Author: TJ Klune
Publisher: DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 04/19/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Apocalyptic/dystopian, Bisexual
Once upon a time, humanity could no longer contain the rage that swelled within, and the world ended in a wave of fire.
One hundred years later, in the wasteland formerly known as America, a broken man who goes only by the name of Cavalo survives. Purposefully cutting himself off from what remains of civilization, Cavalo resides in the crumbling ruins of the Northern Idaho Correctional Institution. A mutt called Bad Dog and a robot on the verge of insanity comprise his only companions. Cavalo himself is deteriorating, his memories rising like ghosts and haunting the prison cells.
It’s not until he makes the dangerous choice of crossing into the irradiated Deadlands that Cavalo comes into contact with a mute psychopath, one who belongs to the murderous group of people known as the Dead Rabbits. Taking the man prisoner, Cavalo is forced not only to face the horrors of his past, but the ramifications of the choices made for his stark present. And it is in the prisoner that he will find a possible future where redemption is but a glimmer that darkly shines.
The world has died.
This is the story of its remains.
Illustrated by Blake Dorner.
TJ Klune promised this series would be a romance but that we would have to work for it: it would be dark and a slow burn; he wasn’t lying. Withered + Sere is bleak and sad and yet there are rays of sunlight that peek through. It is beautiful in its desolation and wholly mesmerizing. It is brilliant.
Woven through the dark is light. Bad Dog is one of those bright spots. Oh how I love Bad Dog! His sincere dogginess saved me from falling into a complete depression as everyone else is f**ked in this post-apocalyptic world. Insanity runs rampant but you can’t help but feel for Cavalo. Death abounds, there are mutated creatures and cannibals. The book transports you to this world and reveals truths in layers.
There is no romance in this first installment of the series. It is getting to know the world and the players in that scene. The only sex is mostly off page M/F, as Cavalo is bi-sexual. This does not detract from the story at all. In fact, it may help bring new readership as this is a far different type of story than Mr. Klune has written before.
This book is not for everyone. It does not leave you feeling hopeful or happy. There is very little happiness to this story. However, it is a striking book that will make you feel other things, and there is TJ’s promise. I, for one, cannot wait until August and the release of Crisped + Sere.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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