Stars: 3 out of 5
This is not a bad book at all. It was just rather meh to me, but that might just be because I was expecting something more out of this post-apocalyptic read.
I liked the glimpses into the past and what brought down the end of the world as we know it, even though the explanation about the AIs wasn’t all that satisfying. I mean, the technological remnants we are shown in this book aren’t advanced enough to have created something as sophisticated as the AIs as they are described. From everything I’ve seen in this book, the world “before” was at about our technological level (as in 2020’s), and we don’t have AIs or are even close to reaching that threshold.
Also, a lot of things are hinted at, but not fully explained. Like the fact that the official story behind the Blackout isn’t really how it happened. I understand that this is only the first book in a longer series, but I would have appreciated a few more answers.
I think the biggest reason why this book was meh to me is that I never managed to connect with the characters. Mitchell seemed promising enough, but the author purposefully keeps him as a closed book. He knows a lot of things and a lot of people, but he speaks in riddles. We also never really get a glimpse inside his head or understand his motivations. I mean it’s hinted that Ruth’s mother asked him to look after her, but their connection isn’t explained.
Ruth herself didn’t work for me as the protagonist. I think it’s because she is so passive for most of this story. She joined the police academy because she couldn’t go to University and didn’t want to be a farmer or miner. She isn’t particularly motivated to be there. This is not a career she decided to pursue yet. So she kind of tags along for most of the investigation.
She also feels woefully unprepared for the job she is supposed to be doing, which is surprising. Are you telling me that in a post-apocalyptic world where things are so bad that there is food rationing, people stopped committing crimes like murders and burglaries? So the police force is thought math and science instead of how to shoot a gun and how to best overpower and disarm a belligerent suspect? I’m sorry, but human nature being what it is, I would think that crime would have skyrocketed in society like that, so the police force would have to be a lot more brutal and better trained.
Also, because Ruth is only marginally interested in the investigation, and the reader sees it through her eyes, I was only marginally interested as well. It doesn’t help that everyone talks in riddles and never gives a straight answer.
But I guess that’s one more book I cleaned off my TBR list this year, even though I will not be continuing with the series.