Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Review of A Departure by Tom Ward

A Departure by Tom Ward – 4 stars

I wasn’t sure where the book was going at the beginning since it seemed a bit slow, but the ending came abruptly and quite shocked me, though it shouldn’t have!  However, the ending does leave plenty of opportunity for a follow up book which may give more explanation of what may have ‘caused’ the apocalyptic incident and why some humans are exempt from the initial effects. Many questions arose during the reading which were not answered for me. What is not doubted is the effect that such a disaster has on the survivors in the novel and how one would have to cope to continue to be a survivor. Michael is intrinsically a nice lad who has to make some unpalatable decisions along the way. I think Tom Ward shows that you don’t need to be a tough guy to be the all encompassing hero: in many ways, Michael’s naïve nature remains intact regardless of his somewhat unexpected new maturity surge.

When surrounded by such mayhem and distress, having a focus - as Michael and Zanna do at the end - seems almost believable. There is a cast of interesting characters in the novel and sufficient clues to easily guess at what might happen to some of them. The writing style draws the reader into their personalities- distorted as they are by the circumstances they find themselves in, and in part by their own natures. It’s not a happy read; optimistic aspects are not generally plentiful in dystopian novels, but it is an interesting read.

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