Lilyn has been reading The Dead Lands by Dylan J Morgan
Oh, I wanted to love this book. It looked perfect. Mutants, science-fiction, post-apocalyptic setting… I’d seen great reviews, too. Unfortunately, The Dead Lands was a dud for me. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate it. I just didn’t feel anything for or towards it. It evoked no emotions. It never aroused my curiosity, never made me think.
It was technically a science fiction novel in part because it was based on a different planet, but it wasn’t really based on a different planet. Apart from the advanced weaponry and cryogenics, the worlds that are featured in this novel (mutants aside) are disturbingly mundane. There’s nothing in them that suggests an exotic location. None of the characters appealed to me. They’re not cardboard characters, exactly, but they’re so typical that with the mundane setting and other issues they were almost irritating.
However, and here’s the interesting thing, this would make a great movie. The more I read it, the more that occurred to me. All the little bits and bobs , the occasionally gruesome images and odd character tics, etc, are at best mildly interesting in the book. If it was a movie, though? Hah! It’d be freaking awesome! Filled with shoot-em-ups, last stands, and plenty of gore. You’d probably have to pay me to get me to read the second book in this series. But I’d be there on opening night in the theatre, saying “Shut up and take my money” to see this on the big screen.
My favorite part of the book was near the very end when the author killed off a character I was expecting to live. It was completely unexpected, so I’ll happily admit I did a little internal cheer. I love it when authors go against the grain and do something unexpected. Overall, The Dead Lands was an okay read. Morgan knows how to put a story together, but he needs to refine his writing a little bit.
Teri has been reading The Dead Lands by Dylan J Morgan
Another Dylan J.Morgan book – another thrilling read! A combination of sci-fi, horror, and post-apocalyptic elements, The Dead Lands is a gritty, action-packed novel.
From the beginning, the reader knows the mission to Hemera is expected to fail and it doesn’t take long for the characters to realize the same thing – but that doesn’t stop them from fighting for survival, making it easy to root for most of them. Some, I was rooting for the mutants to tear into. The novel is full of conflict – not only between the characters themselves, but also with what they encounter on Hemera.
I’ve always liked this author’s writing style – clear and concise, no wasted words and he has a gift for descriptive writing, allowing the reader to picture Hemera and everything the characters experience (the smells are revolting – I don’t think these guys got a breath of fresh air throughout the novel).
There’s a somewhat surprising twist at the end and I’m glad to know a sequel is in the works. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy sci-fi, thrillers, action, and a touch of horror.
I received a copy of this book through Rosie’s Book Review Team in exchange for an honest review.
Shelley has been reading The Dead Lands by Dylan J Morgan
Author: Dylan J Morgan
Category: Post-apocalyptic Thriller
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I’ve read some fabulous reviews about this book and so was eager to get my hands on it, but none of these reviews prepared me for what I was about to read.
I’m already a huge Dylan Morgan fan; his horror books are not to be read without a light on, and his novella, October Rain, was an explosive sci-fi novella. With the promise of a sequel to The Dead Lands on the horizon, I jumped at the chance to read this post-apocalyptic thriller.
Lane is a bounty hunter and not afraid to live his life as a hired gun. He clears the streets of Erebus of the cheating, murdering scum and gets paid for it. When he is forced to re-join the army or face the death penalty, he is thrown into a situation beyond his control. Sent on a mission to the destroyed and desolate twin planet of Hemera, the crew are told that they are answering a distress signal from a president who was placed in a cryogenic tube one hundred years ago.
When you go to watch a movie at the cinema, you have the big screen and surround sound making it a truly involved atmosphere. Reading The Dead Lands was a similar experience. Dylan’s writing is highly descriptive, and he makes you feel like you are there, in the thick of the action, running for your life.
