All That Remains by Al Barrera

8/10 Among the better reads available in the sub-genre

All That Remains is a post-apocalyptic/zombie novel written by Al Barrera and first published on September 15, 2015.

I do like to read post-apocalyptic and dystopian novels and while I wouldn’t say zombie apocalypse is a personal favourite of mine the book cover and synopsis of All That Remains really appealed to me. I find that it doesn’t matter if a book is high fantasy, post apocalyptic, steampunk or, say, urban fantasy. It’s all about three things - the characterisation, the plot and the quality of the writing. The better all three are the more I enjoy the book. All That Remains performs well in all three key areas, the characters are written in a way in which you can relate to, they are flawed, damaged and very human; which also means they have an indomitable will to survive and a capacity to endure severe hardship while maintaining that flicker of hope. Characters like this the reader is able to relate to, and to empathise with. The plot was sound, I guess it could almost be called quest-based and I was impressed with the way Barerra told his story.

We find the world we know has gone, it was destroyed thirteen years earlier in an event of which the author releases information slowly throughout the narrative. The new world forces the remnants of human civilization to scavenge for food and water whilst hiding from the creatures that destroyed it. Scavengers Kyle, Sara and Tim find Kaylee, a little girl who claims to know of a safe haven somewhere in Tennessee, and they embark on a desperate journey to find it.

This was a very worthwhile read. I’ve read extensively in this sub-genre and can confidently say that this is among the better reads available. I was impressed on many levels and the reading experience was an enjoyable one. I would recommend All That Remains to fans of the zombie apocalypse genre but I also think it would work for readers who might ordinarily avoid this type of novel. In simple terms it is a well written story featuring sound characterisation. Definitely recommended and I would be happy to read more by this promising young author, especially the sequel to this one.

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