Wasteland Fairytale: Book one of the Survival series Kindle Edition
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Strong language: very little
Sexual situations: many references to threats by older men to a girl child, nothing consummated
Proofreading: very good--a few word substitutions and minor punctuation
Suggested age: adult
Warning for violence
Papa Bear and the girl move through blinding dust storms and radiation to scavenge through the burnt out remains of houses and buildings. What they can find is sold for the money to buy food, water, lodging and medicines. Papa Bear sees a bounty poster in a bar, but neither of them can foresee how changing from scavengers to bounty hunters will impact their lives.
This is an odd and rather disturbing story. Told in sharp sentences and hard deeds, it describes a world reduced to endless radioactive dust. The dust can't be escaped, it blows in everywhere, and storms can blow hard enough to strip a man to bones in a night. The sun can only be seen by the relative change in light level. Water is a premium and sold at bars by grade--medium grade the average.
We don't know the names of Papa Bear or the girl. Papa Bear is described as having found the girl child in some ruins. The girl might have been maybe nine at that time. He protects her and raises her to live in the savage civilization left after whatever caused the ecological catastrophe. Several mentions of walls of fire and radiation and dust are referenced, and older people, like Papa Bear, remember before the storms, but the exact reason is left out; no longer important.
Papa Bear is a conflicted character. He loves the girl child and does what he can to teach her to be safe, but as she approaches puberty he has a harder and harder time resisting what he knows he shouldn't do. On the other hand he goes to great lengths, paranoid lengths, it could be said, to keep both of them safe, even if he has to kill everyone who comes near. He is a hard man, but more in the dismissive way of preferring to be the eater rather than the eaten. His unusual way of dealing with the world he remembers allows him to keep moving forward, but not actually have a long term plan.
We know nothing about the girl. She has accepted his protection and rough care, learned physical skills like riding a motorbike, but resists Papa Bear's lessons about killing for survival. She loves guns but can't bring herself to actually shoot. She's a mechanical prodigy, though, and seems to intuitively know how to scraps of metal and springs to construct quite deadly devices. In the wasteland women who are not prostituting themselves are so rare the girl doesn't meet a competent, independent woman until nearly the end of the book. Her questioning of Papa Bear's choice to kill before he can be killed, and her entreaties he not kill or harm people she thinks are trustworthy, provides a foil for the hardened man and concern she may be too soft hearted to survive.
As with all survival stories, there must be haves along with the have nots. The rich, protected, and entitled live in City Hub, the inner most ring of an organic collection of nine. Originally consisting of well protected survivors, they have adopted an almost Victorian affectation, complete with top hat wearing men and corseted women in hoop skirts. There are living trees, animals like horses and dogs, and are protected enough behind their walls that the dust doesn't penetrate. They have no interest in the world outside their enclave except for items they can't get or make themselves.
Although the world has been reduced to subsistence, a war is going on. Semi-independent Generals go from town to town recruiting men for their armies to fight with a man considered to be the last stand of humanity against an invading army of steam-driven robots. This is where Papa Bear and the girl find themselves. They've been hired to assassinate the human leader, but do they really want their area of the world overrun by deadly robots?
There is a hard cliffhanger. The book ends, if abruptly, at a reasonable stopping place. This reader has purchased the next book.
Turner’s first novel in the Survival series, Wasteland Fairytale, paints a harsh picture of the world after nuclear fallout. It’s kill or be killed especially when there is a young female involved. This steampunk tale features a dystopian society with multiple layers of haves and have nots. No one is happy and everyone is just trying to live another day. The dynamics between Papa Bear and the girl were a little on the almost creepy side.
Overall, it was a good story with a fresh take on the survival of mankind. It is well written and captivating. It will be interesting to see how the tale plays out in the next installment.
4 out of 5 stars.
I received this book for free from the author for review consideration. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.
Papa Bear is a deeply, deeply flawed 'hero' (and I use the term loosely). You're never sure to cheer him on or loathe him intensely. I kinda did both. He's extremely protective of the Girl, his 13 year old companion - yet there is an undercurrent of absolute creepiness in his relationship with her. Papa Bear is not really a nice man. At all. But nice men aren't going to survive this world, and nice men can't protect the Girl as he does.
The Girl is an interesting character - she's grown up quick and is quite mechanical minded as she often invents small weapons for the two (such as a wrist-dart). She's close to Papa Bear, but as the story goes along, she gets more glimpses into the type of man he really is and often she is not comfortable with that. But he saved her life, and he protects her and they are a team. It made me wonder if, as the series goes on, whether their relationship will start to fracture.
I believe book 2 in the series is coming soon, and I'm eagerly awaiting it. I will definitely continue on with the series.