Author: Lindsey Black
Publisher: Netherwood Press/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 342 Pages
At a Glance: This post-apocalyptic tale was surprising and not at all what I am used to. I’m so glad I gave it a try, and recommend it for others who enjoy this genre.
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: The Barricade is all that separates the Northern Russian Empire from what remains of the world’s plague-decimated population. Snaking 8921 kilometres across Eurasia, the Barricade is crafted from the New World’s nanotechnologies. Breathing, thinking, constantly regenerating, it sustains those charged with defending its districts from those desperate to find refuge in the north.
Atop the battlements of District 666, Sasha Stepanova and his team ruthlessly suppress heavy insurgencies, but at a cost. With the loss of one of his men, Sasha feels isolated and adrift. The bitter snows are a harbinger of winter’s early arrival and the town on his southern perimeter is swelling with foreboding shadows.
Transferred from a black operations testing facility, Jett Ioane is not the replacement Sasha is expecting. He’s short, sheltered and untested in battle—a poor replacement for the friend Sasha has lost. But Sasha finds him impossibly alluring. A lifetime of alienation and scrutiny has hardened Jett to the friendship and camaraderie necessary for survival. Struggling to find his feet while Sasha sweeps them out from under him, Jett hesitates to entrust the team with his truth.
Will Jett’s secrets be the key to their salvation, or annihilation?
Review: Barricade offers a unique twist to a post-apocalyptic/dystopian world, keeping me engaged throughout.
The Barricade is a wall which stretches from ocean to ocean separating the Northern Russian Empire from the rest of the world. On the north side are the Russian’s, who have not been infected by the population-decimating virus; the south side is filled with devastation, where the virus eradicated billions of people and toppled every other county. Towers guard the Barricade all the way across, and Tower 666 is in the unique location of what is formally known as the Russian-Ukrainian border. Sasha and his team, along with the other units assigned to the Barricade, are to keep people from the south from infiltrating the north and keep the infection out of Russia.
The weather along with the Barricade was like a living, breathing character, showing the colorless and bleak life for those living there, giving the story an overall eerie quality, the weather often mirroring the days or at times being an omen of things to come. Even the characters themselves speak and think of the Barricade as a person, an individual with a mind of its own. Despair dripped from the pages of this story, from both the characters and the setting, drawing me in completely.
Unlike many other stories in this genre, the pacing was more measured and focused on the intellectual side. It worked, never weighing down the progression, adding just enough action to move forward without it being bogged down with violence and fighting and allowing the pieces of the intricate puzzle to reveal itself though conversation and observations.
The worst of the wars had already passed, leaving the residents of the Barricade on watch, day in and day out, with little to occupy their time. An infected stumbles to the Barricade, periodically, requiring attention, but enough time has passed that there isn’t much civilization left on the south side. As the story develops, more movement and activity begin in the town on the south, and gradually things start to fall into place. The action is sporadic there, though, and is interspersed with dialogue and brain-storming. There are hints specifically placed throughout, often at the beginning of each chapter, giving clues that something is brewing but taking its time to reveal it all.
Each character was well defined and distinctive, adding value to the story. Enzo and his emotions as well as his ability to grab onto moments of fun was probably my favorite. I also enjoyed Matti and his overall contribution, with his observational skill and logic and being the voice of reason. Then there are the two protagonists, Sasha and Jett. Sasha is an interesting mix of dominant and gentle. He has a reputation for strategy and appears to be the model Sergeant, garnering respect from everyone around him. Jett arrives and there is an immediate attraction for Sasha. Jett’s distinctive appearance and naiveté call to Sasha and his team, even if they weren’t ready to replace their lost brother. Jett may have been small and slight, but there is more to Jett that meets the eye, which the guys at Tower 666 start to uncover. Their growing relationship on the surface appeared to take a while to develop because time stretched out, the setting making things appear to happen at a slower pace than they were. But when I sit back and think on it, the reality is the romance built rapidly. It just didn’t feel like it while reading.
Though I truly did enjoy most of this story, it’s not without its flaws. When a story takes place in another country, I always try to take into account there may be differences in spelling and grammar. However, in this book inconsistent spelling was everywhere, a variety of spellings of specific names and words sprinkled throughout: Sasha and Sacha, Anishin and Anishen, as well as defense and defence are all used. These are just some immediate examples that come to mind, but they were abundant. Though it was annoying, I was able to put most of it aside and appreciate everything else going on.
The ending was abrupt compared to the rest of the story but left on a note where more could be explored in this unique world Lindsey Black has created. I for one would be all for that, especially because I really want more Enzo. Just saying.
Though this post-apocalyptic tale was surprising and not at all what I am used to in many ways, and was not without its faults, I’m so glad I gave it a try, and recommend it for others who delight in this particular genre.
You can buy Barricade here:
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