Saturday, August 30, 2014

Book Review: Degenerated (The Tunnel Trilogy Book 2) by S. Elliot Brandis

Degenerated (The Tunnel Trilogy Book 2)
By S.Elliot Brandis
Publisher: S. Elliot Brandis
Published: July 30, 2014

Amazon Synopsis:

In the tunnels, beneath the city... 

Flynn was imprisoned at birth, spurned by society because of his differences. By age thirteen he was ready to die. By all accounts he should have. 

Now he lives amongst those who'd wish him dead, struggling to understand the affliction that saved his life. Life in the tunnels is dark and twisted. He must find a way to make things right. 

On the surface, in a sun-scorched wasteland... 

Pearl lives in a camp of survivors, learning to adapt to the hostile climate. The mood has begun to darken. Bad habits and dangerous ideas are infiltrating her people. 

When the camp decides to attack the tunnels, she faces a choice: do as she's told and stay safe, or risk her life to save a society of people she doesn't understand. 

Book Links

My Thoughts:

Degenerated is the second book in the Tunnel series. I would recommend reading book 1, Irradiated first. You can find my review of Irradiated here.

Degenerated is a fascinating tale of a post-apocalyptic world in which most of the population has been destroyed by some type of nuclear catastrophe of some type has occurred. The cause has not been specified. There are those who live in the tunnel and there are those with some type of deformity caused by radiation that live on the surface. Degenerated picks up five years after Irradiated ended.

The colony on the surface has grown and now Mike has determined that the time has come for them to strike back at those in the tunnel for attacking them and destroying their families. Pearl is against this as she had been in the tunnels when she was captured and knows that there are many irradiated children there and wants to save them. When Mike refuses and instead leads the colony into a drunken celebration, Pearl leaves with Mongrel, part dog, part dingo and begins to walk to the city beneath which lies the tunnel where the others live.

Mike catches up to her and ties her up with her hands above her. He doesn't mean to hurt her, just stop her from interfering with his plans of revenge. Suddenly the are set upon by a few men from the tunnel who overtake and run off or dispatch Mike and his men. As Pearl had bested this man earlier, he decides to show Pearl a lesson and uses a crowbar to break both her forearms and then cuts through the flesh with a machete, leaving her to bleed to death.

Degenerated is a very dark. It is grim look at the bleak side of our future in a fallen world. Fortunately there is hope too or the book would be too depressing to read. Pearl is hope. She knows there are people worth helping, worth saving. That's her reason to keep going even in the face of all the adversity before her.

I liked the way this novel was written with chapters alternating between Pearl above ground and what was happening in the tunnel. Though there were a lot of characters to keep track of, Brandis somehow made it easy to remember who was who. My only beef was that I thought his vocabulary was a little stunted: rather than being creative with his character's words, he chose instead to have them use the f-word a lot. I personally don't think this added to the story, but rather detracted from it.

The story itself however, was fascinating and Brandis kept it moving along at an excellent pace. The plot's twists were unexpectedly delightful bringing so much more to the story that you want to find out about.

Brandis does a good job on his character development as well. I love Pearl and was heartbroken when she was mutilated. I admire her courage for carrying on rather than feeling sorry for herself and allowing others to take care of her now that she doesn't have any hands.

Flynn, who is the main character in the tunnel, is also a likeable character. I was appalled at some of the things he did, but in his favour he was remorseful. I think I would like to know more about him. I think he could be quite a noble person once he really figures out for himself who he really is.

Anyone who enjoys post-apocalyptic literature is sure to enjoy Degenerated. I highly recommend this novel. I was so close to giving this book 5 stars (if it weren't for the profanity I'd probably read it over again several times) but the best I can do is give it 4 (and a half stars) out of 5. I will be reading book 3. Watch for my review.

Thank you to the author for providing a copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review. A positive opinion was not required. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author:

I live in Brisbane, Australia, and work full-time as an engineer. I like reading books and comics, watching movies and television. I also like sport, especially the Gold Coast Suns (Australian Football League) and the Houston Astros (Major League Baseball), and cricket in any form.

Writing is my passion, though, and I work hard to find time for it. I wake up at 5:15 every morning to write before work

I love being an indie author. Why? Because it’s the model that works best for me. I have complete creative control. It gives me the freedom to be as bold as I want when choosing what stories I want to write, how I want to publish and promote them, and choose what editors and designers I want to work with. I also avoid some of the more nefarious elements of the publishing world, including poor royalties and restrictive contracts.

The result? You can be 100% sure that the story you’re reading is the story I wanted to write.

It also makes me incredibly accessible. Want to talk to me? Post on my blog, or contact me at

I always love hearing from readers, writers, journalists, bloggers, and so forth. Drop me a line.

Author Links

Coming Soon!

Once Upon a Time at the End of the Worldserialized in four parts, with Part One coming out next month.
Aberrated (The Tunnel Trilogy Book 3) - expected release date January 15, 2015

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