The characters are such a wonderful mix of personalities, but they fit perfectly together. Ludger grated on my nerves, as he should, but I instantly warmed to Lane, Reese, and Blaine. You can’t help but urge them all on to safety as you race through the book at breakneck speed. Of course, being safe isn’t what sells a good thriller, so there are many gasp-out-loud moments.
Dylan does a fabulous job of creating his mutated horrors that creep from the darkness of Hemera’s fallen city. If this book is ever made into a film, I will be first in line at the box office.
The ending blew my mind, and I had a shell-shocked look on my face for most of the day. I can’t wait to read the sequel!
I read The Dead Lands as a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team.
Noelle has been reading The Dead Lands by Dylan Morgan
Book Review: The Dead Lands by Dylan J. Morgan
I decided to read this book in preparation to review the second in this series, based on a terrific review by a fellow blogger. I was so taken with it, I decided to review this one as well.
This book is a really wrenching description of the future of mankind in its third age, and as a result, I really don’t want to know how we got to a third age!
The story opens lovingly, with the President of Hemera injecting his wife and children with a drug that will let them sleep away the next hundred years, to avoid the ravages of the imminent nuclear destruction of the planet. His hope is that when they awaken, he can lead in the rebuilding of the planet. One hundred years later, a distress signal from Hemera is received on its sister planet Erebus, notifying the corrupt government there that the President and his family are alive and expecting rescue.
Lane is a bounty hunter, having been dishonourably discharged from Erebus’ army for a friendly fire incident, and he is chosen by Colonel Padon to be a member of what Dugan hopes will be a lost mission. Padon, a man who Lane loathes, was Lane’s immediate superior when he was in the Army, and he blackmails Lane to force him to join the mission.
The operation is expected to be straightforward, because every indicator describes a planet as a dry shell of barren sand, all forms of life having been extinguished by the nuclear war. Intelligence reports weren’t intelligent, and the operation is anything but what was planned, and the person leading it was in on that secret.
The team is composed of soldiers who mistrust and even hate each other, including a former lover of Lane’s, whose brother was killed in the friendly fire. Egos and over confidence are rampant, at least until they land, a landing which almost doesn’t succeed because of mechanical difficulties. Another reviewer describes Hemera as a “yellow ball of misery,” and I couldn’t have said it better: desert dry sand for miles and no apparent life, at least until the ship is attacked by feral inhabitants. Think Mad Max.
The author does an excellent job of painting the bleakness of the landscape and the rubble and ruin of the capitol city of Magna. Tension ramps up as the team makes its way to the origin of the signal, tracked and picked off by horrifying monsters, the product of ghastly genetic mutations.
Lane faces the toughest battle of his life to survive the operation, with the additional danger of a team member sent with orders to kill him.
This was a gritty and occasionally gruesome tale, with more graphic violence than in my usual reading choices. However, the author does such a good job that I bought into the characters and their emotions – loyalty, love, hatred and mind-numbing fear. It’s a story told from multiple points of view, although Lane’s is the core. I was never confused and seeing through different eyes enriched my understanding of the world the author has created and of the various motives of the characters.
This book is not for the faint of heart. Think it’s appeal with be stronger to men and to those readers who have an affinity for dystopian worlds. Nevertheless, it’s a heart-stopping adventure and I will read the sequel soon.
Olga has been reading The Dead Lands by Dylan J Morgan
This review is written on behalf of Rosie’s Books Review Team. Thanks to Rosie Amber and to the author, Dylan J. Morgan for offering me a free copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
I recently read and reviewed another one of Dylan Morgan’s novels Flesh see here , a horror novel, and I was impressed by the book. Another member of the review team (hi, Terry!) recommended The Dead Lands and I took note. The author is preparing the second book in the series The Dead City and kindly offered the reviewers a chance to catch up with the updated version of the first novel in the series. And I’m happy I followed the recommendation.
