Posted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:01 pm Post subject: Book Review: Wiping the Slate Clean
Wiping the Slate Clean:
A Review of A World Without Divide: The Night Sarah Came Home by William Joseph
A World Without Divide: The Night Sarah Came Home, 2008, William Joseph
A Sense of Wonder Press ISBN 978-1-59663-630-9
Reviewer: Michael Southard
The Night Sarah Came Home is a book with a lot of potential that doesn't quite fulfill its promise. The story relays intriguing concepts, has some interesting action, and it could be much more riveting than it is. Unfortunately, it has a lot of meaningless detail, slips into flashbacks way too often (many of them contributing very little, if anything, to the narrative), the prose is inadequately constructed and edited, and the point-of-view is often confusing. However, any readers who can let these problems slide might find this book a nice change of pace from the ordinary post-apocalyptic fare.
As a group of friends reunite for a night of fun on the beach, a sinister plot to cleanse the world and create a new beginning for human history unfolds. Most of humanity is exterminated in mere minutes by a devastating weapon whose purpose is similar to the neutron bomb-but far more deadly and far more accurate. Unknown to the perpetrators of this apocalypse, however, an unanticipated malfunction leaves at least one small area-and perhaps more-untouched by the devastation, and a few unwanted survivors remain-including Kid, Sarah, and their friends on the beach.
The leaders of the Utopia Project soon discover the survivors and begin to hunt them down, to kill all the males and "condition" the females for assimilation into their new "society." The odds are against Kid and his friends, since the Utopians have advanced weaponry, unorthodox behavioral conditioning, and numbers on their side.
If this book were revised to adjust pacing and sentence structure, establish more concrete points-of-view, and edited with more precision, it could be one of the most interesting post-apocalyptic stories on the market. It might even rank with some of the classics. This is yet another instance where a small press did not show the professionalism the author and its work richly deserve, in my opinion. I think the publisher was right to accept this work, to give such a promising new author a chance, but I also think it should have imposed higher standards on the finished product. In any case, I do recommend giving A World Without Divide: The Night Sarah Came Home a chance; it may be a diamond in the rough, but I think it's still a diamond at its heart.
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