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The Scourge (Brilliant Darkness Book 1) Kindle Edition
|Length: 223 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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Our heroine is a water bearer. She is blind and this offers her protection from the hordes who swarm around her. She must collect water for her community as they hide in the caves, safe from the Scoiurge who do not like the darkness and enclosed space. A strong bond develops between her and the young tree dwelling man who protects her, firing arrows at those scourge who endanger her.
There has long been a rumour that deep within the caves water can be found. Naturally, our heroine volunteers to find it and is surprised to be joined by another is her quest. This exploration leads to discoveries and further knowledge of the Scourge and the origins of the apocalpse.
A thoughful well paced novel, imaginative and full of believable characters and situations. I was drawn in to the story immediately.
The Scourge is set in a dystopian future (The US I presume, it doesn't really say, but mentions pumas). The population has split into Groundlings and Lofties (those that live on the ground and the trees), their survival is interlinked but neither likes, nor trusts each other. Fennel (yes, like the plant, odd names abundant here) is sightless (blind) and is due to become the villages water bearer, taking over from her foster mother, Aloe. The sightless are chosen for this task as they are the only one immune to the `scourge' (aka. Zombies), the lofties provide a keeper for the water bearer, to ensure safe travel and together they are key to the survival of the village. But when tensions between the two groups become unbearable, and the village are on the verge of a war, Fennel is sent in search of a mystical water source, alone. What Fennel discovers changes everything, but what can one, blind, girl do to stop a war?
If you think this is a zombie novel ala `Ashes' your wrong, its a novel about judgement, prejudice, dishonesty, trust, friendship and love, and yes, zombies. Except not. I can't really explain the zombies without giving away the whole point of the story, so just listen when I say its not about zombies, they are a side-issue to the plot.
I loved the book, obviously. There were obvious twists, and some I just didn't see coming, action galore but some perfect quite moments. The realistic heartfelt relationships between Fennel and her family, friends and keeper were the heart of the novel, the setting could change and it would be a brilliant novel still.
Fennel is a bit wet to start with, but I warmed up to her during the novel, she seemed to develop naturally, no sudden burst of greatness here - just your usual teenage girl growing up as she discovers the world is not what she thought. Don't expect Katniss or Tris here, Fen is her own girl and rightly so! Her blindness doesn't make her a superhero, but nor does it make her a victim, she has learnt to accept it, in the way only someone thats been blind for life can, and during the book she has to learn when to ask for help, and when she can do it herself. The supporting cast were well written, but barring Peregrin (see told you, fun names), the depth of some of the characters is lacking, so much more could be done with Aloe, Adder and Shrike - I didn't feel love, hate or anything for them. Equally the village tensions are quite sudden for the reader, a bit of back ground of why they are set up like that would be good at the beginning (we find out more as we go along), the book wasn't very long so there was plenty of space for more background and depth to the world and the cast. We don't need an explanation as to how the world fell, but a history of the village and inter-relations would be better - were they always at war? did distrust grow in time?
Over all a great, fun book and I can't wait to read book 2 (its on the kindle waiting), a true indie gem and I feel privileged to have read it before the hype started, because hype will start and it WILL become a best seller, I'm sure of it.
**ARC/egalley provided by author and publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Going into it, I knew it was post-apocalyptic, but I didn’t quite realized it was a zombie novel, but that didn’t bother me at all. The way A.G. Henley approaches this cliched topic is so fresh and new that I really wanted to know more. I really liked the concepts in this world and found myself wrapped up in this book.
As a character, I enjoyed Fennel. She wasn’t perfect, but she learned to be strong. I have never read a book from a blind person’s perspective before and I really loved it. Having a family member that is blind, I felt like I could relate to this book and Fenn more. The only problem I had with Fennel’s blindness is that it wasn’t made clear that she could see changes in the lighting around her. From the beginning of the book, I thought she was totally blind and it really irritated me that she would talk about it getting darker or lighter. Once I realized she wasn’t one hundred percent blind, I finally stopped feeling like A.G. Henley was making mistakes in her writing.
Peree was a great guy and I really rooted for him and Fenn. I did find him a bit clingy at some parts in the book, but later his behavior makes more sense when the reader realizes Peree has watched Fenn for years (not in a creepy way). I really loved finding out his back-story and seeing some later events unfold that really challenge him.
I really loved the twists and turns of this book. So many times, A.G. Henley threw in things that completely twisted the story into a different direction and it was a very fun ride. The ending was very satisfying and even though this is part of a series, there luckily wasn’t a cliffhanger ending like so many series have. Overall, I really enjoyed this book.
What I loved:
-Fenn is a great character, and being blind meant that the author had to really step up on other sense descriptions. Done with perfection!
-The tribal communities theme was well developed. I liked two tribes that begrudgingly work together but remain separate. It is true to human form.
-Fenn's growth over the story. I felt as though I really got a good grasp of how Fenn was changing and becoming stronger.
-Adventure! As Fenn embarks on her adventure I found myself highly tied to her success.
What I didn't love so much:
-Peree felt a bit stuccato to me. He begins as this silent massive presence, but in an instant is open and warm and loving. It was almost like his introduction was a completely separate character from the one Fenn has as a keeper. I think I liked the strong silent version more than the one he became.
-The attraction and relationship between Fenn and Peree definitely has me rooting for them, however, it doesn't feel like there is anything keeping them apart through most of the book so I don't understand why it takes them so long.
-I don't want to include spoilers but I really started to lose my interest when some of the bigger facts about the Scourge are revealed. I almost felt like the explaination I got was...well kind of silly. After about 70% of the book I started to lose interest in the plot line...though not in the characters I must admit. I just don't see where the big reveal was going.
All in all, I would give it 3.5 stars. I think this is a matter of personal preference. I recommend reading it. You may not have the same instant detachment I did.
This is a great and unique story. I find so many stories now that seem just like others I’ve read. Henley however gives us a fresh new story to fall in love with. There are surprises with many twist and turns. I had a hard time putting it down. Way to go A.G. Henley this story is spectacular. I would recommend to story to anyone looking for a fresh new prospective. I would also recommend reading book 2, The Defiance.