Book Review: Campbell (Book One) by C.S. Starr

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I guess this qualifies as a mash up.  Part young adult romance, part dystopian, part apocalypse. Right up my alley.

The author kindly sent me a Kindle copy in return for a review of her book.

Here is the synopsis:

It’s been ten years since a virus wiped out the entire adult population. Across the world, opportunistic kids worked to reestablish order through the creation of uneasy, fractured territories.

A decade later, the rules are changing.

Desperate to stop his western territory from coming apart at the seams, 23 year old President Connor Wilde sends his oldest confidante to Campbell, a swelling northern empire, to negotiate with its leader.

Tal Bauman isn’t expecting Lucy Campbell to be so impossible.

Or intriguing. Or beautiful.

He’s also not expecting their negotiations to leave them both fighting for survival in a part of the world neither are familiar with.

Spanning a dystopian North American landscape, Campbell is the story of two unlikely companions who find themselves reevaluating their loyalties, beliefs, and futures.

I absolutely loved this book.  It is extremely well-written, very intriguing and tender at the same time.  The author alternates between the present and about 11 years prior when all of the adults start dying off.  It is fascinating to see how it all evolved and how kids essentially rebuilt society.

The characters are so real.  You understand their motives, their wants, their desires.  You understand why they do the way they do.  They literally leap off the page.

I love Lucy Campbell.  She is a survivor.  She is an excellent and capable leader who is very stubborn but very compassionate.  Her goal is to take care of the people in her area and offer a decent and fair lifestyle to anyone willing to work for it.  She doesn’t see the need to amass material goods.  She doesn’t need to have absolute power.  She just wants kids to have a better life.  But she isn’t perfect.  I love that about this character.

Tal Bauman just followed the lead of his spoiled and exploitative friend after the collapse.  He wrestles with his conscious constantly, but never finds the way to make a real difference.  Until he meets Lucy.

This is not a young adult book.  It is an adult book about young adults forced to grow up way too fast.  There is sex, violence, drug use throughout the book.  Nothing is gratuitous and it is all necessary to develop the characters and understand their motives and actions.

The author also paints a very realistic portrait of the aftermath of years of sexual abuse.  Lucy has PTSD as a result of her experiences and her description of what happens to her with the nightmares, the flashbacks, her choice of sexual partners is entirely authentic.

The author doesn’t go into graphic details, and it wasn’t too triggering, but I need to make it known that the subject matter is present.

Despite their difficult ascendance into adulthood, they are still in their early 20s, still trying to figure out who they are, what they want in life.  That theme is found repeatedly throughout the book.  That no matter how fast someone was forced to grow up, especially without the influence of others who have gone before, they still mature at a similar pace regardless of situation.

I was (still am) very intrigued about how they built it all up again.  There is electricity, cell phones, they some more wealthier regions fly planes.  Hopefully the “how” is more forthcoming in the next book due out in February.  It is just a little bit difficult for me to understand how 12 year olds restarted the whole shebang.

Overall an amazing read.  I loved all the elements of the story.  Eagerly awaiting the next part.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Book Review: West by Caroline Starr | The Eclectic Bookworm
  2. Trackback: Goodreads Giveaway: Campbell!! | The Eclectic Bookworm
  3. Trackback: Amanda’s Favs for 2013 — Part One | The Eclectic Bookworm

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