Title: Rise from the Ashes: Lena’s Story
Author: Laura Franklin
The Taliban bomb wiped out over half of the population and left the United States in shambles. Lena, a young woman from Vermont, and Mick, a young man in the US Army, grow close and become leaders as they trudge north to meet up with a military camp at Lake Champlain. In another group that is trying to survive, a priest leads discouraged parishioners north and is faced with tough decisions as he has to put the well-being of the group ahead of individuals. They have to band together to make it through this new chaotic situation, relying on their intuition and basic survival skills. This motley crew must reorganize the country just as was done after the revolutionary war. The clock is ticking as the persisting threats of the Taliban, drug lords from south of the border and rival gangs across the country put US freedoms in jeopardy.
It took me a while to decide to read this book. I thought it sounded pretty interesting, but I wasn’t sure until I saw the cover. The cover really clinched it for me – it’s awesome.
But it got off to a pretty rocky start. Journal-style post-apocalyptics are hard to write (I know, I’ve tried), and I can’t say Laura Franklin pulled it off. She was close, but not quite.
Even though the subtitle of this book is Lena’s Story, Lena didn’t figure into it as much as I thought. I mean, she was a major character, and a great one at that – fun, smart, optimistic, good with people. The book just didn’t have as much of her perspective as I thought it would. I expected more of her journal entries than there actually were.
I’d mention some other characters, but they were mostly just background people. They had their own personalities and purposes and roles to play, but they weren’t exactly important. Well, they were, but they didn’t seem like it, if that makes any sense.
Towards the halfway point, when the world was established and I knew what was going on, the awkward beginning was left behind and the story moved towards a long trek full of terrified people and gun-wielding crazies and struggles with the natural world. There was also a healthy dose of weird stuff going on – prophetic dreams and other strange-cool stuff that added a fantasy vibe to the post-apocalyptic world.
Judging from the title and a few random strangers’ perspectives thrown into the middle of the story, I think this may be the first in a series – or at least that a sequel is on the way. I’d be interested.
Update: There does not appear to be a sequel forthcoming for this book.
I received a free review copy of Rise from the Ashes: Lena’s Story from the author. Her generosity in no way influenced, or sought to influence, this review.