This is a non-spoiler review. The author didn’t request a review, but I had to squeeze a mini-post in about it anyway because it’s a wonderful book.
Struck by famine and drought, large swathes of North America are now known as the Desert. Set against this mythic and vast backdrop, The Last Storm is a timely story of a family of Rainmakers whose rare and arcane gift has become a curse.
Jesse stopped rainmaking the moment his abilities became deadly, bringing down not just rain but scorpions, strange snakes and spiders. He thought he could help a land suffering from climate catastrophe, but he was wrong. When his daughter Ash inherited the tainted gift carried down the family bloodline, Jesse did his best to stop her. His attempt went tragically wrong, and ever since then he has believed himself responsible for his daughter’s death.
But now his wife Karina––who never gave up looking for their daughter—brings news that Ash is still alive. And she’s rainmaking again. Terrified of what she might bring down upon the desperate communities of the Desert, the estranged couple set out across the desolate landscape to find her. But Jesse and Karina are not the only ones looking for Ash. As the storms she conjures become more violent and deadly, some follow her seeking hope. And one is hungry for revenge.
THE LAST STORM is a post-apocalyptic eco-thriller/horror, set in world ravaged by changes to the environment and atmosphere, about a character who has the ability to conjure rain using some strange, scienc-y apparatus. It is truly weird in the most wonderful way, and blends horror, thriller, science, and dare I say it, fantasy.
My very favourite literary device is used here – character-assigned alternating chapters. I can’t fully explain why I love books that break the chapters up this way, perhaps it’s because I’m always excited about how they’re all going to coalesce in the final act. Lebbon used this structure particularly well in regard to setting up and developing each character. There were several different story threads because each character had their own motivation and journey, and though there was a lot going on, it never felt like I was being overloaded.
There is so much mystery and intrigue – Ash is our rain-conjuring central character, who has a mission. Jesse believes that he killed his daughter and then discovers that he didn’t. His ex-wife, Karina, wants to stop their daughter, and they end up travelling together. This particular relationship opened up a world of backstory, which I was heavily invested in, and I always looked forward to their chapters. Cee is a tough badass that sort of stumbles into the scenario. And then there are others… one in particular with more sinister motivations.
I try to avoid describing a book as a “page-turner” because what a cliched way of saying a book is great. But… yeah, THE LAST STORM is one hell of a page-turner. There are no weak characters, no one that Lebbon gave less thought to, and oh my gosh, the world itself. The setting, the landscape, and the scenario… it’s all so bleak, but interesting. How Lebbon still inspires hope in a situation this grim, I don’t know.
I also loved the writing. This book has so much heart, and pain, and love. The relationship between Jesse and Karina – the exes – hit me so hard. Couldn’t really tell you why because I’ve never been married and divorced myself. It must be that Lebbon is excellent at eliciting empathy. Every time I was in Jesse’s head, my heart broke for him. This line in particular actually made me cry:
“Their marriage, their love, had barely left its mark on her,”
I suppose out of context, this might not look tear-worthy, but dark lordy, the idea of the most significant love of my life regarding me with little to no importance in the grand scheme of their own life would crush me.
I would definitely recommend this to fans of post-apocalyptic fiction, and those who enjoy disaster type scenarios drawn from the real world. It’s an unforgettable story, and those characters haven’t left me.
If you’d like to get your own copy of THE LAST STORM, you can do so here:
If you’d like to check out Tim Lebbon and his other works, you can visit his website here:
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