What a lovely, lovely way to start the morning. It makes me ridiculously happy to know that there are people out there connecting with the characters in these stories.
“I am and have always been a huge fan of post-apocalyptic dystopian fiction. I love the different ways in which writers can dispense mass destruction and then take you on a journey of how they imagine rebuilding. I love getting into their heads and discovering how they see the world and the human condition. So I tucked into this book, eager to lose myself in yet another disaster and see what came next.
To sum up the complicated beginning, picture the solar storm of 1859 meets present day infrastructure. This is the Flare. Shock and awe precede inevitable chaos and anarchy, but enough order remains to get a handle on the riots and get a good start on getting the world back on the grid. But then comes the Plague; a disease with communicability AND mortality rates of nearly 100% that wipes out life and hope on a global scale. Those that don’t die only live to endure a different kind of hell. Because all that remains is a desolate shadow of what was once the world as we know it. And to make it in this new world, one must have exactly the right amount of luck, skill, determination, and humanity. Commune Book One begins the story of a few such people and how they found one another.
So, what do you do as a reader? You prepare yourself for a tale in which almost nothing and no one are what they seem. You try to avoid becoming too attached to any of the characters, but you bond to some of them anyway and you hope that they don’t ultimately betray you. You know that not every character you grow to care about is going to make it, and you hope that they don’t suffer too greatly. You know that several characters will turn out to be vile, deplorable psychopaths, and you hope that they will get some level of a comeuppance. All you can do is go along for the ride, never knowing when and where the next “Oh sh!t” moment will jump out at you, and continuing to hope against hope. Because this story delivers the bottom line right up front: no deux ex machina is coming. At all. These characters are not going over, under, or around, they are going straight through and fairness no longer exists.
The largest part of my enjoyment of any fiction is the character development. This probably explains why I enjoy dystopian stories so much. No matter what kind of cataclysm has struck, the real story lies in the characters, what they do to survive, and who they become as a result. To that end, I particularly admire Mr. Gayou’s integrity in creating his characters. Each has their own individual identity and unique voice, but despite his obvious investment in these characters, Mr. Gayou throws no bones. As the story unfolds, no one is spared hunger, violence, or terror. No one gets a free ride. Yet it is this authenticity that will likely make this story a difficult read for some. The reader gets no sense of safety, just a moment here and there to catch your breath (and maybe have a laugh) before the next shoe drops. While I read, I bounced from feeling thirsty, anxious, incensed, tired, sorrowful, and back again. But I also felt invigorated and keen to know what was going to happen, even if I wasn’t going to be happy about it. If you can handle all of that, you will enjoy this book as I did.
Now on to Book Two!”