Getting a new book is always a great feeling – one last experienced in May – but to get a free book is better. Especially when the author has sent you a copy of her debut novel and asked you to do a review. Which is always a rare but utterly humbling honour and one I greedily clutched with both hands and a foot, as you can imagine.
The scenario: The Taliban have launched an attack and completely decimated cities and military installations across both coasts of America. The survivors must now attempt, not only to seek safety but also contend with the terrorist invasion, biker gangs and some mysterious dreams…
This is a very brief outline of the plot but there are lots more narrative threads going on in this slick debut novel. The previous sentence would have surprised me when I first received the book, which at first glance weighing in at only 161 pages, seemed a little on the short side. I was pleasantly surprised however, at finding a lot more depth than I had imagined, there really is plenty to keep you entertained and the novel moves along at a good pace.
There is no build up to begin with, we are thrown straight into the action and gradually learn about the characters and their back stories – which intertwine neatly with the present – throughout,, . Although this is billed as Lena’s story, there are a whole host of other main character Points of View that the author skips to adding variety and depth to her story, teasing us with hints of the bigger picture as regarding how bad the attack is and the state of the nation.
Fans of books like The Stand and The Day of the Triffids will enjoy with ghoulish delight the apocalyptic nature of the imagined world but where those books fail is the one-nation-centric view of the world, whereas, mirroring our global age, Lena’s Story is very much a book of our time…
Franklin not only mentions the nature of the outside world and all that is happening but throws in a more intimate exploration of the characters, how they react to events, to each other, to the lawlessness and overall threat factor. Including an interesting take on getting back to basics with religion, politics and wealth, a more free from corruption society etc.
Not to mention some wonderfully teasing aspects for future storylines, in fact the open-ended nature of the overarching storyline, makes it difficult to see where things would go in the long-term but throw up plenty of short-term ideas for the reader to muse upon..at least until Part Two appears.
Due to its short nature the book can be read in a single sitting and is one of those novels that make it a pleasure to do so. Whilst setting the scene it leaves lots of unanswered questions and things to ponder upon and really does lay down the foundation for a strong story, it has tension and there are many storylines and promises of epic encounters to come. The beauty of this book is that it is ready to catapult you into what could be a pretty epic saga. With a wealth of ideas that can bring in many different facets to the narrative, this is essentially an open-ended story….and it will be interesting to see where the author goes from here. I await Part Two with interest.
Here are those Amazon links if you fancy a gander: