A big tale...,
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This review is from: Swan Song (Kindle Edition)
Swan Song is an epic. It starts in America, just before a nuclear holocaust decimates the world, and tracks the course of five survivors (one of whom isn't really a survivor... or human) over the following decade.
There's a decidedly biblical skew to the novel: good versus evil is a major theme and a lot of biblical names are used. However, even as an atheist, at no point did I feel that religion was being rammed down my throat.
With such a long novel (900 pages), there's a chance to really develop the characters. And there's nothing like a massively destructive, chaotic event (say, a nuclear war) to really stress your cast and see who bends in the wind and who snaps completely. One thing that I'd gently criticise is the lack of inner conflict in the characters - they are pretty much "all evil" or "all good" from the off, and the conflict is exclusively between them rather then with themselves. That's not a major criticism - I just thought that, during something as mad as a nuclear war, you might do some stuff you weren't very proud of - when you had time to reflect.
For me the ending was a little flat and a couple of things didn't get concluded satisfactorily - I couldn't really go into more detail without spoilers, so I won't. There's also some obvious inconsistencies dotted around (e.g. when everyone is starving...why aren't the predators they kill immediately diced and put into the pot?). Having said that, none of these gripes stopped the novel delivering a thoroughly good story.
Just a warning: there were some really horrible scenes as you'd expect given the subject matter. In Mr McCammon's post-apocalyptia, the human race certainly isn't a shining beacon of morality.
On the whole it was a really enjoyable read, spanning a good cast of well developed characters and a long period of time. If you like this sort of material then I'd definitely recommend you give it a go.