Top critical review
Very Strong Start But Really Weak Finish.
Reviewed in the United States on August 3, 2021
First let me say I am a big fan of dystopian fiction, particularly of the post apocalyptic variety. The Stand, The Passage, The Road, and similar, are all near the top of my list for this genre. I really like an epic struggle across significant time (or distance) with a good mix of characters. From the description of this book, I thought it was up that alley. In the end it really wasn't.
First the positives, the protagonist is very unique and not stereotypical at all. His internal dialogue was really outstanding with some really great humor woven into it. I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of the book. It really was superb and loved the character the author had created. He's also been through a lot and is struggling. I felt an affinity for him very quickly, but he's not a personality that wants pity and you feel that right away too. Unfortunately that was where outstanding ended for me.
The epic journey/struggle I had envisioned based on the book's summary, ended up being confined to a few blocks of one subdivision. Seriously! Except for the final few hours of the crisis, the characters move between about four houses total during a three day existential crisis. Now society is still collapsing during these three days, but this journey around four homes in an affluent suburb is not exactly The Stand.
In the end, what is initially presented as a supernatural Armageddon is suddenly revealed to be aliens instead. The story devolves into a violent, overly gory, unsuspenseful final battle during which a second alien race swoops in and saves the day (with really no explanation where they came from or why and only the suggestion of their possible role in the whole conflict). Bang! The day is saved. It really felt like cheating, and given the books really good character and start, it really was. I was disappointed with the book's conclusion but not upset. But then the Epilogue was so silly and flip I actually became mildly annoyed. During the epilogue, I felt like I'd accidentally picked up a Harry Potter novel by accident. My review would be two stars if not for the really entertaining and unique protagonist.