Tag Archives: dystopian

Colony East: The Toucan Trilogy Book 2 by Scott Cramer #Review

In November of last year I was offered the chance to read and review the first book in this series, Night of the Purple Moon. I loved it. So I was excited to be offered the chance to read and review the second book a couple of weeks ago.

Scott Cramer has delivered a fantastic and moving sequel to that first book.

If you haven’t read the first book (go read it – now!) you can read my review here which will give you the background.

Colony East picks up almost exactly where we left off. Abby and Jordan have gone to get the pills that will save their lives and must journey back to the island to deliver them. Again the incredibly stark contrasts between the choices that each child left alone makes are startling and thought provoking. Abby and Jordan do make it back to the island but the cost of that journey is hard to quantify.

We then fast forward a year. The pitifully few remaining adults are trying to “rebuild society” and have 3 small enclaves on the North American continent into which they have brought the few children they deem worthy. The rest of children are left to fend for themselves.There is also a new threat in threat in the form of a mutated form of the sickness that killed the adults.

Abby and Jordan are both almost 2 years older than when we first met them. They have both lost people they had grown to love and in the process done more growing up than I can personally fathom. Their younger sister, Toucan, has grown up as well and shows quite brilliantly the innate resilience of children. She and the other youngest survivors do not carry the heavy burden of memory and loss that the older children do. Instead they are learning to thrive and succeed in this new world.

Colony East actually refers to one of these adult developed enclaves. Some inspiration was obviously drawn from many of the dystopian worlds that have been created before – but it never feels derivative or like it is overtly copying any of them. The adults have a plan and quite naturally while intentions maybe good – execution and results are not.

Along with further exploring this devastated world from the children’s point of view, we also begin to see it from the view of the few adults left. The contrasts between the two are massive and telling. Cramer manages to comment on modern society and preconceptions while not feeling preachy in the least. An impressive feat all by itself. Managing to do this in a beautifully written and youth friendly novel is breathtaking.

I look forward immensely to the third in this series and hope to read more from this author.



I was provided a copy of this book for the purpose of review.





Review: Dawn’s End: Outworld Apocalypse by Bonnie Ferrante

Dawn's End: Outworld Apocalypse
Dawn’s End: Outworld Apocalypse by Bonnie Ferrante
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Dawn’s End and Outworld are connected by a single common denominator: Anastacia. Daughter of Nicole Newman – savior of Dawn’s End – and Alaric Morrel, Anastacia is considered what would be high royalty to its inhabitants. She and her family are forever welcome into Dawn’s End in the case she’d ever need to relocate.

Given the declining state of the Outworld due to extreme climate changes and the fallout caused by humans and their destructive behavior in the face of panic, uncertainty, and massive loss, Anastacia should really be looking into her relocation options.

She has a powerful ally within Dawn’s End, a longtime friend named Bedad. Through his love of science, and his love for Anastacia, he is an integral part in the struggle to save her, her family, and a handful of those she loves.

It’s a race against time and the elements, and challenges and roadblocks plague every turn. Will they reach Dawn’s End in time, and will Dawn’s End accept them all? Can the Outworld be saved in spite of itself?

Dawn’s End: Outworld Apocalypse is a light, fun read. I did not have the opportunity to read the first two books in this series, but I was able to read it alone without too much struggle. There is enough backstory peppered throughout to give a basic scaffolding to the reader. No doubt there exists a much richer, deeper understanding if the reader has actually read the first two books.

The apocalypse occurring in the Outworld is desperate and scary. I found the events a bit choppy, and perhaps that was the author’s intention, but the timeline of events in the book felt a bit warped. Much attention would be paid to a singular, seemingly-devastating event but then everything seemed to return to a slightly-altered status quo. I didn’t get the feeling that the characters’ worlds were shattering the way they “should” given the state of the world. Things remained mostly normal long after things should have flipped a complete 180.

I felt a few things were rushed while others were drawn out. Specifically, the devastation that took place within Dawn’s End regarding the children living there was a mere blip on the radar, while details about the Outworlders’ gardens were plentiful. I would have liked to have read more about the former, in greater detail that would have endeared me to their struggles. Similarly, the disbanding of the Council was abrupt, and I really longed for more information.

These criticisms aside, Dawn’s End: Outworld Apocalypse was a good read. I recommend it!

Disclaimer: I was provided this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

The Forever Contract – Avery Sawyer

This is a short novella in the burgeoning YA dystopian fiction genre.

There are some really good ideas here. The underlying main concept is fantastic. A world where you can choose to have your consciousness uploaded into a virtual world. Still being able to interact with those in the “real” world via computers screens is fascinating. The idea of watching those you know in their self-created virtual worlds. Even the reasoning behind why this is happening works – water shortages that cause wars, arid land that won’t support crops. Then throw in an undercurrent of suspicion. A few that don’t believe everything they are being told. The set up and the background are great.

Where this novella lets the reader down is in the execution.

Perhaps it is because the concept is too large to be contained in a novella, but the entire story feels rushed and lacking.

The bare bones are there but nothing is given depth or fleshed out. The main characters, Casey and James, are mere facades. They are not real people yet who encourage the reader to become attached. The potential is there.

Casey is a young woman about to make a huge life altering decision. Her boyfriend James is facing the same decision. But the entire tension between their differing views is played out in grade school type dialogue that is far too simplistic for what should be complex and deeply layered emotions.

The same happens in what should be climactic moments. They end up falling flat because the reader has not suspended that disbelief and embraced the world Sawyer is trying to create.

This disappointed me. I wanted more. If the time were taken to develop this into a full length series (if properly fleshed out I easily see 2 books just with what story is already there and a 3rd or even 4th book of what is hinted and left unanswered) it could be mesmerizing. I want to know what the secrets are. What caused the water wars? What is really going on in Chicago? What is the real purpose behind the uploads? What was James’ mom doing?

There is a lot of potential. But it cannot be recognized until the story, the world and most importantly the characters are fully realized. This means giving the depth and complexity they now lack.

 I was given a free copy of this novella to review. And while happy to have had the chance to glimpse what could be, I would not have purchased this in its current form.