I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by EDGE - Lite on March 14th 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Alien Contact, Fiction, Science Fiction
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They came. They conquered. We few survived.
Lena Greenwood is known as a "Daywalker", a select type of mercenary who has adapted to working in the deadly radiation of post-war British Columbia. When her city is invaded by the Mokai, a hostile alien race, she and her company escape into the Canadian Rockies. Her last hope is to survive the harsh realities of a shattered world while the rest of humanity is culled or enslaved.
Thegn, a Mokai priest and a representative of the interspecies council who sanctions the Mokai, is captured and held hostage by a still free group of humans hiding in the Canadian Rockies. It is his task to document and study the human species who he believes is sentient and worth protecting. When his interactions with the humans bring to light similarities Thegn must face the reality that to save those he learns to love he may have to go against everything he once believed.
Stranger King is a story of love and conquest, of the patterns that emerge through the passions of love and war. It is the story of survival.
The Stranger King was a short novel that has some really interesting ideas for a post-apocalyptic Canada. Canada is struggling against our American neighbours and war has altered the atmosphere causing harmful UV radiation to be at critical levels during the day. Lena decides that instead of fighting against the American troops as her father did before she was born, she will join an elite group mercenaries called “Daywalkers” who brave the danger of the sun to complete random tasks during the daylight hours. The war between Canada and US implodes once more, but is cut short when alien invaders come from space to enslave humanity. The aftermath is chaotic with Lena leading a small band of survivors against these new alien overlords.
Unfortunately, The Stranger King pretty much peaked for me from the beginning. I didn’t like Lena, the novel skipped from one event to another without preamble and large chunks of time went missing far too often. I felt like The Stranger King was a first draft rather than a completed work of fiction. I definitely think the plot line would benefit from a bit of editing and beta reading because many of the details were unnecessary or underdeveloped while other portions became outlandish or outright uncomfortable.
A novel about Canada, some neat world building and a strong science ficition element made this novel extremely exciting. Unfortunately, the rest of the novel fell flat when read by a person who values character development over plot-centric focus.
The post-apocalyptic version of Canada featured in this novel was interesting mostly because it utilized technology that is now just becoming a focus (think the vactrain) and it used Canada as it’s setting instead of the usual America-centric novels that saturate the market. American based novels are just as compelling as Canadian based literature, but sometimes it’s exciting to read about familiar landmarks and cities. I liked the idea that two extremely friendly nations went to war causing epic destruction, although the reasoning behind the war and the bomb dropping on a largely depopulated area seemed confusing. I could have done with more detail in some areas of the world building – like where the idea of Daywalkers came from and why they were important to post-war Canada culture and economy.
I didn’t get any of “the feels” from this novel. It felt more like a telling of an event rather than an actual emotional adventure in a world where everything is going to hell. The Stranger King was not intended for readers like me who enjoy character development, but rather for readers who are interested in the evolution of the storyline on its own. In the end, The Stranger King was written for a very different audience and I was unable to fully engross myself into the world or really comprehend the author’s artistic vision.
The book would appeal to readers who enjoy plot development over character development, alien invasion stories, apocalyptic literature and the work of independent authors. I would not suggest this title to readers who are staunch emotional readers as this novel is not meant to be read emotionally.