Thursday, 19 October 2017

Book Review: Prospero's Half-Life by Trevor James Zaple


I need to get the bad out of the way first, so please continue reading beyond this paragraph. Normally I don't comment on this kind of thing, but the book needs a quick line edit. It's admittedly been a few years since I received this novel to review and changes may have been made. But the version I received was full of stupid little mistakes any editor could catch. It bothered me, only because I nitpick, and only a few mistakes made it necessary to re-read the sentence to understand the meaning.

Okay, that's out of the way. I did that first, because the rest of this review will be glowing. Quite honestly, I've wanted to get to this book on my list for a long time. Nearly two years, actually. And man was it worth the wait. Actually, I should have read it two years ago, and then again now. I am normally not a fan of post-apocalyptic novels, as they usually go through the same tropes. I need to tell you how Prospero's Half-Life is different.

First, it's set in Canada. Not only that, but Southwestern Ontario. I can't tell you how cool it is to read a book completely set in my own stomping grounds. It's a fresh setting and gives a different perspective on what happens post-plague. You know, if most of the world dies. Let me tell you, in that circumstance, Canadians are not all polite, sharing their timbits and all. (I'll be honest with you...I don't share my timbits pre-plague. Sorry.)

Second, the novel deals very little with what actually killed off humanity. The beginning describes a bit of the plague and how gory it is in the end. Zaple does a great job describing the protagonist, Richard Adams, and how he finally sees how horrible it is living surrounded by death. Instead, the majority of the novel follows Richard as he lives with other survivors. It skips through time expertly, showing how society backtracks, progresses, gets a little crazy, but continues on nevertheless.

Richard goes through a very real, very intimate transformation throughout his journey. At first he's described as selfish, only looking out for his own survival. And in the end he realizes the importance of sticking together, relying on one another in this new world in which he's found himself.

The minute twists and turns, the people Richard meets along the way and how everything circles back just shows how you never know the big picture. The impact you leave on people, good and bad. The person you sell $9000 worth of electronics to... there's always something bigger going on.

Overall, this is the type of novel that could easily be turned into a mini series, but I honestly wouldn't want anything added. Not everything is described or extrapolated, but it doesn't have to be. Not here. I commend Zaple on creating such a unique, and thrilling novel.

You can buy the novel by clicking here.

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