4 Stars/ Grade A
*E-book provided by Rhiannon Frater*
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.
I am reluctant to say anything about this book lest I spoil it for future readers. Ms. Frater has written an amazing story here and the building blocks of the story are so important, I just don’t want to ruin it for anyone. Each little place slides in place as a new piece of knowledge for the reader — you gotta learn it as you go. The Last Bastion is a zombie story and a dystopia story unlike any I have read. Because it is set in the future, 100 years after the fall of civilization the feel of the book is very different than say the Walking Dead or As the World Dies. Humanity is in a routine, they believe they know what to expect and they are trying to preserve the last hope of surviving. There are futuristic gadgets throughout the story the are just fun (wristlets anyone?); these gadgets add to the context and feel. But not forgotten are the dirty realities of a dying society — lack of food, inconsistent infrastructure and loss of hope.
I love Ms. Frater’s books for her original concepts and unique characters and Last Bastion is no exception. The heroine, Maria, is not perfect. None of Ms. Frater’s characters ever are but they are realistic. I can imagine Maria existing in some sort of alternate fictional reality with all of her scars and lost dreams. Going in to this book, despite having read the blurb and Ms. Frater’s warnings or promises that this was not in the same world as As the World Dies, I have to admit that I did expect the zombies to be like, well every other zombie I have met in the fictional world. Well, I was wrong. How these zombies came to be, how they act, what they need and how society fell is unique. I love postapocalyptic fiction, but I never truly buy into the why and how of the societal collapse. It makes sense in The Last Bastion. Society doesn’t collapse immediately, but over time and some structure still remains.
I can’t say anymore! Just know that if you read this book you get some dystopia fun, a tiny bit of romance (not explicit), action scenes and a new concept of zombies. It is not a short book, it is a meaty book with a gradual build. And it is fun. The book reads like a stand alone, but if another book ever was written in this world I would definitely be back for more.
Check out our interview with Ms. Frater here and Ms. Frater’s blog post about what makes a badass heroine here.
Want to win a copy of Rhiannon Frater’s fabulous new book The Last Bastion of the Living? Enter below! Good luck! This giveaway is open to everyone — no matter where they live!
Thank you to Rhiannon Frater for a review copy of this book.
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