TITLE: Tomorrow Land
AUTHOR: Mari Mancusi
PUBLISHER: NLA Digital
PAGES: 281 (ARC)
Note: An ARC of this novel was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.
In the not so distant future, rabid beings roam freely and the majority of mankind has been wiped off the face of the Earth. A chilling view at possible events, Tomorrow Land is an entertaining new novel from author Mari Mancusi.
Four years before, a series of events leading up the apocalypse caused Peyton Anderson to choose her family over Chris Parker, the boy she loved. Now emerging from a bunker into a devastated world, Peyton struggles to survive – and reconcile her feelings for her ally, Chris. Peyton was likeable enough; she seemed smart, extremely capable, and had a clear idea of what was happening and what she should do. Physically ‘enhanced’ by her father into what she calls ‘Razor Girl’, she’s the perfect zombie fighting machine who isn’t afraid to get down and dirty.
The main story is told from Peyton and Chris’s point of view, though there are occasional flashbacks scattered throughout the book. These chapters are important in setting up how and why the apocalypse happened, but after a couple I found myself getting the general gist and skimming the rest when they popped up. Not to say that they weren’t useful, however, as it really brought to light how much these characters – especially Chris – have changed. One thing I especially liked about the dual narrative was the opportunity to look inside Chris’s head, and see how he, and the world, have changed whilst Peyton was locked up in the bunker. It’s also a great way to understand these roiling emotions that tear at him, and how they have shaped the person he has grown up to be.
The plot, when you stripped it down to its bare bones, was actually rather intriguing. The whole story behind this apocalypse and Peyton’s father’s secret studies was certainly unique and was enough to catch your attention in parts. However, it was the addition of other, meaningless information that bogged it down. Take, for instance, this AIDs injection which had inspired a whole new teen movement, or even the confusing, unneeded technology that was just empty words. It was stuff like this that slowly abraded my opinion of this book, and I hope that the author makes an attempt to cut it back for whatever her next project is.
The pacing was a bit of a let-down, as was the rather clumped distribution of events. The first third of the book was rather slow, and even when it did pick up it seemed to be too uneventful for a group of kids travelling across a zombie infested land. The romance was, if anything, slightly aggravating. It was based on a whole lot of angst and mistrust, and everything else was just a tool to provoke even more tormented feuds. Sure, when they were actually civil to one another it was endearing, but when they just argued for the sake of it I really started getting annoyed. I felt like there was a whole load of stuff between them that didn’t have an actual purpose, and it could have been removed for a much more easy-flowing and interesting read.
A hesitant three stars, Tomorrow Land is an enjoyable read that sadly does not quite live up to the full potential around it. Perhaps not the best release this year, this tale of romance and adventure may be on to be borrowed and not bought.