Posted on February 23, 2010 by Matt-M-McElroy
Available at Amazon.com
A New War begins…
Fallout is the third volume in the Vampire Apocalypse series written by Derek Gunn. This story picks up almost immediately after the previous book, Descent into Chaos, wraps up. Now, the free humans are still recovering from the events of the previous novel, and have new challenges to face. Burdened by a huge influx of rescued people to their hidden community, the main characters have a lot of challenges weaning them off a deadly serum and integrating them into their new lives as survivors and freedom fighters.
I’ll say from the start that this review will be difficult to write without spoiling something in the story. There is a lot of action in this volume and plenty of twists and turns to the ongoing narrative. So, I’ll attempt to spoil as little as possible in the review, but a few minor bits might slip through in the process…
Reluctant hero and resistance leader Peter Harris continues his quest to free as many humans as possible not just from vampires, but also the effects of the “serum” (the drug cocktail the vampires and thralls have been using to keep the populace docile). As it turns out, the serum is poisonous and will end up killing everyone still on the drug in the near future. What was once a more straightforward mission to free people from ending up as food in the previous books is now a matter of worldwide life-and-death.
In the last book, Harris and his team had to defend the resistance’s home base against attack from a massive army of thralls during a clash between two vampire factions. The only thing that kept the resistance alive, was the vampires’ willingness to slaughter each other which was extremely rare among the undead in this world. Could they be feeling the effects of the serum as well?
This volume of the story had some of the best fight scenes Gunn has written so far in the series. Gunn continues to keep the adrenaline pumping throughout the story and our heroes are barely able to overcome overwhelming odds time and time again. They do not escape unharmed, war continues to take its bloody toll on this group. This is one of the things I enjoy about the Vampire Apocalypse series, our heroes are indeed mortal and do not smash through monsters with ease, they have to work for each and every victory.
However, I did feel that this book introduced far too many new characters and an unnecessary extra escape plot. This escape took place at a new location and involved new characters; I felt that this plot was a distraction since it took place far from our resistance fighters we have grown to know over the course of the previous two volumes. As I was reading the story, I felt it was getting difficult to keep track of the new names, faces and locations with each of the extra sub-plots going on throughout the book.
The overall setting certainly was more expanded in this book. Readers had the chance to learn a bit more about how the vampire council works and even uncovered a few clues about the history of the vampire race. This was extremely cool: it is interesting to see how different authors build the history of their monsters and it looks like Gunn has some cool backstory yet to flesh out in a future volume.
Fallout escalates the conflict to new levels, with three (or more) factions attempting to control portions of the American Midwest. No one side has dominant power, although if the fractured vampire groups would consolidate their forces neither the free humans nor the independent thrall army would be able to resist them. It would be interesting to see the free humans and free thralls team up, but such an alliance would be tenuous at best.
My one major complaint with this volume is the atrocious editing. I found far too many typos and misplaced words. (E.G. Words that are spelled correctly, but do not make sense in a particular sentence like replacing “dusk” where “dust” was supposed to be.) In the story, I also found that there were a few amusing American vs. European word choices that didn’t hurt the overall story, but certainly seemed out of place.
So, if you enjoyed the first two volumes of Vampire Apocalypse you are going to really like this one, especially after the cliffhanger ending of Descent into Chaos. If you dig an action-packed tale of free humans fighting off monstrous cruel vampires and the twisted thralls that serve them…check out the Vampire Apocalypse books, you won’t be disappointed. I do recommend that a new reader start at the beginning (A World Torn Asunder) rather than attempt to dive into Fallout. This volume is far more dependent on what has come before than the previous volume.
Review by Matt M McElroy