Thursday, August 6, 2015

Book Review: After the Winter by Mark Healy

After the Winter (The Silent Earth, Book 1)
By Mark Healy
Publisher: Mark Healy
Published: Oct. 28, 2014

Amazon Synopsis:

The Earth is in ruins. Cities and nations destroyed. Those who survive the onslaught succumb to the cold blackness of winter. A handful of machines finally emerge into the light, lost and directionless. They are the last remnants of civilisation. 

Brant is a synthetic - a machine who has the appearance and emotions of the humans who made him. He is hunted across the wasteland by cruel scavengers known as Marauders who are intent on cannibalising his body to prolong their own lives. 

Brant carries a great burden as he tries to return home: a secret that can change the world. Against the unforgiving desert, the twisted denizens of this new world and his own dark past he needs to find a way back at any cost. 

The Silent Earth Trilogy 
Book 1 - After the Winter: 
Book 2 - The Seeds of New Earth: 
Book 3 - The Fires of Yesterday:

Book Links

Mark’s music project ‘Hibernal’ interweaves his original sci-fi stories with instrumental music to create an immersive experience for the listener.  Combined with a professional voice cast, the ‘audio movies’ have been hailed by critics and fans alike for their originality and creativity.

My Thoughts:

In this post-apocalyptic novel Brant is wandering the desert on his way back to M-Corp where his partner Arsha is stationed after having left in her order to lead the marauders away and protect the project he and his partner were working on. At M-Corp are stored frozen human and animal embryos, seeds of all kinds, everything to repopulate the earth again. Brant and Arsha are the caretakers who will begin the process once the nuclear winter is over.

At this time in the future there are no humans left on the planet as they have all died out due to the holocaust caused by the nuclear war that the humans rained down on each other sending the world into a nuclear winter where every living thing died. The only thing still “living” are the artificial life creations that man made – synthetics. Brant is a synthetic who has had the human essence of a scientist downloaded into him. All he wants now is to be uploaded back into his human body.

I really enjoyed the twists and turns this story took. Whether or not the scientists of the day were able to download the human mind into an artificial body was an interesting concept to contemplate. One of the things that keeps Brant going is the memory of his son Zade of whom he carries a picture in his pocket.

We discover a lot about Brant as he travel continually west heading toward M Corp, trying to stay out of sight of the Marauders. Through a number of plot twists he meets a few other clanks (synthetics) who have managed to eke out a living for themselves. Some he tries to help and some he realizes are better off if he leaves them where they are.

Brant believes he’s been gone from M-Corp for a year and is amazed to see the regrowth of the weeds and plants that he has begun to notice on his journey. However, when he talks to Arsha, he discovers he has actually been gone 10 years, not 1.

Devastating plot twists occur sending Brant into an emotional tailspin and he runs off desperate, devastated and depressed, contemplating suicide. While out there he discovers one of the clanks he ran into earlier who since he saw him last has committed suicide. Brant grieves and weeps for his friend. These events cause Brant to understand what his human creators have done and further his understanding into his own purpose.

There were a moderate number of swear words in After the Winter including the f-bomb. I deducted a star for this as I did not feel this kind of language was really necessary or even added anything to the book. I personally would have enjoyed the book much more had that language not been used.

The story flowed at a smooth and rapid pace. It was easy to follow and very enjoyable. I liked that at the beginning the reader has no idea of who Brant is until he is slowly revealed. The book was written from Brant’s point of view.

If you enjoy post-apocalyptic literature, I think you will like After the Winter. I rated it three stars (it would have been 4 had it not been for the language) out of 5.

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:

Mark R. Healy is an author and musician from Brisbane, Australia. From an early age he loved to create, and often assembled his own illustrated books with accompanying stories - and then forced his parents to buy them. Unfortunately this model was not scalable and Mark now seeks to promote his works to a wider audience. Mark has also combined his storytelling prowess with music, creating a project called ‘Hibernal’ through which he interweaves original sci-fi stories with his own music to create an immersive theatrical experience for the listener. Combined with a professional voice cast and sound effects, these “audio movies” are available online through iTunes, Bandcamp and Amazon under the name ‘Hibernal’.

Author Links

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