I’m not going to pretend that I’m some literary scholar who often writes book reviews because that couldn’t be further from the truth. Fact is I’d have a much better chance of pretending to be a firearms expert than a literary scholar. Nonetheless, I’m doing a book review. I don’t expect I will do many (if any) book reviews in the future, but I had a fun opportunity come up to write this review and here we are.
One of the coolest things about connecting with readers, like you, on social media is that I get the privilege to interact with and learn about my audience. Sometimes things happen as I come across things you share. For instance, in August a reader I followed on Twitter shared a trailer for a book that caught my eye and I followed the aspiring author, Tyler Davis. Later the author followed me back and every now and again I inquired about the progress on publishing the book. Don’t know if he got tired of me asking about it, but my nagging resulted in the author sharing a pre-release copy of the book for me to read.
The trailer caught my eye because I enjoy reading dystopian fiction. The source of the dystopia was unclear from the trailer. However, I expected it to be some version of a societal collapse and it would be followed by a survival and reconstruction plot that generally follows other dystopian novels I’ve read. The truth is that this book failed to just about every single dystopian novel stereotype that I expected to encounter.
The plot of New America: Awakenings revolves around a young man who is coming of age a settlement oppressed by excessive rule of law which was built and controlled by an extremely conservative tyrannical government that took power following a modern civil war. The population is heavily controlled by rationing. Every Constitutionally protected right Americans hold deer is non-existent. Heavy surveillance, excessive punishment, controlled information (propaganda), forced religion and other practices are commonplace. Essentially, liberty is dead in this dystopian environment.
The main character, Colt, is not what I would have expected either. At the age of 16, there is still a tenderness and softness found in youthful innocence present as the kid experiences and witnesses the horrors of the dystopia and he fights to hang on to his humanity. It’s a nail biting and heart wrenching read that presented me with a very unique paradigm. I’ve read plenty of other dystopian novels that explore childhood in these extreme circumstances while following the story of predominantly adult characters. I can’t think of another novel of this genre that focuses on the transition from youth to adulthood like this.
It’s not the typical end of the world brain eating zombie story. Nor is the typical collapse due to some catastrophic event story filled with fancy details of survivalist equipment and techniques. It’s a modern take on what a typical tyrannical regime that commonly follows a civil war could potentially look like in the United States. Perhaps, one of the scariest elements of this book is how close it hits to home given the events that have transpired in 2020 in the United States that’s led to the social media chatter of a civil war or a boogaloo. It’s a dystopian take that will resonate with every libertarian bone in the body.
Folks this book was hard to put down. It’s amazingly easy to read and a great story. If you are looking for a dystopian story that breaks the mold and fiction that hits home a little too close for comfort, then I suggest picking up a copy of this book, brewing a pot of coffee and settling into your favorite chair. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Lastly, consider giving the author, Tyler Davis, a follow on Twitter as I have: @tylerdavisbooks. I’m looking forward to seeing what other stories he cooks up.