Book Review of Bloodlands (Bloodlands, Bk 1)

Bloodlands (Bloodlands, Bk 1)
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Really well written, insomuch as it keeps you engaged with suspense, excellent world building, and intelligent characterization. However, as much as I feel propelled to keep reading *once* I start reading, I find it hard to motivate myself to actually keep reading it if I put down the book for even a moment. If I put it down for the night, either to go to bed or because of some other disruption, I'm just not in a hurry to pick it back up again. I think there are two problems here.

1) As much as I love post-apocalyptic concepts, I find it to be a tricky thing to actually appreciate and enjoy in my fiction. Most of the time the hopelessness of it all is too reminiscent of the hopelessness and negativity I can watch on the news in the real world. I just want more hope and less bleakness in my imaginary world. So many of these post-apocalyptic tales not only have bleak, beaten down characters but bleak landscapes and plots as well. It's just too much bleak. This might be weird, but I want a less muted colour palette to my story if that makes sense.

2) The characters are really unlikable. They are developed. Very well-developed. I just don't particularly like them or care what happens to them--except for maybe the dog. Not only do I not like them, but they are bleak too. The only one I found interesting was the baddy because he had a certain style and nuance of a great villain. But he's still unlikable and cruel in that he would beat a dog and, frankly, I can accept a lot from my villains but animal cruelty is not one of them (call me crazy). I wish the characters had a little more pizzaz so that they balanced out the muted setting of a dry, desolate world. Dystopian does not have to be equated with boring. I think it should be just the opposite. Everything should be more pronounced. More colourful.

Bottomline: This is an excellently written book with a lot of potential. It just didn't serve my needs. But then again I hated reading Snow Crash (which is apparently supposed to be an excellent representation of the dystopian genre). So if you like your dystopia and good writing, and you don't mind it accompanied by some weirdly uncomfortable romance, then you will probably like this book. I just can't be bothered to continue reading the series. It was hard enough getting through this first book.