Wild Wastes Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Before World War II could reach its conclusion, the world suffered what could only be defined as a cataclysm.
Legend has it that an experiment failed. Catastrophically so. And when it failed, the center of the United States, from the Sierra Nevada to the Mississippi river, became "The Waste", where everything changed.
In The Waste, every fantasy creature, fairytale demon, or mythological monster exists. From orcs, to neriads, ogres, trolls, wraiths, elves, harpies, and even beastmen. They all exist, and all despise humankind.
In the ruins of the west and east coasts, new governments have arisen. With new jobs.
Vince is a Ranger, a profession whose sole job duty is surviving in the waste, and taking missions from the Ranger Guild. Be it courier services, escorts, or simply exploring tombs and cities.
Taking up an escort mission, Vince encounters a situation that will shape his life forever onward.
As well as the lives of everyone in North America.
Warning: This novel contains adult themes and moral ambiguities. The main character is written as a real person in an apocalypse, and will not make choices that line up with society and cultural norms.
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|Listening Length||10 hours and 32 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||July 24, 2017|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #7,759 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#90 in Contemporary Fantasy
#141 in Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#218 in Paranormal Fantasy
Top reviews from the United States
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I started reading WW-1 back when it came out in 2017. Daren/Arand was already on my list as an author to watch for. While I like how his different series play off each other, it is a bit frustrating keeping the different worlds (story lines & characters) straight.
Another frustration for me is the time between Wild Wastes #3 and #4. I had to go back and re-read 1, 2, and 3. There’s a huge jump between 3 & 4 that is handled in his Super Sales on Super Heros series. Another good read, BTW.
The foundation for the different series is created in his OTHERLIFE books. It might help to read those first.
Anyway - solid THUMBS UP on Wild Wastes, the series, and the other books by Arand / Darren.
(same guy if you were wondering)
I'm trying not to be too harsh on author Randi Darren here because some of my disappointment with the novel thus far is the result of my own misunderstanding of the book's description at the top of the product page. Realizing that this is an issue, I've given what I've read thus far 4 stars.
This book reads like some of the older "pulp" sci-fi/fantasy stories, where the author puts *some* work into world-building, but a lot is hand-waved away and at least some depends on the previously-held assumptions of the reader. For instance, while he gives descriptions of Orcs, they follow closely with other, standard depictions of Orcs. This particular depiction is close to The Elder Scrolls, having Orcs be a patriarchal, tribal society with a semi-gladiatorial mating strategy (other males besides the chief can have wives in this version).
Mr. Darren has firearms falling out of favor compared to more medieval weaponry due to a decline in ammunition production following the catastrophe - this is only believable if most of our chemists and chemistry equipment were also lost during the apocalypse (especially if you consider that black powder firearms have been around since at least the 13th century), but it lets him set the stage the way he wants it and it's semi-believable.
*The story is good thus far, and its worth a read if this is the sort of thing you're into*.
I suppose my only real point of contention thus far is the near-4th-wall-breaking moment right where I'm at where his protagonist Vince takes a standard 2nd Wave feminist position about the equality of the sexes. *This happens while Orc society is being explained to the reader*, and he specifically describes the Orcs has having a "Backwards society" on these grounds. And then it goes into 3rd Wave feminism with this line "Orc men want strong wives. Though not as strong as them" to explain why his she-Orc companion left her tribe.
It's blatant enough that it comes across as a sort of boilerplate that Mr. Darren added to fend off accusations of retrograde "toxic masculinity" for writing a story about a straight white English-speaking man who gathers a harem of female monsters for himself. I don't think I need to explain the crazy reaction that part of the story would get if Mr. Darren ever got any media attention for his work.
If it is just boilerplate, I can deal - people who think like that are, of course, insane, but they do exist.
Continuing with my critique: it's specifically stated that she in particular was stronger than the men in her tribe, but the whole description seems to imply that Orc women *in general* are approximately as strong as Orc men. Which makes no sense at all, given what we're told of Orc society. If they were approximately equal, then the Orcs would have a more egalitarian arrangement - and would be more likely to pair-bond rather than having harems. They also wouldn't have exclusively male leaders.
