Admittedly, it’s been a little while since I’ve gone for the whole post-apocalyptic horror-fantasy. It’s not a genre I actively read, though I can’t say I actively avoid it either. I was offered this book by the author in exchange for an honest review, and awesomely, it came in audiobook form (for MAXIMUM EFFICIENCY).
An apocalyptic battle for godhood in the rift between Iowa and the Abyss…
A fleet of enlarged praying mantises have invaded Des Moines, Iowa. Swarms of cicadas are turning survivors into winged soldiers. Orchestrating the war zone is a priestess of Order, who’s pursuing godhood, and the nation of followers who’ll get her there.
Caroline’s new friendship parts the veil between reality and myth, as a recruiter of Order needs her to hide him from capture. In their escape, the boss she’s loved like a father reveals his elevator into the Abyss.
In this new world, Caroline finds a usurped god and an angry ghost eager to make her their gateway back to power. What if the person her friends will need is heartbeats away from becoming the real threat?
“Oh, yeah. I’m a recruiter for more than ISU.”
Oh, Iowa. I doubt that the giant insect apocalypse or much else of import will happen in you… because you’re Iowa. Dare to dream though, Iowa. Dare to dream! 😀
Okay, okay, I’ll stop making fun of Iowa and move on…. I guess. *sigh* 🙂
The first chapter of this one was kind of confusing, only because while it does set up the basis for some of the story, it does it in a way that assumes that we know right at the beginning what Order and Chaos are in the whole grand scheme of things. So, someone being inducted into the army or whatever of Order is not only as weird as it sounds, it makes absolutely no sense. It left me in a weird ‘oh god, am I going to like this?’ sort of funk right from the get-go. Don’t worry though, I eventually got a feel for it, and then it retroactively made sense. Sort of a 4-chapters-later ‘Ooohhhhh, okay, I think I get it now.’
Buckle my fucking weirdness safety belt though, because I’m in for a ride.
Caroline is a character I liked right from the time we meet her. There’s just something about her that I latched on to. Anton (Anthon? No idea. Audiobook, lol) as well, once he and Caroline met. As a team, I rooted for the both of them, most of the time.
The plot went quite quickly once I really got into the story. It’s a pretty quick listen, but goddamn this book gets confusing after the first couple of hours. Lots happens. Giant insects. Order vs Chaos. Weird wormy mages who ❤ them some maths. Apparently this is a world in which World War 3 has happened, and yet life appears to be going on as per usual, with the inclusion of at least one alternate dimension. I originally thought of the cults/religions/whatevs as secret, but everyone seems to know at least a little about everyone else, so, not so secret, I guess? There’s also giant mutant plants, and other dimensions. This book is like a fucking David Lynch movie. Seriously.
The magic system was interesting. For Order mages anyway, it’s based on… well… order. Exact dimensions, volumes, measurements, and math. It’s quite complex, and that’s good, but not always great in a shorter novel because it’s hard to effectively get a feel for everything that it can do. I got the gist though, I think. There’s a third religion aside from Order and Chaos that was a little more complicated and I’m not sure that I totally understood it at any point. Some of them can control the weather, I think?
This book gets straight up gross in parts. I knew what I was in for because in any instance of a giant insect apocalypse, you’re going to have nasty giant insect larvae and maggots and so on and so forth. So, if you’ve got a weak stomach for that sort of thing, consider this your heads-up. There’s also sections of this story that are, as I’ve mentioned, bizarre as hell. In one of them, Caroline gets transported to another dimension to… give a German soldier a massage? I’m still not at all sure. The giant insect apocalypse is only a slice of a larger, weirder pie here.
The narrator, Stephanie Neff did a decent job. She’s not super great at accents though, and there are two or three different ones that were… close but no cigar. She did give Caroline an appropriate tone. This is seen right from the first chapter in which Caroline appears. She gave Caroline a likable personality, which only assisted in helping me like her as a character. Anton as well.
So, in conclusion, I have no idea what the fuck I just listened to, but I can’t say I didn’t like it. It was weird, but it was rather an enjoyable weird. I give it a solid 3/5 stars. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t really regret any of my 9 hours of time with it.
But seriously though… what the actual fuck just happened?