Saturday, October 29, 2011

Vampire Apocalypse: Fallout review

     Vampire Apocalypse: Fallout is the third but hopefully not final Vampire Apocalypse novel. It is also the darkest in the series so far, ending not in a heroic triumph but in what I can say many readers will interpret as a downer ending.

     The name of the novel is also distinctly appropriate, reflecting not only radioactivity but also the aftermath of freedom fighter leader John Harris' activities. A major theme of the book is the repercussions from actions taken with the best of intentions.

    In a way, Fallout is the most political of the Vampire Apocalypse series so far (at least in my opinion). It is here that Harris gets to reflect on the breaking down of infrastructure and the dangers thereof. As bad as it is under the vampires, they kept people fed (even if mankind lived in filthy feeding camps).

     The book takes an interesting stand on nuclear power as well, not so much condemning it as condemning the older plants which haven't been updated. Finally, Fallout shows the effects fear-mongering, demonstrating the results of individuals seeking someone to blame during a time of crisis.

    What I really enjoyed is the war against the vampires being portrayed realistically (for whatever value of such may be when involving vampires). No matter how many battles Harris' group may win or how much sabotage they do--their enemies are simply numerous and well-supplied for his group to defeat alone.

     Harris' angst over this forms the bulk of the book's narrative. Harris continues to fight, even when denied by his fellow humans, but a major theme of the book seems to be personal heroism isn't enough. You need the support of your fellow human beings, people who are willing to stand with you to save the world.

    Derek Gunn has done an excellent job of also portraying the enemy side of war and its increasingly factious nature. My favorite of the factions (in a "love to hate them" sort of way) is the Thralls. William Carter, the Thrall leader, has used the chaos generated by Harris' group to increase his own position, much like many high ranking officials throughout history.

     Derek Gunn has really made something special in this villain, a man I believe to be the most loathsome character in his entire series. Whereas the vampires are expected to be baby-eating monsters, William Carter is effectively a human being who has adopted racist attitudes against his fellow humans. He's a rapist, mass murderer, and psychopath who I can't wait to see get his.

    I enjoy all of the new characters created in the series and appreciate the expanding cast of the Vampire Apocalyse series. World building is always a chore for an author but the varying perspectives of existing characters give an increasingly holistic view of just exactly how bad the situation has gotten in the world.

     While it's bad enough that we hear about children used as food sources and women as forced breeding, seeing the perspective of an actual victim is another matter entirely. I thank Derek, as a reader, for being willing to get that dark without being gratuitous.

    Fallout isn't my favorite of the Vampire Apocalypse series, being a dark set up for future novels down the line, but it's definitely a worthy entry in the series.


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