Review: Monster of the Apocalypse, by C. Henry Martens
Monster of the Apocalypse follows a teenage brother and sister as they make their way across a desolate landscape years after the population has been drastically reduced by plague. On their own since their father died, Deo and Lecti have learned how to survive. They know how to scavenge for food, and they know their way around a gun. The latter is imperative when trusting the wrong person has become a matter of life and death, especially when nearly everyone is the ‘wrong person’.
The monsters of this apocalypse are not zombies or mutants. They’re people.
This is a dark story filled with the frightening truths of what it would take to live in such a grim, desperate world. What risks would we abide to secure our next meal? What might we become after enduring a harsh, lawless environment day after day? How far would we devolve as a race? What would we be driven to in hopes of protecting those we love?
The author did a great job painting his vision of the end of life as we know it. I particularly liked how the label of ‘monster’ could be worn by multiple characters. More than once I found myself wondering exactly which character the author truly intended to wear it. I was less enchanted with the narratives that were interjected to detail life before the plague. Though most were interesting, I felt they were occasionally too lengthy for my taste, and slowed down the plot, taking up space that could have been used to dive deeper into the characters. This is more of a personal preference rather than a criticism. But it did contribute to the sense of being a spectator. I often felt like I was watching events unfold, instead of being swept up in the action or emotions.
Monster of the Apocalypse is a thought provoking read. The writing is solid. The chilling plot is, at times, a little too plausible for comfort. It’s unsettling, and that’s the strength of the story. I would recommend this for all fans of apocalyptic fiction.