I recently read Honey Brown’s After the Darkness and was disappointed to discover that none of her other novels are available to readers in the UK. Luckily, I had a relative visiting from Australia and ordered from Readings (free and very quick postage within Aus – worth a plug) a couple of Honey Brown’s books, including this one.
Deep in the Australian bush, Shannon Scott is holed up in a cabin with his brother Rohan waiting out the catastrophic event of worldwide disease and a breakdown of global economies. One night a mysterious woman slips under their late night watch and past their loaded guns.
Denny Cassidy is beautiful and a survivor.Her inclusion in the cabin brings about the need for a new set of rules but is she laying a trap? Could she be a cold tactician with a deadly agenda?
First Impressions: I was plunged straight into the lives of the two brothers. Their lifestyle and the dystopian situation were convincing, almost too believable. Furthermore, the events surrounding the woman’s arrival (it happens early) are realistic. Nothing about the introductory chapters felt stilted or contrived.
Highlights: The whole scenario of the plague was incredibly well done. The ‘us’ and ‘them’ approach adopted by the two brothers, and their necessary fear of outsiders, permeated the whole story. I supported any of their ruthless decisions because their situation was so precarious. The changing relationship between the woman and the two brothers was both bleak and atypical yet entirely possible in such exceptional circumstances. Finally, I loved the way that references to the Red Queen were scattered throughout the novel.
If I was an editor: I would be blown away by such a dark story about chaos and human nature! The whole premise is so plausible it’s best not to think about it. The ending was fitting and not necessarily happy; the glimmer of hope still felt depressing! I did like the ending but perhaps would have liked more fallout…
Overall: Genunie dystopian fiction for adults.
The Red Queen: 5 Stars