This book was sent to me on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
25.05.21 / Post Apocalyptic Thriller / John Joseph Adams / Paperback / 384pp / 978-0358418948
About The Apocalypse Seven
For fans of The Wanderers by Chuck Wendig comes an apocalypse story like no other. Seven strangers wake to find they are the only humans left alive. But they are not alone.
From a teenage delinquent to an MIT scientist, seven strangers with little in common wake one morning outside of Boston to discover they are the last humans alive. First they slowly find their way together across a wildly overgrown Massachusetts, tangling with packs of wild pigs and coywolves, with little food or information. As they try to build a new community with limited resources, all the while wondering how they slept through the end of the world, they begin to feel that something is stalking them . . .
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The Apocalypse Seven Review
Apocalypse and end-of-the-world stories are more common than ever these days to the point of oversaturation. It’s easy to see why. They offer nuanced, speculative fiction that allows the reader to get lost in a ‘what if?’ scenario of their choosing. I have read so many tales about the ending of days yet each time I see another I can’t seem to resist just one more. Some are not as great as they could be but there are plenty of gems out there if you give them a chance.
The Apocalypse Seven is a shining light in a new wave of stories about the end of humanity’s existence on earth. A fascinating, endearing and accessible perspective on the extinction of human life and the lucky few (depending on your idea of lucky) who live long enough to experience the aftermath. I had a great time with this novel, especially due to its cast and setting, and it really reinvigorated the genre as a whole for me. As I said before, an apocalyptic tale can have so much nuance if done right and that is very clear in The Apocalypse Seven. Gene Doucette has balanced a brilliant cast with an intriguing plot set in a captivating post-apocalyptic Massachusetts.
Harvard student Robbie awakens to a world that doesn’t make any sense. Apart from Carol, another student Robbie discovers in distress as her seeing eye dog Burton is missing, everyone else appears to have disappeared. The streets and buildings are completely abandoned. Nature has resurged in humanity’s apparent absence and the city is filled with wild life, both harmless and very dangerous. Robbie and Carol, on their initial foray into an abandoned Cambridge, meet Touré, who seems both concerned and excited by this crazy turn of events, and young Bethany also trying to figure out the disappearance of her family as well humanity as a whole. They band together and focus on their immediate survival because, other than an unusual supplement bar call Noot, food, warmth and safety are in short supply.
Pastor Paul didn’t know anything was wrong until Sunday came. The lack of an appearance by his congregation was unheard of and started the alarm bells ringing. Exploring his garage and the neighbour’s house Paul comes to three conclusions. (1) No electronics work including his trucks battery, (2) His well kept armoury is required for survival and (3) Rapture has happened and everyone is gone. Eventually getting a radio to work connects him to Ananda, who’s hiding out in MIT, in Cambridge. Win only came home to see her mother, who sounded lonely on the phone. Now her whole life is gone. Win wanted the city life after being raised on a farm but she knows in her bones that nature is her best friend. Finding Elton, a horse that doesn’t know he’s a horse, and heading to the city puts her in a course to find the last six people left on earth.
Together they are the Apocalypse Seven (self titled) and they some how missed out on the end of the world. A significant amount of time has past but none of them know exactly how much they’ve lost. The only unusual occurrence they can pinpoint are shimmering lights that stalk them at a distance taking humanoid form but they ultimately seem harmless. Everyone wants answers to what happened in the apocalypse but what they find is truly unbelievable and forces them to question everything they knew about the world, all while do their damnedest to live through it. The Apocalypse Seven is an exciting and engaging story about the power of nature, the weight of ideas we can’t comprehend (yet) and the many faculties the human mind is capable of when faced with extreme circumstances.
As I said before, I enjoyed the plot. It was both entertaining and satisfying due to its easy to follow and expertly paced story beats. With plenty of cool science fiction touches to bring the whole story together. The narrative was not too light but not so dark and intense it could be considered horrific. The multiple viewpoint structure was well blended and really emphasized what each character was experiencing.
Though both the cast and setting made this book for me. The characters are very archetypal which could be construed as cliché or tropey (if that is a word), though I found them all very inspired. Paul is a man of god, but also not scared of a fight. Robbie is the unwilling leader who everyone naturally looks to. Carol is a thoughtful, peaceful person who is accepting of the hand she was dealt in life. Bethany is a kid who wants to be treated like anything but one. Touré is a role-playing gamer nerd. Ananda is an eccentric scientist. Win is a gifted archer in touch with nature, more comfortable around animals than humans. But they work so well in a team dynamic. Protecting, arguing and relying on each other. I was kind if hoping this might be a trilogy so I can continue to read about their story arcs. I don’t have a favourite because they all brought something to the mix and it felt good to see them all react to and interact with the world around them.
I also loved the setting. A historic town that is overtaken by nature. A town that symbolizes the future of our species that succumbed to how earth used to be in an age before humans dominated. I thought the time spent in this version of Cambridge was fantastic and I hope I get to return there again. Gene Douchette really delivered on his idea of an post-apocalyptic survival adventure and I can’t wait for other people to read it so I can talk about it more. Even if you’re getting tired of the end of the world, give The Apocalypse Seven a go because it’s well thought out, populated with memorable characters and it sits perfectly between dramatic and not taking itself too seriously which makes it a satisfying tale for a wide audience.
About Gene Doucette
GENE DOUCETTE is the author of more than twenty sci-fi and fantasy titles, including The Spaceship Next Door and The Frequency of Aliens, the Immortal series, Fixer and Fixer Redux, Unfiction, and the Tandemstar books. Gene lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.