The harem arrangement only makes sense if the average male Orc is *significantly* stronger and more aggressive than his wives are.
EDIT: Let me make something clear: he can write his characters however he wants. And as this is a fantasy setting and Orcs don't really exist, it's entirely possible to have them be less dimorphic than humans are in this way. My point is that this scene and explanation doesn't mesh, and the intrusion of feminism feels horribly out of place.
The other point of annoyance that I have thus far is much more minor: while it's certainly possible that Vince's she-Orc companion would respond positively to affectionate treatment from him, it's not obvious *why*. Her culture, as explained to the reader, would tend to suggest that she wants her man to be *strong* more than kind or affectionate. Apparently she sees him as a strong *warrior*, but she is very much stronger than he is.
Still, it's a very minor point of contention - I probably wouldn't have noticed except for the previous issue.
*To the author: I had supposed that your description of "will not make choices that line up with society and cultural norms" implied a more non-PC story than you wrote. Hence my irritation.*
Top reviews from other countries
According to the description this is supposed to be a post-apocalyptic story where an apocalypse during WW2 causes fantasy creatures to appear.
However when you read though the story the post-apocalyptic elements of the story are so under-utilised that it might as well take place in an original fantasy setting. Guns are hand-waved away with "bullets are too expensive," apparently in 100 years no one has figured out how to make bullets. A Ballistae with gears and levers is labelled as ingenious despite it taking place in a setting were people used to make guns, tanks and planes.
Apparently humanity is content with sticking with medieval weapons supplemented with an ageing stock of guns (also with declining ammo reserves) despite living next to a hostile wasteland.
There is no references to the america that was. I'm not asking for a comprehensive guide to how culture evolved after the apocalypse but wouldn't there be some connection to the past? This goes back to the point that this might as well be a generic fantasy story
Now the worldbuilding is out of the way.
There is just no tension to this story. After a while I realised that our main character is one of those characters that manages to succeed in everything that he does. There are no complications to his plans. And everyone (who is not a villan) loves him.
Two words for that.... Gary Stu.
Lets give an example where there is no tension.
Near the end of the book Vince decides to build a kingdom with freed slaves. However it turns out that there is a human army coming to destroy his fledgling kingdom. So this should be a tense moment right?
However as the battle unfurls, it becomes clear that all the odds are heavily stacked in Vince's flavor. This settlement has walls, towers with siege equipment built into them, (all this in place within only two months) all his militia are armed and armoured to the teeth combined with the army scale spells that the main character flings out thanks to the magic tree's implanted in him sucks all the tension out. Even with one of the harem members getting critically injured in battle did nothing to raise the stakes (she gets healed in the same scene anyway).
It doesn't help that there are neither any villains to generate conflict nor are there any obstacles for him to overcome.
Of course the sex is.... well.... its passable. Although the big sex scene before the big fight near the end of the book is extremely drawn out with Vince having sex with his harem one at a time and using his psychic abilities to spread his feelings around.
Don't bother getting this. This reads like one of those bad japanese isekai Web-novels.
I then came across this! I have to say, I was not expecting to run into a erotic fantasy that took time to build up characters, building up the world and having a interesting situation that led to the main character ending up with a Harem (completely consensual) and I'm already into the second book.
The only nit-picks are have are these:
1. I highly doubt no one would be able to obtain firearms anymore. Especially in america where there would be thousands of manufacturing tools for such things available. Hell, look at post-apocalyptic situations like Fallout, Mad Max and others and they have discovered the ways to rebuild ammo.
That's about all I can really think of to be honest, the book at me stuck on the edge, turning page after page and wondering what was going to happen next and what the next erotic scene may contain with the interesting and varied characters here.
If you're after a Harem story to read, I highly recommend this one. None of the others I've read so far have compared if you want something that simulates your mind as well as your nether regions.
Stupid story line gave up after 30% even free its hard to get involved with childish plot.