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76 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
"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+?

No.

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
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
What a fun ride!

I loved the premise - a group of people trapped in a seedy English pub during a very bad storm that is much more than just a bad storm. And however bad things appear, well, they can get worse.

I felt the author liked his characters. He's good with women characters. Horror can often be a macho business, so I appreciated that.

And the reason why everything is happening will knock your socks off.

I hope the author continues writing. I liked my introduction to his imagination.
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35 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Perhaps because this involved a similar threat to the film 'Legion'(with Dennis Quaid), it just wasn't my cup of tea (it didn't hint at this in the description, otherwise I may have avoided it). Won't go into detail as I don't want to spoil the story thread.

Like the film Legion it suffers a little from the same 2D (stereotypical) characters which are fleshed out on the whole only when required, but for some reason I found them somehow unrealistic, uninteresting and pretty predictable

Characters have horrific moments out in the snow and then upon entering the pub (the main venue for the story) begin immediately to have arguments with the other people, discuss silly things or have an awkward teenager style romantic faux pas moment, instead of explaining what happened, hysterically or otherwise as people would.
Classic example is when the first character is killed off, it's almost like an afterthought that the incident is even mentioned at all by their friend (a bit like - Your friend died out there - Oh yeh, it was awful and I'll really miss him)or when spooky things are seen outside, they tell no one and by the time a character does tell anybody else (which seems like an age), it is of course, gone.

The world turns to hell and people are having bizarre romantic moments, drinking beer by the crate (yet function perfectly) are struggling to find scraps of cardboard to keep the fire going (cardboard for goodness sake...??) instead of smashing up the bar and all the furniture within pub and burning that (and if they are freezing to death then why keep drinking cold beer that they just had to thaw out by the fire....??). But most troublesome was the 'film reference dude' who never quit making movie reference/comparisons to their current plight, even in the face of death and was just so annoying I ended up skipping his chapters.

Interesting premise and as I said, the genre is not my bag (without giving stuff away) but that said, unrealistic, boring characters, a serious and distinct lack of panic, worry, or of people feeling any threat and dread about the never ending snow - you know, like it's entitled 'The Final Winter'...??? (the token bad guy had more menace and fright for the characters and even that was minor) it's was written kind of like........ "wow it's still snowing, been doing that for like a week now, never mind it will all be back to normal soon" and this seemed the norm for every character (we also get no insight beyond the pub of the rest of the worlds plight from the snowfall).

With many elements seen before in movies or read in other novels (particularly the slightly weak ending), sadly it just didn't do much for me.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This is a great read. I'm shocked that I was able to enjoy a story that centered around a bar as the only real setting. I normally enjoy the Zombie apocolypse vs. Biblical apocolypse but this was worth every star. There is some foul language and if the book needs a rating it would be R for sure. Don't buy it if that bothers you. Aside from that, the characters are well developed, editing mistakes were few, and the plot moved along at a good pace. Highly reccommend.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Please warn me that I am reading an apocalyptic horror novel that is based on biblical religious stuff when I make an order and decide to give hours of my time reading it. What a way to ruin hours of my week. I stopped reading at 70% when it turned out all this stuff is a biblical apocalypse. The book was actually fairly interesting until it ruined it with that. I didn't finish.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Not a very useful review I know but I'm afraid this one was a struggle to get through for me.
Whilst the genre is meant to be a little out there, some of the scenarios needed some normality - human beings react to certain incidents in a somewhat predictable fashion. Some of yours just don't. An example would be the ones witnessing the deep fried friend incident in the beginning. I would have expected them to want to share that gory detail with the others in the pub? The poor blokes' demise became a non-event when it really could have set the scene for the rest of the novel.
Also suggest a proof reader - I reckon we could all do with one of those.
Nevertheless, good effort and good luck.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle Edition
An interesting premise, but unfortunately there's not a whole lot of depth given to the actual story behind what's going on. This would make a far better movie than a book, in my opinion - in a lot of ways it's a classic horror movie, a bunch of broken/twisted people stuck in one place during an apocalyptic situation, and, one by one, we find out the truth about (most of) them and their dark sides/secrets.

The reasons behind the apocalypse are interesting, but that part isn't given quite as much attention from the author as the character building/description.

In short, a good read, could've and should've been better.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2014
Format: Paperback
I read the blurb about this book, and loved the premise. I had such high expectations, and sadly none of them were even close to being met. It feels as if the author hurried through the story without looking back over it for review. Caught a lot of mistakes in the story line, learned that he loves the word "Degenerate" (because Thesauruses are hard to come by?), and his explicit portrayal of how 'turned on' a man can become at rape, had me rolling my eye's and cursing under my breath. The only real character that is some-what developed- is disgusting. You learn what is out there within the first 10 chapters, and the rest of the time(because you have an idea of what the 'monster' is) you're just reading and hoping to find the plot. In the end, I'm really not sure if it's the Editors fault with how badly this book turned out- or the author himself, but something has to give.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This started out great and I'd settled myself down for a quick, all-in-one-sitting, read. Sufficient gore and tense situations that kept me second guessing who the real good guys/bad guys were. Reminded me a lot of Stephen King's The Mist to be honest. But then we hit about the three-quarters mark and I literally went WTH happened? The story slipped into silly mode and I found myself totally turned off. I don't know, maybe I expected too much from an apocalyptic horror story, but I felt this could have been so much more than what it turned out to be. Comedy is not what I search for when choosing a "horror" story, but comedy is what it morphed into. It's like the author did this bang-up job of setting up this dark tale and then totally dropped the ball. I might try a second novel by Iain Rob Wright just because I liked the set up of the first half in The Final Winter, but right now it's a mighty big IF. The talent is there to produce a good horror. He certainly caught my attention at the start. But I think this one got pushed through while still in need of a lot more work in the developmental, editing, part of the writing process. Had potential, but didn't deliver. I should probably have given it one star, but decided to go with two only because of the good beginning. For the author, because I feel you have a lot of talent as a writer-- I'd pull this one and rework it before anymore damage is done. For potential readers---probably not going to be the story you hoped for when glancing through the blurb and those beginning pages.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
It was an okay book. Totally predictable though. Ending seemed rushed. I actually liked the short stories at the end better
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