In a steel-and-lead-encased bunker 20 feet below the basement level of his house, a soldier waits for his final orders. On the surface, a plague ravages the planet, infecting over 90% of the populace. The bacterium burrows through the brain, destroying all signs of humanity and leaving behind little more than base, prehistoric instincts. The infected turn into hyper-aggressive predators, with an insatiable desire to kill and feed. Someday soon, the soldier will have to open the hatch to his bunker, and step out into this new wasteland, to complete his mission: Subvenire refectus. To rescue and rebuild.
Author: D. J. Molles
Publisher: Audible Studios
Narrator: Christian Rummel
Audio Release Date: 27/08/2013
Running Time: 8hrs 39mins
Genre: Science Fiction/Post-Apocalytipc
Series: The Remaining #1
My Rating of ‘The Remaining’: 3 out of 5
As far as post-apocalyptic virus/zombie-style books go, this is a good, fun example but I felt it was missing a few things to make it overly solid.
The way the whole thing was built up was a very believable, plausible way of how something like this might happen and how certain responses might be taken. It felt like it was built from the ground up incredibly well, it just had a few issues character-wise for me.
The main character, Cpt Lee Harden, spends a good deal of time telling you he’s in the military and how important rules, regulations and following orders are. Which is why I instantly felt disconnected from him when he immediately starts going against the orders he was given because he got impatient. He was supposedly picked for the duty he was given for his skills/composure/level-headedness etc … but instantly decided that such things as obeying the chain of command was something that happened to other people. In fact, every part of the book with him in it happened because he didn’t follow orders. Sure, it would have happened if he had, so there seemed no reason for the author to make him go against everything his military training would have drilled him into him. Could have just let the allotted time elapse rather than convincing himself that he wasn’t being all rule-breaky.
The characters he meets also don’t feel like they have any appreciation of what’s going on beyond how it’s affecting them. I’d get that if, like Lee, they had JUST been subjected to it. But they’d been living in the conditions for longer than he had. So the whole feeling of constant shock rather than getting on with what as happening just didn’t feel wholly real to me.
The pacing of the novel is good. It never goes too fast or too slow. The parts in-between action sequences are filled with interesting titbits on what’s going on and how survival might be achieved. The characters he meets, if you put aside my slight negative about them in the previous paragraph aren’t bad, but I feel the group as a whole is too open to danger. It would work well in a tv setting, but in book form where the action is seen through Lee’s POV alone, it just doesn’t hit the sweet spot for me.
The descriptions of the action are pretty damn good. Very vivid, engaging and they really keep you invested in what’s going on then and there. Sadly, just as I was getting invested, it ended somewhat out of nowhere. It felt like a door had been slammed in my face rather than a gradual end that was led up to. I know that there are several more books in this series, but felt the ending just could have been a bit more of a smooth transition rather than the ‘that’s it’ that we got.
This has been given rave reviews that make mine seem like somewhat of a minority, so chances are those of you reading this review may read this book and be blown away by it. I just wasn’t one of those people. Whether it’s the book, or just that I have read so many other books in this genre and The Remaining just can’t quite reach the heights of their greatness, I can’t say. All I can say is that it felt like a good effort, but nothing to knock my socks off.