THE DEAD CITY: A Post Apocalyptic Thriller Kindle Edition
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About the Author
- ASIN : B01LDT7F2M
- Publisher : DJM Entertainment; 2nd edition (August 31, 2016)
- Publication date : August 31, 2016
- Language : English
- File size : 4507 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 546 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,019,072 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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You're back in the city of Magna, a dystopian world filled with bloodthirsty mutants, mercenary bandits, and a group of intrepid soldiers operating under the command of a sociopathic general whose greed may spell doom for them all.
Rather than reveal any of the storyline, I'll just say that Morgan's treatment of his characters never fails to surprise. Their backstories are rich and interwoven, had he's a master at providing intelligent, point-of-view storytelling, even when he switches to the perspective of the mutant lifeforms that roam the planet.
He's also given masterful treatment to his ending, with a terrifying plot twist that will leave you spinning. Although there is finality to this story, there's a hint of another novel to come. Thank goodness, because I can't wait to read more!
In The Dead City, another crack team is heading to Hemera and Magna, accompanied by Colonel Paden. He wants to find the treasure in gems said to be hidden within the capitol city, ostensibly for Erebus but in reality for himself. He brings with him physicians to tend to his health and three prostitutes to tend to his other needs. The team is led by Lieutenant Marshall, a much-decorated soldier revered by his men. Among the team members are Ryan and his sister Jayde, who is also a soldier and very close to her brother, and also the loathsome Murdoch, who has hated Ryan since their training and fantasizes in graphic ways about what he will do to and with Jayde, if he ever gets the chance.
This time the soldiers are aware of what awaits them, and the trek to the capitol’s palace is a running of the gauntlet, with the gruesome deaths of both soldiers and mutants. The mutants, who have deadly aim with sharpened metal blades, are held off by a plasma guns (Berserkers), which blow them into bloody bits but which cannot stem their unending tide. Eventually some of the groups into which the team has been split reach the deepest level of the palace, where the President and his family, long since dead, were once housed. Paden then follows in relative safety, at the cost of more men, and the search of the building and sewers for the gems begins.
The Dead City has an inherently interesting story line with characters you can really love or hate. My dislike of Colonel Paden was so great, I prayed for a mutiny. While Ryan is suitably indomitable and brave, the author has also created many minor characters who grabbed me emotionally. As I said about The Dead Lands, this is not a story for the faint of heart. There were times when I was overwhelmed with the repetitive and gruesome slaughter; there’s a limit to the amount of gore I can handle. Luckily, each time when I thought I’d reached that limit, the story and characters kicked back in and I kept reading. The ending was a total surprise and made it more than worth reading the book. I want the sequel!
Two things. I wish there had been more of a transition between the previous book and this one – seeing what happened to the first team when the remnants of it returned to Erebus, for example. I also wondered why the mutants never killed and ate each other.
The relentless gore aside, the author does a great job of describing his world and drawing the reader into it. This book should appeal to everyone who likes strongly written, post-apocalyptic thrillers.
PS This is a planet I would never want to visit!
I read the first novel in this post-apocalyptic series The Dead Lands not too long ago (read my review here[...]) in preparation for the next novel. I enjoyed the first one (although I don’t read much in that genre, I had read another one of the author’s novels, and it had come very highly recommended) and was eager to see what would happen next.
The story picks up where the other one left of, or near enough. A much larger military expedition, this time headed by Colonel Paden, is sent to Hemera, officially to rescue the survivors of the first mission, but in reality to recover the treasure and wealth of the city that Paden has been assured is still there. Anybody who’s read the first novel knows that all the members of the mission are in for a surprise. Although they’ve been told there are some hostile life forms in the planet (that’s more than the first mission knew), nothing has prepared them for the mutated ever hungry creatures they meet.
