This is a world built on rebellion, the fight for survival and silence. Friendships can be fiercer than family ties and prejudice against foreigners runs deep. It’s a dying world built on the bones of an earlier civilization, an earth bereft of the ancestors who came before the current survivors. Monstrous Ghosts, formerly humans twisted into Wendigo-like beasts, stalk the land and only crews of Strikers and Shields hold them back.
This is a post-apocalyptic world, one rife with enormous wealth and bottomless poverty. However, the poor are given a chance to rise if they are clever, scrappy, hard-working and lucky. Talin’s femaleness has nothing to do with her risen status since female Strikers are common. She’s not a token Strong Female Protagonist; she’s simply someone doing what she must to survive and she’s glad to be part of a culture that allows her participation in a glorious cause.
She and the others around her are powerfully written characters. Although some come off as shallow because of their narrow-minded prejudice, this is just the first few chapters. Characters that feature more prominently in the storyline will acquire layers as the story progresses, no doubt.
Ms. Lu has crafted a dazzling worldscape, albeit one with questions. Who were the ancestors? Were they current-day 21st-century humans? What happened to destroy the world? Did the ancestors die out or abandon the world to travel the stars? Why did they leave behind trash heaps of materials that people like Talin fight to acquire to make tools, utensils and weapons?
The story teases while immersing us in Talin’s daily fight for survival along with her fellow Strikers. I find myself intrigued and eager to learn more of her and her world. This novel promises to be a fantastic blend of science fiction and fantasy, making it a must-read for fans of both genres.