Friday, July 7, 2017

Monte Vista Village: A Book Review

From its nonthreatening title, Lynn Lamb's Monte Vista Village doesn't sound like an apocalyptic tale, but it is. According to the author's bio, Ms. Lamb is known for her work in this genre (as well as horror), and she doesn't disappoint in this book. But aside from the obvious horror of our country being annihilated by a nuclear blast, there's no horror in this book. No vampires, zombies, or the undead.


Laura, the lead character, and Mark, her Sudanese-by-birth, Muslim husband, as well as Laura's mother, Annie, are the main characters. Following a brutal, devastating attack of the United States by foreign forces, Laura finds herself at the head of their neighborhood survival group, hence the Monte Vista Village reference. As unworthy as she feels to lead others, she has a trustworthiness, ability to organize, and a faith in her fellow man and woman that cause others to turn to her. In addition to the utter devastation to every aspect of American life--food, shelter, weapons, water, medicine--the enemy also loosed deadly biological weapons against us and for the first few weeks, everyone must stay inside to avoid radiation poisoning and the plagues that have taken root. They communicate by walkie-talkies, and soon, despite her feelings of unworthiness, Laura is put in charge of the group once everyone can come out of their homes. She orchestrates the necessary aspects of putting a neighborhood back together without the usual resources of hospitals, well-stocked grocery store, clean water, etc.

While I enjoy a good apocalyptic tale, and this one was original in its premise that folks will stay in their homes (assuming they have one), rather than wander the planet as in so many other books, this book fell short for me for a very basic reason. It lacked proper editing and that snapped me out of the book several times. It's too bad, too, because this was the first in a series, and unless I hear that the second book is superbly-edited, I won't be revisiting this series. For those readers who don't mind encountering editing errors and love apocalyptic stories, this would be a fine book to read.

The back cover copy reads: 

GROWTH IS HARD, BUT STAGNATION MEANS CERTAIN DEATH! 

THE APOCALYPSE— WOULD YOU SURVIVE?
IS THIS OUR RECKONING? 
WHO WILL LEAD US TO SALVATION? 
CAN MY STORY HAVE A HAPPILY EVER AFTER? CAN IT HAVE ANY EVER AFTER?


I’m Laura, and I survived global nuclear war. When I walked out into the devastated landscape, I didn’t find zombies, witches or vampires— what I found was infinitely worse; it was real.


Our tormentor is no longer the enemy; it is what’s left of the desperate earth. My neighbors are starving and sick from the biochemicals in the air. Our food, water and meds are running low. Our only hope is to come together to stay alive.

Certainly not me. Why would it be me? The Army Colonel should be the leader of the Village, not me.



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