by the premise of this one despite seeing it before. The sexualisation aspect is ugh, but I've unfortunately learnt how to skim over that thanks to comics. Gonna check this one out, thanks!
He does tend to be a bit dark, doesn't he? Maybe that's why I like his writing, I enjoy a bit of darkness sometimes. I haven't read The Turn yet but I'll definitely look for it! I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did and are able to skim over the *sigh* frustrating bits.
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Post by Prisallen » 22 Jun 2019, 15:03

This certainly seems like an intriguing book, but I think it is a little too dark for me. Thank you for a very thorough and well-written review!

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Post by Kelyn » 22 Jun 2019, 17:50

Prisallen wrote:
22 Jun 2019, 15:03
This certainly seems like an intriguing book, but I think it is a little too dark for me. Thank you for a very thorough and well-written review!
Thank you for the compliment! If you're not into dark themes, I think it is probably for the best that you don't pick this one up. Thanks for stopping in and commenting!
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