The Dead Lands is a post-apocalyptic vision of a world, or rather, a mission where a group of army officers from the planet Erebus are sent to rescue the president of a planet, Hemera who’s been in a cryogenic state for a hundred years following a nuclear debacle. What at first sight seems to be an elite group sent on an easy mission turns up to be anything but.
The book is told in the third person, and each chapter follows the point of view of a different character, and that includes the president of the planet, Lane, who is the only one of the members of the team we get to know before the mission (a disgraced ex-army officer turned bounty hunter and the one who perhaps it’s closest to a hero figure in the standard sense), a variety of the team members, people they meet at the new planet, and many more. It is difficult to say if any of the characters are the true protagonist or the hero (some are easier to empathise with than others, but all seem to have motives and reasons for their behaviours that are far from straight forward). From that perspective, the novel is very democratic and even characters (?) with no redeeming features, or possibly not human, are given a voice (or a consciousness). That makes for a very unique reading experience, one at times uncomfortable and surprising. Although I don’t play computer games, it feels as if one was living in one and in a mission with the characters, with the possibility of playing different parts (although not of your own choosing).
The book is dynamic and fast paced, with no lengthy descriptions (some can be more detailed like the characteristics of the weaponry), and there’s plenty of action, fights, and scary moments. There isn’t a lot of world building, and the reader is thrown straight into a world (or two worlds) that’s understandable if scary at times. The world of The Dead Lands is at the same time familiar (particularly the corruption and morals, or lack of them) but alien. What would our world be like after a nuclear war? I don’t want to give away the whole story, but let’s say that it’s not called The Dead Lands for nothing.
The novel is a great example of the genre. It has a gripping plot, characters that are complex and fallible (some with backstories we’d like to know more about), nothing and nobody is what s/he seems to be, there is betrayal, greed, corruption, cowardice, surprises galore, horror and a world that’s scarier because it’s uncannily easy to recognise. Ultimately, the question is, who is the real enemy? The one outside, or the fragmented loyalties and lies that are the quicksand on which the mission, and the whole world, is built?
I recommend this novel to lovers of the genre, but also to those who love a fast paced story full of surprises, and are willing to push their reading experience beyond comfort and ease.
Ah, and after reading the tasters of the next novel in the series, I can hardly wait.
If you like #PostApocalyptic books then fellow book reviewer and author Terry Tyler recommends these.
Broken World Series by Kate L Mary – I’ve read all 6, but the short stories are a great intro. Links to reviews on all of the books on this one.
Zombie Apocalypse. Set in California, Nevada, Colorado and Georgia. http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/broken-stories-by-kate-l-mary.html When a deadly virus sweeps the country, Vivian Thomas sets out for California in hopes of seeing the daughter she gave up for adoption. Then her car breaks down and she’s faced with a choice. Give up, or accept a ride from redneck brothers, Angus and Axl. Vivian knows the offer has more to do with her double D’s than kindness, but she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to reach her daughter.The virus is spreading, and by the time the group makes it to California, most of the population has been wiped out. When the dead start coming back, Vivian and the others realize that no electricity or running water are the least of their concerns. Now Vivian has to figure out how to be a mother under the most frightening circumstances, cope with Angus’s aggressive mood swings, and sort out her growing attraction to his brooding younger brother, Axl. While searching for a safe place to go, they pick up a pompous billionaire who may be the answer to all their problems. Trusting him means going into the middle of the Mojave Desert and possibly risking their lives, but with the streets overrun and nowhere else to turn, it seems he might be their only chance for survival. Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
The Turning of the world by John Privilege
