Eye of the Storm by R.K. King
Humanity exists in the eye of a truly massive superstorm in the aptly named Eye of the Storm by R.K. King. This one didn’t make it past my group’s first round of cuts in the Self-Published Science Fiction Contest, but I had hugely enjoyed the first sample I’d read, and decided to keep on going. I am glad I did, because what I discovered was a gripping look at a cool post-apocalyptic wasteland.
The first impression one gets from the book is that it’s a kind of Mad Max world set in a storm. That’s… not wrong. It’s not all of the premise, though. There are various clans who live and move around in this storm, from the Pathfinders, known for mapping out the direction the storm will move, to the Dogs, who collect and cobble together machines like cars. As the storm moves across the land, these clans stay inside, sheltered within the Eye from the awfulness of a storm that seems to encompass the whole world. They fight each other for the meager resources they encounter and scavenge along the way, each clan looking out for its own, while still being force to barter and interact with the others to get some of the things they need.
The Eye of the storm must be quite large, based on the actions that take place therein, but it’s never really spelled out in the book. Aiden, a Pathfinder, eventually stumbles upon a young woman he calls Nemo, and together they venture into the heart of the storm itself, looking to see what might be out there in the world.
Our view of the world comes through the eyes of the characters. There’s very little side exposition here. Mostly, readers are just thrown into the action and ride along. It’s a great way to tell a story like this, and certainly keeps the plot moving. When the plot picks up as Nemo and Aiden venture forth with a small band and a Stormwalker, the pace is relentless in a very good way. I found myself churning through the pages throughout the night and didn’t stop until I got to the end.
There’s something to be said for science fiction that is mostly about the ride along the way. This novel is the kind of book one can sit back, enjoy the ride, and set down with a feeling of fulfillment and wonder. It’s just a good, fun read that doesn’t make you think very hard. That’s not to say there’s no development of characters or story. King moves the plot forward with the characters growing in somewhat predictable ways. The world itself is revealed in small chunks as readers follow the characters, ultimately getting some big moments that certainly set up what I hope are some great sequels to come. There is romance among the characters, and it was fairly predictable, though I was never upset by it. The one thing I would say as a detractor for the characters was how easily they shrugged off major losses. While some major scenes of mourning occur, it was almost like other characters didn’t give any emotional weight to the plot. It was a minor thing for my overall enjoyment, though.
Eye of the Storm is an intensely fun read that doesn’t let off the gas. It’s intense from end-to-end, and weaves an action-packed narrative about a post-apocalyptic world.
Score (a score out of 10 is required for the SPSFC Rules to help us determine which books are moving on): 8/10
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