I am not lost…

April 26, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: THE DEAD ROOM by Stephanie Erickson

Hey! Been a while since we visited Stephanie Erickson and her writing, right? Man. Well, I wanted to have this and the next in the series (THE DEAD WORLD) read before the third book (ALIVE) came out, buuuuut I’m bad at time management or something and so it’s late. SORRY STEPHANIE.

In any event, I read this book…and I’m not sure what I was expecting from it, but I didn’t get it. And that’s TOTALLY okay.

THE DEAD ROOM starts out very post-apocalyptic. 322 years in the future. Everyone living on an island in the Northern Pacific, run by elders, all saved by some mystical dude named Bennett Ashby, back to more hunter-gatherer-meets-Hunger-Games style world. The islanders are told that this is all that is left of the world. They are the remaining vestiges of humanity, and all they need is here.

Needless to say, not everyone is convinced of this. What happened to everyone? Are you sure nothing is left? Ashley Wortham is Not Convinced that this is true, and that the elders are hiding something from them. She and her best friend Mason go off in search of answers, generally to the elders’ dismay, and what they find…they couldn’t have been prepared for. And as the blurb says, “What will they do when they discover the downfall of humanity lies within their own island, deep inside the dead room?”

Erickson has proven to be a fantastic writer in the past, so I had absolutely no concerns about the quality of the writing going in. The blurb is just vague enough that I have no clue what’s really going on, but much like Ashley, I’m positive that I need answers. And that feeling kept up through the entire book, particularly after what Ashley and Mason find out in the rest of the world.

This is a totally new take on the apocalypse, and one that I haven’t really seen before. (Pieces of it, amusingly, remind me of one of my own projects, but they’re different enough that it’s not concerning.) And given the tone of the entire novel up until the big reveal, the reveal totally came as a surprise to me. It felt utterly out of left field–but not in a bad way. Just in a “…oh right, this is…yeah.” kind of way. I love it. I’m utterly fascinated, and the book sets itself up very nicely for the next installment.

There are definitely some things I’m sad about. As with all things, we lose a few beloved characters (or at least, they’re beloved to me) as the plot goes on. None of the deaths felt unnecessary…though I’m not entirely sure why one of them happened, because it doesn’t make…a ton of sense, given everything that led up to it. (But spoilers, sweetie.) BUT! Really nicely told, a pretty quick read, and I’m definitely putting DEAD WORLD and ALIVE higher up on the TBR. I need to know what happens next.

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