Thursday, May 14, 2015

THE DEAD LANDS by Benjamin Percy

One can hear why Stephen King loved THE DEAD LANDS. Benjamin Percy has a command of language, avoids cliches, and brings to bear a unique apocalyptic vision, turning the book into a kind of Lewis & Clark expedition away from "Sanctuary" to restore sanity to a blasted landscape of alternate reality. In some ways it reminded me of Station Eleven by Emily Mandel, for its new twist and commentary of what we are doing to ourselves (and can’t seem to stop.) There are no zombies involved, which is nice too. And different. Giant spiders, though, and magic (and/or technology that seems like magic.) Like King, Percy first establishes and then involves the characters in ways that are true to them, riddled as they are with flaws and quirks. Holter Graham as narrator disappears behind the words, told with an attention to pacing and tone. If you just have to have zombies and a predictable ending that follows the formula of most Hollywood scripts, you’ll be disappointed. But if “different” is a plus in your column of desires, and you have the patience for an evolving story, this may be your cup of scary, guilty, but delicious turtle soup. 

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