Swan Song by Robert McCammon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Maybe if I'd have read this one before I had read The Stand or Lucifer's Hammer, I might have given this a full five stars, but epic length and nuclear holocaust doesn't automatically make a perfect book.
However. If you like your dystopias full of a long buildup and full cast and a slow decline into being in the evil camp versus learning you're in the good camp, then I totally recommend this book to you. It's the journey more than anything else that makes this a good read.
And then there's also the cool tarot themes and actual inclusion of the tarot reads (and other twists) as well as a whole Christian metaphor springing up all over the place, including the horsemen of the apocalypse and even a huge dose of the resurrection of life, so we've got a pretty cool collection of fantastical elements. Especially Swan, herself, who's definitely magical. :) She's the Greater Mystery, after all, the renewal, the restoration of life. It's kinda sweet.
My main problem with this post-nuclear wasteland, however, is one that's been explored so very well in practically every other writer or game designer, (Thank you, Fallout) about the availability of food. Aside from a few big nods to farming, later on, I'd have thought that the acquisition of food might have taken on a bit more of a deadly turn. As it was, all these strangers sharing meals kicked me out of the book.
This is no The Road. It's Road lite. With a TON of people and PoVs. And a much heavier dose of magic over the realism. :)
And yet, it was quite enjoyable and it's long enough to satisfy anyone's craving for an immersive post-apocalyptic wasteland. :) Horror writers always make the most interesting SFs, imho. :)
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