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Book Review

Book Cover

The Release


Author: Tom Isbell
Publisher: Harper Voyager
RRP: £8.99
ISBN: 978 0 00 752826 4
Publication Date: 23 February 2017

Having rescued numerous less than sans sisters from their captivity they must now survive the ravages of a post-apocalyptic America in their flight from Chancellor Maddox, who will do nothing to see them all wiped out...

The Release (2017. 357 pages) is the third and last in a series of young adult science fiction novels, written by Tom Isbell.

Two months have passed since the events chronicled in The Capture and Book, Cat and Hope are still not safe from the forces trying to destroy them. If you haven’t read the first two novels, I recommend that you do as the series has turned out to be a particularly satisfying read. The book is set in the years after nuclear devastation has depopulated much of the planet, or at least we presume so as the action never moves outside of America.

When we first met our three young protagonists the boys were being trained, or so they thought, to join the neo Nazi brown shirts who make up the surviving military. In fact, because of their physical deformities they are ‘less thans’ and are being bred to be hunted. Likewise, the sisters are all twins who are being experimented on.

If you can get over some of the book's unexplained plot holes, the greatest of which is just how were the group of around two hundred able to feed themselves, let alone move them around the countryside? If we get over this then Isbell has provided a satisfying third act. He is not afraid of dealing with the harsh reality of war. When hope decides to take on Maddox, casualties are inevitable and Isbell is not afraid of killing off some of the characters which we have followed from the first novel. He is even content to provide what many would consider a downbeat ending.

The series has done well with presenting a well-constructed world, filled with rounded characters who go on a meaningful development arcs, even if at times they are not particularly engaging. While the horrors which Hope has had to endure gives reason for her to kill Maddox, her relationship with Book can oft times feel a bit whiney.

Still, all things considered, Isbell has brought the trilogy to a logically satisfying ending.


Charles Packer

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