The style of the story is very similar to the first one. It’s also written in the third person, with each chapter or part of the narration told from a different point of view. I did mention in my previous review that it made for a fairly democratic experience, and a pretty uncomfortable one at times, and that’s again the case. We are in the shoes (or the consciousness) of soldiers, male and female, of all ranks, of those in charge and those following orders, of male and female mutants… It does not necessarily help create empathy for the characters, but many of them are not likeable (and some are utterly disgusting, and I’m not talking necessarily about the mutants that after all have no choice in the matter) nor do they need to be. Like in the first one (personally I thought perhaps more in this one than in the first novel) there are characters who are easier to root for, like Ryan and his sister Jayde, Marshal, Darrell, Laila, Boone… Murdoch and Paden are the official baddies, although nobody can compete with Paden. He’s gross and horrible and… Yes, so bad he’s good. The behaviour of most of the characters is more loyal and morally sound than in the first one, perhaps because these are military men and women among the best, rather than a problematic team handpicked to die and not be missed like in the first novel. There are moments of extreme loyalty and self-sacrificing behaviour that keeps it emotionally satisfying in parts (despite the body count).
Although there is not much in the way of back story (like happened in the previous one) we get snippets of personal history, for example the history of Ryan and his sister, and we learn the reasons for Murdoch’s hatred towards Ryan (and even get several versions of the story). Overall, the book is mostly about the now and the action and mission the soldiers get landed in. Despite traumatic memories, the soldiers have to remain focused on the task at hand if they want to survive and because we experience the story from the points of view of the different characters we, readers, also get into the action mode, fearing where the next attack might come from, if we’ll make it out of the sewers in time, and if there’s any future at all out of that rat hole.
The novel questions issues of loyalty and morality, and highlights the fact that following orders is not a valid excuse when it leads to extinction and it’s led by greed (Marshal and his hesitation about following Paden’s orders reminded me of Starbuck wondering if he should follow Ahab’s. Ultimately, and I’m not going to spoil the novel for anybody, Marshal’s call is the right one, duty or not. And after all Ahab has his humanities, whilst Paden…). Rampant materialism, self-interest, egocentrism and narcissism are weighted against team loyalty, discipline and team spirit.
There is no humour as such in the novel, although sometimes the contrast between the situation and the point of view of the character the reader inhabits can create moments of utter disbelief and even some unintendedly funny ones (Paden can be annoying, disgusting but also quite witty at times). And I couldn’t help but chuckle thanks to a lovely twist involving a particularly grand mutant (that in fact is the mirror image of the colonel).
There are also interesting observations about the mutants, who are perhaps not the wild slaughtering and devouring machines they appear at first sight that might hint at future changes to come.
The novel has plenty of violence (like in a video game), with fights, shootings, descriptions of weaponry and gore, destruction, nasty smells, biological functions run amok, and injuries described in painful detail. This is not for the fainthearted or those who are looking for a nicely wrapped up and happy ending. Although the ending is perhaps less dark than in the first novel, at least so it seems initially, it has a twist in its tale and it leaves many questions open, including the future of Erebus.
Who do I recommend it to? To lovers of the post-apocalyptic genre who are keen on action, and do not mind descriptions of battles, destruction and explicit violence. Also to those who like to experience stories that go beyond the comfortable following of an unambiguous hero. And I especially recommend it to those with a good stomach who love to hate their baddies. Paden is epic.
Top reviews from other countries
Though it is a sequel it can be thoroughly enjoyed as a standalone and the ending left me slack-jawed. I will definitely be reading more of Morgan's brand of action-packed, beautifully-written sci-fi.
I rounded my 4.5-star rating down to 4 despite the excellent characterisations, great writing and desperate action sequences. This was a purely subjective response to the sense of repetition which began to erode my sense of identification with the main characters. Thankfully this didn't try my patience and brought me to the final outcome which (no spoilers) really left me shocked and feeling an immense sense of having intruded on the lives of real people in a desperate situation.
I would definitely recommend Dylan J Morgan as a sci-fi writer and look forward to reading more of his work.