“The Kind – Recoverist Quartet #1” by Jule Owen

Interesting ideas and a good plot but the storytelling was too arms-length for me and the cliff-hanger ending was annoying.

I loved the start of “The Kind”. The title of the first chapter was eye-catching:

the dead girl and the talking dog

The first paragraph made me grin in anticipation:

SHE HAD BEEN DEAD for over an hour. It is one hour and twenty minutes since her breath shuddered to a halt in her chest, her heart stopped beating and her brain, starved of blood, shut down.  I am a little late, then, he thinks.

That this-is-going-to-be-weird-but-worth-it storytelling tone is sustained throughout the book and mostly works. It is weird. It doesn’t get any less so as the book goes along.

“The KInd” is the first book in a Young Adult post-apocalyptic quartet, set in a far-distant future Britain, remade into deserts and islands by climate change. It’s packed with good ideas and clever world-building. I was fascinated to see towns I know like Ilkley and Buxton having become something different but not entirely new, to imagine Wales as a source of renewal and Land’s End as an island.

The story is told more as a fable than as a realistic account of fictional events. We get the big sweep of history and a ring-side seat at the events people will write songs about but the characters in the story are more like puppets playing their part in a saga. There’s almost no depth of characterisation.

There is a strong plot which kept everything moving and kept me wanting to know how everything would play out. The plot and the world-building mesh well. Every time I thought I knew what was going on, something new was added and the scope of the problem and the solution broadened.

This was interesting but a little too arms-length for me. I wasn’t engaged by the characters and had only an academic “Oh-I-didn’t-see-THAT-coming” interest in whether they lived or died. There’s a huge body count in the story yet no sense of threat or distress.

The book has a cliff-hanger ending, which didn’t endear it to me. Even in a quartet, I think each book should end and not just stop.

I won’t be reading the rest of the books.

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