The Solitary Apocalypse is a perfect mixture of good and bad decisions made by humans who are forced to be stranded, isolated and restricted in a post-apocalyptic town.
I didn’t know what I was getting into, when I first began reading this, but I’m so glad I wasn’t disappointed, instead surprised by how amazing this book was. The story revolves around not just one human but a bunch of them, all affected by one single effect of the H6N1—a fictional virus. When the virus had taken millions of lives all over the world, Audrey, daughter of the Mayor who himself died of the infection, decided to take over the responsibility of the town, her town—Alessandra. Having taken up such a huge task, Audrey, no doubt, found herself in difficult positions and made unexpectedly wrong decisions. Not going into the mistakes in order to avoid spoilers, I would leave it at this: she made the lives of people a hell, but they didn’t know they were in hell.
The plot is super interesting and as a lover of apocalyptic fiction, this was right up my alley. With a big wall guarding the boundaries of Alessandra and the townspeople forced to wear a metallic ring around themselves to avoid any form of contact with other human(s), the premise was definitely resonating with my idea of a post-apocalypse scenario. The descriptions worked positively and set up the aftermath structure of a fallen-down town perfectly. Little details like rationing, no jobs and the mention of a monotonous lifestyle, made me believe this was all true. There was a planned framework and the plot graph is beautifully drawn to get the peaks at all right places during the story.
“It was as if the walls formed not just a physical, but emotional barrier for her, and likely did the same for many others in the town. It was a separation, both literal and figurative. It separated the sick from the well, the before from the after.”
The characters were real personas and humans at all costs, whether they were right or wrong. While Audrey and her younger brother, Paul, were morally incorrect, their views were brought forward in such an unbiased manner that they sounded right in their own minds. A villain who is living in their own apparently righteous bubble? Yes, please! And no, they weren’t always extremely bad or made of steel; they knew deep down somewhere they might be wrong but they forced themselves to keep walking on the path they’d built, simply because they’d come too far.
“Whatever problems they had in Alessandra, she tried to never lose sight of how lucky they were, and she tried to make the people of the town feel the same. And if this man making his way toward their walls had the virus that had ravaged the world, she had a responsibility to make sure he never saw the other side of Alessandra’s walls.”
Similarly, there are the good people, Michael and Stephanie, and many others, who are doing the right thing in the name of fighting for their freedom but have to take wrong decisions because of certain circumstances. In fact, at the end, there’s a little pondering over and how Stephanie thinks if everything was even worth it and knows how grey the answer is. All this contributed to bringing them all alive and three-dimensional to the reader.
When talking about the characters, the best thing would probably be the importance given to each and every one of them. Doesn’t matter how long they’ve been in the story, all of them have been given a role to play and all play it to their fullest. I sound like this is a TV series or a movie, but trust me, The Solitary Apocalypse has a huge potential to be on screen. Anyway, narrowing it all down to a single opinion: the character development in this book is on-point!
Another one of my personal favorite aspect of the story was the killings. I can’t emphasize enough about how much impact each and every death or murder scene in this book has, because of the descriptive writing definitely, but also because how instantaneous they are. No unneeded drama or a dragged pause before pulling the trigger, slicing the throat or stabbing in the back. There were both good and bad who died, many who I didn’t even expect to die but it was realistically pleasing so I let it play. Which brings me to a fair warning: this book has graphically violent scenes that might be uncomfortable for some.
Before this review goes out of hand and becomes a mere excitement driven blabbering, let me touch one last facet of the story—how humans can become monsters. Given the walls that can’t be crossed, rings that can’t be taken off and feelings that can’t be touched upon, it’s bound for any human to lose their shit and let go of any control. It has been wonderfully incorporated into this post-apocalyptic setting and the author used this trait of humans to the story’s best advantage. Many of the murders happened solely for this reason. It depicted the sad reality of the human nature and gave the novel some verisimilitude.
Not only did the monstrous side of humans was shown, but the emotional side was portrayed too. It’s often at tough times when a person feels the most guilt for not being able to do or say things that were inconspicuous but largely important. When a character would reminisce such moments, it brought another side to their personalities, thereby making me care about them.
“He’d done nothing to show he cared once they were married, nothing to show she was important to him, that she really mattered as more than just a trophy.”
Overall, this is a must-read for all those who love a good post-apocalyptic book with characters as real as they can be.
Also reviewed on here.
I received a free digital copy of this book in exchange of an honest review but that in no way influences the rating or my opinion. Thank you Quill & Ink PR and Jeff Haws!