Hello, hello everyone!
It's that time again, and I have to say, I am REALLY excited about this week's Bookanista review!
Full disclosure: Susanne Winnacker, the author of THE OTHER LIFE, is a friend and one of my critique partners (though I didn't critique this manuscript specifically)
So...THE OTHER LIFE hasn't actually been released yet, but Susanne sent me a copy of the UK version, and I devoured it in a matter of days. It's an incredibly fast, tense read and I loved it!
Here's the cover and description for the UK version:
3 years, 1 month, 1 week and 6 days since I'd seen daylight. One-fifth of my life. 98,409,602 seconds since the heavy, steel door had fallen shut and sealed us off from the world.
Sherry has lived with her family in a sealed bunker since things went wrong up above. But when they run out of food, Sherry and her dad must venture outside. There they find a world of devastation, desolation...and the Weepers: savage, mutant killers.
When Sherry's dad is snatched, she joins forces with gorgeous but troubled Joshua - an Avenger, determined to destroy the Weepers. But can Sherry keep her family and Joshua safe, when his desire for vengeance threatens them all?
So, I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of post-apocalyptic stuff. And I haven't read much dystopian either. BUT. This book so, so works for me. I think it's because it's so rooted in the characters, especially Sherry...a strong and yet vulnerable main character with a distinctive voice. I related to her and rooted for her because she had the same kinds of thoughts I think *I* would have when faced with a similar circumstance (though she's got much more of a survival instinct than I do! I think I'd totally wuss out when faced with the devastation and danger she deals with). Sherry is a fantastic character and I love how rich her relationships with her family are. This isn't a book with absent parents...the story is as much about Sherry's relationship with her family as it is about the Weepers. Of course, her dad does figure into the plot...and because we've seen Sherry interact with her father and know how she feels about him, it's even more devastating when he's taken.
Other stuff I loved about this book
The incredible way Susanne builds the intensity. I actually couldn't read this book before bed because every time I opened it, I was on edge, afraid for Sherry and her family and Joshua. The tension builds seamlessly throughout, making you turn the pages faster and faster.
I also loved the early chapters, when Sherry is stuck in the bunker with her family. The claustrophobia, the boredom...the click-click of Sherry's grandmother's knitting needles...build build build goes that tension. Numbers figure prominently in the book...Sherry counting up the seconds and minutes and days between events...and it becomes this ticking clock of sorts. Totally got under my skin!
Each chapter begins with a short memory from Sherry's "life before"...these vignettes serve as windows into Sherry's character and her hopes and dreams...as well as building tension, yet again, by breaking into the rhythm of the present day story and delaying your gratification in finding out what happens next.
And ladies, there's romance all right, but NO love triangle! Watching Sherry and Joshua's relationship build is one of the joys of this story. They both are strong and brave...but also damaged and vulnerable, which forces them to interact and relate to one another in interesting ways.
This book isn't big on the science part of the fiction, but this didn't bother me as it had so many other strengths, and I was much too engaged in the tension and characters to care.
Check out Susanne's blog for awesome news about the UK release...and a certain young man's diary entries. ;-)
THE OTHER LIFE is an intense, wonderful read and I highly recommend that you check in out!
In the UK, you can pick up your copy NEXT WEEK beginning February 1st!
In the States, you unfortunately have to wait until May 1, but check out the awesome US cover and add it to your Goodreads TBR list! :-)
Check out what the other Bookanistas are jazzed about this week...
Christine Fonseca brings you a special Guestanista review of SPRINKLES AND SECRETS
Shannon Messenger delights in DEAD TO YOU – with giveaway
Beth Revis interviews TEMPEST author Julie Cross – with giveaway
Jessi Kirby takes a shine to the SURRENDER and new POSSESSSION covers
Stasia Ward Kehoe adores IN HONOR
Jen Hayley gushes over THE GIRL WHO LOVED A CITY
Veronica Rossi is crazy for INCARNATE
Nikki Katz marvels at A MILLION SUNS
Gennifer Albin is on fire over CINDER
Tracy Banghart is all about THE OTHER LIFE
Jessica Love wonders at THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
Hilary Wagner mourns over THE DEATH OF YORIK MORTWELL -- with giveaway