Note: this review was first posted on Reedsy Discovery, an awesome website that pairs independent authors and readers. To see the post there click here.
Global war devastated the environment, a zombie-like plague wiped out much of humanity, and civilization as we once understood it came to a standstill. But that was a thousand years ago, and the world is now a very different place.
Conflict between city states is constant, superstition is rife, and machine relics, mutant creatures and resurrected prehistoric beasts trouble the land. Watching over all are the silent Dreaming Cities. Homes of the angels, bastion outposts of heaven on Earth. Or so the church claims. Very few go in, and nobody ever comes out.
Young Abney doesn’t have a lot in this world. He has his mother, his wits, and a whole lot of undead creatures threatening their existence. Over a thousand years ago the world was thrown into war between angels, a zombie plague broke out, and civilization was thrown into a standstill. In the kingdom of Virginia, Abney and his mother decide they need to go to the town of Charleston, Virginia, along the Emperor’s railroad. When they get into a spot of trouble, a Knight of the Dreaming City of Atlantis arrives and saves the day. Quinn, the heavily armed knight, brandishing sword, falchion and gun befriends the pair and is hired to escort them to Charleston. Even when the road seems clear, what they find is mostly trouble. Will they survive the next moment, let alone the next day?
When I first picked this up, I was expecting a traditional fantasy with maybe some modern technology added in (I admit I judged this one on the cover), but what I got was a lot more interesting than that. The blend of angels, who are not infallible, zombies, and a lethal dragon made for a fairly gripping read. And that’s to say nothing of the plain old human threats that faced the trio of Abney, Quinn and Abney’s mother. It was not what I had expected but that didn’t make it a bad read at all. I’m not sure how much I liked the story being told from the point of view of Abney and it did make me wonder how this series will progress. Will we get different tales of Quinn from other people’s perspective or will it be something entirely different? It was also a little jarring to read about these things happening in America, albeit far in the future but occasionally, the mention of some landmark would take me out of the story for a bit.
If you like books full of wandering adventure, fantasy, or dystopian post apocalyptic books you’ll probably enjoy this. It was sort of a mash up of Lord of the Rings, The Walking Dead and True Grit. While it’s easy to like all of those things separately, not everyone will love them all being thrown together. I am definitely interested in where the series will ultimately go with this.
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