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76 of 84 people found the following review helpful
Iain Rob Wright, a writer to watch!
on April 29, 2012
"The Final Winter," by Iain Rob Wright...
...will not be the final read for this reader. In this kinda-sorta Biblical Apocalypse, the horror premise is sound, even if, at first, a bit hard to swallow: Snow is falling, and its coming down--EVERYWHERE, a world-wide phenomenon.
With that premise, the author then focuses the camera on three groups of people that eventually hole up in an English pub, the lot doing their best to believe that emergency services are on the way, that the falling snow will stop, that life will quickly return to normal, if only they can stay warm enough to make it to dawn.
Of course, they're wrong. And thank God for it. Without a doubt, Wright knows how to put his characters in trees, and then throw rocks at them, for within this shivering bunch of everymen and women, there's bi**hes and bas**rds, young ones, a serial murderer, and then some-thing even worse.
With threats mounting by the moment, from the elements, from each other, and then by something beyond imagining, our wannabe survivors are put to the test.
For me, perhaps the author was being tested, too, and if so, I say he passed.
But with an A+?
But with perhaps a B-.
There are times I wish Amazon allowed for half-stars, for then I might be tempted to give "The Final Winter" two-and-a-half. Instead, I'm opting for a three, for it deserves that way more than a measly two stars. The why's simple, I kept turning the pages, and turning, and turning. To do that to a reader, to successfully hook them and keep them hooked, is no small feat. Within the work, the suspense is solid, and that's because of the good characterization that takes place. I started caring for the cast. Felt myself cringing when they were threatened, and wincing when that promise of threat came to pass. The speculative elements, too, though well-timed and paced, never overshadowed the characters, their external dilemma (that of the weather...and of other things out and about) never minimalizing group dynamics, or the internal struggles of the individual cast members.
Flaws, however, do abound. Especially in the English department. Errors are replete throughout the work. If the author paid an editor, he should seek to get his money back. In fact, what was especially aggravating was that much of the prose, word-wise, was fine. But that only made the numerous spelling/grammar/and punctuation flaws all the more noticeable. It's my hope the author goes through the work again, him or a professional editor, and cleans the tale up. The story's worth it.
With the story itself, there's also flaws, particularly with the ending, which is anticlimactic (a common offense with novels on the whole), and arguably a cheat on the reader. No, the ending isn't some protagonist waking up after an extended sleep, proclaiming: "It was all a dream," but it was close enough to make me grumble.
English and plot problems aside, though, what the author did was provide me with a fun ride, and enough of one that I'll be trying him again.
Can an author ask for more?
Yes. But not a whole lot.
It's my sense that Wright is a newish novelist, but one who already knows the basics of how to keep a reader involved. He also strikes me as someone who, like Keene has since breaking out of the gate many years ago, will only get better with every subsequent work.
Rob M. Miller