Pandemic, set in Northern Ireland http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/the-turning-of-world-by-john-privilege.html It was all going so well. Bobby Reynolds leaves Canada and travels halfway round the world to begin a new life with Sally in Northern Ireland. They have a nice house in Carrickfergus, good jobs and are looking forward to starting a family. But out in the world, a tipping-point has been reached. A devastating new disease emerges in a Vietnamese town called Quang-Tri. Suddenly, it is no longer far away, or on the news; it is outside in the street. With frightening speed, the familiar, the cherished are all stripped away. Northern Ireland teeters on the brink, then collapses into bloodshed and violence. Bobby, suddenly a stranger in a foreign country, quickly discovers that there are worse things than Quang-Tri Flu. Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
The Blueprint trilogy takes us to a future in which men and women are almost identical, and personal relationships are forbidden. Following a bio-terrorist attack, the population now lives within comfortable Citidomes. MindValues advocate acceptance and non-attachment. The BodyPerfect cult encourages a tall thin androgynous appearance, and looks are everything. This first book, Future Perfect, tells the story of Caia, an intelligent and highly educated young woman. In spite of severe governmental and societal strictures, Caia finds herself becoming attracted to her co-worker, Mac, a rebel whose questioning of their so-called utopian society both adds to his allure and encourages her own questioning of the status quo. As Mac introduces her to illegal and subversive information she is drawn into a forbidden, dangerous world, becoming alienated from her other co-workers and resmates, the companions with whom she shares her residence. In a society where every thought and action are controlled, informers are everywhere; whom can she trust? When she and Mac are sent on an outdoor research mission, Caia’s life changes irreversibly. A dark undercurrent runs through this story; the enforcement of conformity through fear, the fostering of distorted and damaging attitudes towards forbidden love, manipulation of appearance and even the definition of beauty, will appeal to both an adult and young adult audience. Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
Surviving the Evacuation series by Frank Tayell
Zombie Apocalypse, set in UK. Have read 4 of them
The outbreak started in New York. Within days the infection had spread to every corner of the world. Nowhere is safe from the undead… Bill watched from his window as London was evacuated. His leg broken, he is unable to join the exodus. Turning to his friends in the government, he waits and hopes for rescue. As the days turn into weeks, realising inaction will lead only to starvation and death, his thoughts turn to escape. Forced to leave the safety of his home he ventures out into the undead wasteland that once was England, where he will discover a horrific secret. This is the first volume of his journal. Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
The Dead Lands by Dylan Morgan
Set on imaginary planets
Lane is a bounty hunter for Erebus’ corrupt government, his life a constant battle against past demons. Framed for murder, Lane is offered one option to avoid the death penalty: rejoin the army and partake in a covert operation to the apocalyptic world of Hemera, Erebus’ sister planet.
A century after the nuclear conflict that ended mankind’s third age, Hemera has now sent a distress signal to its sister: the president has awoken, and he’s calling for aid. Early intelligence reports indicate the mission will be straightforward, that Hemera is a vacant shell with all forms of life and hostility extinguished.
They are wrong.
Bandits control the dead lands, but there are things much worse waiting for Lane and his squadron once they enter the city walls. Having lived with the nightmares of his shattered past, Lane must now face the mutated horrors of mankind’s future in the toughest battle of his life. Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
Great Bitten: Outbreak by Warren Fielding
Zombie Apocalypse, set in UK
You’re walking down the street in the early hours of the morning, in one of the most densely populated cities in the world, when you see something that makes the rational side of your brain itch. It has mortal wounds and shouldn’t be walking, but it is, and if you hang around for too long, it will be heading towards you. How would you react?
You survive the initial throes of civil unrest and the collapse of law and order. The world has become your playground. What kind of person do you become? You have never lived for anyone else except yourself. You are selfish. You like being alive. But you do have a conscience, and a soul. Who do you save first?
Warren is not a likeable man. Warren doesn’t even like himself. But he does like existing, and he wants to continue doing it, no matter what hell is emerging around him. Being pragmatic and a bit of a git to boot, he doesn’t find making the hard decisions difficult.
What he does find out, is that the hard decisions are not necessarily the right ones. And being a bastard in life does not prepare you for the clashes that will ensue once the edges of society begin to blur and fade out.
