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Vika's NA Post-Apocalyptic Fiction Review: West by C.S. Starr

West (Campbell #2) by C.S. Starr

Ecopy thanks to author

Synopsis from Goodreads

After her world was turned upside down by the death of her twin and a new alliance forged through an unexpected friendship, Lucy Campbell left West determined to return to her old life.

It took four years and a natural disaster for her to admit that was impossible.

Hatched from a lie devised to keep them both safe, the conflict with East has affected Lucy and Tal Bauman in different ways. It’s left Lucy engulfed in a bitter power struggle with her war-hungry brother. It’s forced Tal to align himself with Campbell, despite questioning their motivations in continuing to attack East, when peace seems attainable. He’s also left to sort out the mess left behind by his predecessor and best friend, Connor Wilde.

When they are reunited by a tragedy, Lucy and Tal are forced to question how far their duties stretch, where their loyalties lie, and how far they would go for one another.

They’re also left reevaluating their morals, values, and the futures of those around them.

West is the second book in the Campbell trilogy.

Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository


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I came across the Campbell trilogy last year when upon a recommendation I decided to give it a try and the rest… well, you know how that story goes. (You can check my review of Campbell here by the way).

I was surprised and even taken aback by the story, yet fascinated; it left me curious and wanting more. So when the second book arrived earlier this year and C.S. Starr asked me to read and review it, I leapt at the opportunity. And let me say that West is a great read, well-written and unique among the myriad of post-apocalyptic and dystopian novels crowding the shelves of bookstores these days. What set it apart are its raw honesty, unapologetic nature, brutality, and gritty details. It is a roller-coaster of emotions and as the story progresses C.S. Starr continues to explore a variety of subjects including power/control, politics, sexuality, and character identity -- all under the scope of this harsh, post-apocalyptic world.

This novel picks up several years after Campbell, the first novel. As things have settled a bit in the West territory, Tal emerged as a true leader, responsible and caring. He has proven himself and even garnered support and respect. And I’ve come to admire his character quite a bit this time around.

Lucy on the other hand, appears more vulnerable than ever. Her indomitable façade slowly begins to chip away and all the barriers she has built to protect herself are crumbling under the pressure and weight of her responsibilities. The war with East rages on and those around Lucy are starting to get uneasy over her relation with Tal, the leniency given to West, and other aspects of her leadership.

It is as if we meet a “different” Lucy this time around, but while I struggled to connect with her character before I felt that her vulnerability plays in her favor here. She is hurt and broken, she doesn’t have as much control over her emotions and situations, and suddenly she is that much more accessible. But as soon as things start looking up for her and Tal, professionally and otherwise, the unexpected events threaten to compromise everything they worked so hard to achieve. Who will come out on top? Only time will tell and I can’t wait to read all about it!  

West is a thrilling ride. It explores psychological imprint left by the need to control, survive, live; the stress and challenges of the new order, the weight of responsibilities. It is refreshing and different and I enjoyed reading this novel even better than the first. So if you are looking for something new, or have a taste for post-apocalyptic fiction I recommend you give this series a try, it is certainly worth it.

* * *

В прошлом году по рекомендации я прочла первую книгу одноименной трилогии Кэмпбелл (мою рецензию вы можете прочесть тут).

В целом, мне понравился этот захватывающий, пост-апокалиптический фикшн. Я была удивлена и даже немного озадачена безаппеляционным тоном романа, но, в тоже время, заинтригована им. Поэтому, когда вторая книга была опубликована в начале этого года и С.С. Старр предложила мне прорецензировать ее, я с удовольствием согласилась. И, честно говоря, этот роман у нее вышел даже лучше, чем предыдущий.

По моему мнению, эта серия книг отлична от многих других этого жанра, которыми заполнены книжные полки магазинов сегодня. С.С. Старр пишет с какой-то особой честностью. Ее постапокалиптический мир безжалостен, груб, и откровенен. Тут герои балансируют политику и власть, сексуальность, любовь, и доверие. Во общем, ожидайте американские горки эмоций с ударением на изучение личности каждого героя, их эмоционального и физического состояния по отношению к миру, в котором они существуют.

Вторая книга, Запад, рассказывает о событиях несколько лет спустя после первой книги. Тал превратил себя в настоящего лидера Западной территории. Его действия и поддержка многими являются доказательством его достижений. И я не могла не восхититься им.

Люси, с другой стороны, в этот раз оказалась более уязвимой. Ее неукротимый фасад начинает медленно рассыпаться и все барьеры, которые она так усердно строила, рушатся под давлением ее обязанностей. Однако, ее отношения с Талом начинают идти на лад, пока непредвиденный ход событий не угрожает разрушить все их планы...

В целом, Запад - захватывающей роман. Он исследует психологический отпечаток, оставленный необходимостью контролировать, выживать, и жить, а также рассматривает стресс и проблемы нового порядка, вес обязанностей... Так что, если вы ищете что-то новое или любите пост-апокалиптический фикш, советую дать шанс этой серии. Думаю, что жалеть вам об этом не придётся.
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