Today is a super epic day at Xpresso Reads with the tour for The Last Bastion of the Living that brings you Rhiannon’s newest mind blowing novel, her dream cast, my gushing review, and a giveaway! Well, what else can I say? Today, Xpresso Reads is the shizz!
The Last Bastion of the Living
Release date: June 12th, 2012
A walled city surrounded by lush land, protected by high mountain summits, and fortified by a massive gate to secure the only pass into the valley, The Bastion remained humanity’s last hope against the fearsome undead creatures known as the Inferi Scourge. On one fateful day, the valley gate failed and the Inferi Scourge overran and destroyed the human settlements outside the walls, trapping the remaining survivors inside the city. Now, decades later, the last remaining humans are struggling to survive in a dying city of dwindling resources…and dwindling hope.
Vanguard Maria Martinez has lived her entire life within the towering walls of steel. She yearns for a life away from the overcrowded streets, rolling blackouts, and food shortages, but there is no hope for anyone as long as the Inferi Scourge howl outside the high walls. Her only refuge from the daily grind is in the arms of Dwayne Reichardt, an officer in the Bastion Constabulary. Both are highly-decorated veterans of the last disastrous push against the Inferi Scourge. Their secret affair is her only happiness.
Then one day Maria is summoned to meet with a mysterious representative from the Science Warfare Division and is offered the opportunity to finally destroy the Inferi Scourge in the valley and close the gate, reclaiming the lost lands and energizing the populace with renewed hope for the future. The rewards of success are great, but she will have to sacrifice everything, possibly even her life, to accomplish the ultimate goal of securing the future of humanity and saving it from extinction.
Rhiannon and me, it was love at first sight. Those tiny fingers. It was terrifying, it was heartbreaking, there were zombies – I was hers. I was told of an upcoming zombie novel she was writing: In my glass case of emotion, I was ecstatic, squealing with joy; my worship was born. Yes I know, the world I’ve come to know in As the World Dies has come to a close, but it’s ok, because this completely new futuristic world, where zombies have evolved to fantastically creative proportions, is absolutely mind-blowing.
In all seriousness, I’ve come to not only expect, but to look forward to the exceptional characters who consistently breathe life, soul, and heart into Rhiannon’s novels. The Last Bastion of the Living introduces us to Maria: a fierce, capable, transcendent protagonist who is perfectly flawed with fears and uncertainties that make her genuine. She’s incredibly easy to root for and basically becomes a friend, someone you grow to care about throughout the story. Maria’s not alone at the core of this book, either, we also have Dwayne; sweet, caring Dwayne is Maria’s rock, as she is his. Their romance, kept secret because of their rank, is the perpetual undertone of the story. The relationship between them is established from the start and you can easily feel their connection. They complete each other.
Combining romance and terror is a great feat that is done impeccably in this novel. While Dwayne’s perspective has me heartbroken and distressed, Maria’s is filled with trepidation and horror. It’s very interesting to get both sides of the story. Especially when we’ve got so much skepticism towards the whole project. It’s hard to trust anybody in this game. You imagine everything to take a certain direction, when suddenly, you’re staggering sideways trying to grasp what is happening. It’s such a creative take on zombies that it becomes incredibly fascinating and almost impossible to predict what’s in store for Maria. It boggled my mind a few times, leaving me flabbergasted. For this reason I can’t say very much else about the plot. But I will mention that the ending is outstanding. It’s brimming with endless possibilities that had me sitting there contemplating it for hours. Really, just perfect.
For a zombie novel, I was surprised at how much the setting blew me away. The desolate, overpopulated city; the unstoppable, innumerable zombies beyond the gate; but what really took my breath away, was the immense potential of the valley that they once had, and what has become their only hope. I literally got shivers during a certain monumental scene near the middle, where you know something life changing is happening. Honestly, this is why I’ve become such a big fan of Rhiannon’s writing. The emotions from elation to despair are so powerful, they resonates through these pages and they reach you. And you know what? This reminds me of why I love to read. I do admit to being a picky reader; I often find myself going through what seems to be an endless supply of mediocre books, but it is completely worth it when I find a diamond in the rough like this. A book that makes me feel, that makes me think, and wonder, and ponder, and hope, and smile, and cry. Did I ever expect this from a zombie novel? No freaking way! Well… there you have it!
Unique, potent, unnerving, and full of action, The Last Bastion of the Living will leave readers in a daze. It’s so hard! When you love a book this much, it’s so hard to put it into words. And almost impossible to do it justice. So I will leave it at this.
|5 Hot Espressos|
Guest Post with Rhiannon Frater
|Actress Michelle Rodriguez|
Giselle’s thoughts: Dude! These totally fit what I had in mind! Especially Clark Gregg he’s got the perfect look for a jerkwad! As for Dwayne I’d pick George Clooney because he’s just yummy! Thanks so much for dropping by, Rhiannon – again! 😀
Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of the As the World Dies trilogy (The First Days, Fighting to Survive, Siege,) and the author of three other books: the vampire novels Pretty When She Dies and The Tale of the Vampire Bride and the young-adult zombie novel The Living Dead Boy and the Zombie Hunters. Inspired to independently produce her work from the urging of her fans, she published The First Days in late 2008 and quickly gathered a cult following. She won the Dead Letter Award back-to-back for both The First Days and Fighting to Survive, the former of which the Harrisburg Book Examiner called ‘one of the best zombie books of the decade.’ Rhiannon is currently represented by Hannah Gordon of the Foundry + Literary Media agency.