It isn’t just the infected and the resurrected that Warren needs to be wary of, as he negotiates his way around the post-infection south coast in a haphazard attempt to keep himself and his family survive. Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
Cathy chose to read and review The Dead Lands by Dylan J Morgan
The story begins on the planet Hemera, in the capital city of Magna, where the president, his family and key members of his staff are being cryogenically frozen before Hemera is completely destroyed by a nuclear war. A century later, on Erebus, a distress signal is received from Hemera. A small group of operatives are chosen to travel to Hemera to investigate, find the President and help to restore the planet. Intelligence reports state the planet is uninhabited and barren, without the existence of any life forms, so they should encounter no difficulties.
Lane, a disgraced former soldier, believes he is being given a final chance, albeit by the corrupt Colonel Paden, to clear his name while escaping the death penalty for a trumped-up charge of murder used to coerce him into joining the mission. The team destined for Hemera have no reason to doubt Paden’s assurance the assignment will be straightforward and without complications. Nevertheless, it becomes apparent immediately on entry into Hemera’s atmosphere, all is not destined to go as smoothly as the team hoped.
The once beautiful and thriving Hemera is a desolate wasteland peopled by gangs of marauders and mutants brought vividly to life by the clear and descriptive writing. Dylan Morgan makes it so easy to visualise the group travelling through the rubble, debris and ruined buildings, fighting the bandits to reach their destination. Their fear and revulsion for what awaits them in Magna. And their ultimate fight for survival against all odds and the most horrific of antagonists.
This is a very well crafted story with perfect pacing, the drama unfolds with consistency to keep the narrative flowing effortlessly. The characters are well-developed and real, Lane especially, but all the personalities are drawn brilliantly, whether you love or loathe them. I think this story covers every eventuality with action, of which there is plenty, greed, deception, horror and sadness. Balancing out the negatives are loyalty, a touch of romance and truthfulness. And the promise of satisfactory karma for the villain of the piece.
I admit, I’m behind the times when it comes to apocalyptic fiction. In fact, this is the third post-apocalyptic book I’ve read, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not fascinated (and terrified) by the idea.
Morgan paints the scene beautifully. ‘The Dead Lands’ is what the once lush and prospering planet Hemera is now called. Sand and grit covers everything. The planet is a baking, yellow ball of misery and I would never, ever want to go there.
This book is like a movie, packed with action, betrayals, and even a rekindling romance. It would be great for the beach or plane flight.
Terry chose to read and review The Dead Lands by Dylan J Morgan
Right. I don’t like Sci-Fi. I have zero interest in spaceships and mutant beings. I do, however, love the whole post-apocalyptic thing, which is what made me want to read this book, as well as its excellent title. I am so glad I made that choice!
Basic plot: a motley crew of soldiers are sent from one planet to save the president of a second planet. President has lain in cryogenic suspension since an end-of-world nuclear war a hundred years before.
Dylan Morgan is one hell of a writer. Each character comes alive immediately; we are given no description, physical or otherwise, but I could tell EXACTLY what each person was like almost as soon as they were introduced – a rare talent indeed. The Deadlands is told mostly from the point of view of Lane, a former soldier and current bounty hunter, but also with guest appearances from other members of the team and connected characters, including one chapter from the point of view of one of the mutants. Very, very clever indeed, and actually put a different slant on the whole thing.
Morgan’s writing is clear, concise, never rambling. He understands dramatic impact, suspense, pathos, emotion, though I suspect all this is executed automatically, as it is with those who can write this well. If you like this sort of book you will LOVE this, and I think you will even if, like me, you suspect it might not be your sort of thing. Why? Because Morgan realises something important. A truly great novel is all about the CHARACTERS, not about the plot. The plot is terrific, too, but this story is about human nature: love, loss, greed, betrayal, despair, optimism, friendship, family and strength.
Highly, HIGHLY recommended. I suspect I might be raving about this book for quite a while! An easy 5 out of 5 stars from me.