In the dark future of Defender, the majority of the worlds population have died. Killed by themselves and others who were listening to voices steering their horrific actions.
Those who survived live in a hostile environment, unable to trust strangers and fighting over limited resources.
On a long dusty road a stranger walks, the voice in his head telling him to buy a lemonade from the girl at the side of the road. For most it's dangerous to listen to that voice. For Pilgrim, getting that drink from Lacey sets him on a path that will change both their lives and others.
Defender hits the ground running with intelligent dialogue, interesting characters and a dark, hostile environment. The book reads as a dystopian thriller with pacing to match and little pause given over to introspection. Backstory is drip-fed strictly on a need to know basis - partly due to Pilgrim's unique condition.
It's all very clever but it's also highly entertaining too. The character of Pilgrim suitably mysterious and enigmatic while Lacey comes across well as a child of the apocalypse. Did I mention that this is the authors first book?
This is a seriously impressive achievement, some original touches that set the story apart from others - the idea of voices in peoples heads isn't just window dressing but used effectively as a plot device. Some are comparing the book to some of Stephen Kings work and to an extent I can see why, there is a dark edge to the prose that is striking and reminds me a little of King's Dark Tower Series.
Personally though I feel these comparison's are only skin-deep, Defender is different enough to stand on it's own.
Defender is a delightfully dark dystopian journey with compelling characters and a provocative plot. Highly recommended.
Written on 21st November 2016 by Ant.
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