To Thee Is This World Given Paperback – June 15, 2015
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Secondly, it is extremely well written. The prose is descriptive and interesting. The characters have no names but are memorable. The author's choice of works is new and refreshing. Sample: "And they shuffled as a group in small clumps and clusters with a sort of coordinated aimlessness..."
But then, as refreshing and new as it tries to be, the book quickly falls back on the old and tired plot devices every single zombie book, television show, and movie relies on: there is no food, no vehicles and no gasoline, so survivors must walk or ride horses and use arrows because there are no guns or ammunition.
I know people hate me for pointing this out, but I can't stand bad logic. If some zombie virus swept the planet and left only 10% of population alive then that means there would be 90% more of everything available for those survivors! Food doesn't suddenly disappear! There would be plenty of prepackaged and canned food (not to mention live farm animals) for many lifetimes if only 10% of the human race were left to consume them. There would be unlimited available vehicles and gasoline because 90% of the former owners and consumers would be gone. Furthermore, it's pretty established there are about two firearms per person in the USA and millions upon millions of rounds of ammo today. Again, if 90% of the population turned into zombies there would be literally hundreds of guns available per survivor and enough ammo to kill every last zombie on earth many times over. And that doesn't count all the military hardware there would be left lying around for the taking. Heck, if I was a survivor the first thing I would get me would be a tank or armored vehicle and a bunch of machine guns! I don't understand why authors and writers have to insist on these items being gone or vanished to tell their story? What - the idea of a army tank crushing zombie skulls under its metal treads isn't gory enough? One saving grace of this book is at least the female character acknowledges there is really plenty of food if you look for it, but then walks or rides a bicycle on her journey!
The story is still worth reading and quite enjoyable otherwise.
In full-disclosure, I received a copy of the book for a review, but it didn't sway my opinion at all.
Khel Milam's "To Thee is This World Given" is an addictive and invigorating page-turner. In a very short time, Milam's vivid characters and their harsh environment come off the page, making their quest for survival that much more emotional. The 104-page novella is exciting as it is fascinating; you immediately start asking questions, which - for me - spurred me on to know what happened next.
The novella is very well-written. The environment is so well described that you, too, feel uneasy. You feel like you're forging on while charting new and unforgiving terrain - all while fighting for survival with the two characters. The main characters are developed primarily through dialogue, but you feel for them, fight for them, and urge them to grow further.
It's definitely a great account of man vs himself, man vs man, and man vs the elements. I give it 4 out of 5 stars, if only because of stylistic choices like not giving any characters names. I understand that it could be a representation of the lack of labels in the new land, or even the growth from the shell of people that the characters used to be since the change. That being said, it occasionally got confusing (while talking about a forsaken camp and another time toward the end - no spoilers).
Also, for the pet lovers -- dogs and a cat become secondary characters. Nothing bad befalls them.
Great job, Khel - thank you for letting me read your work!
This tale of an encounter between two survivors in a post-apocalypse world begins with the action already underway. I appreciated the authors choice not to provide lengthy explanation, but to allow readers to experience the action as it happens and draw their own conclusions. The story turns some of the common ideas of what sort of person would be best equipped to survive the aftermath of an apocalypse and turns them upside down. Throughout the story runs the question of whether individuals must allow the world mold them or whether it is we who shape the world. It touches on the ideas that we are all connected and that our actions and choices have the potential to make the world a better or worse place, not just for ourselves, but for others as well.
I found the characters well written and believable, each had their own distinct personality and voice in the story. As with real people, the two major characters view the world, and how to best live in it, very differently. How their viewpoints do or do not serve each of them makes for an interesting story that may challenge some of your preconceived ideas. I found it thought provoking and well worth reading.