Twins, Denver and Brooklyn, make their way from a home they once knew, while the surviving member of a screecher family sets out to explore the wider world. Unknown to them, the danger that hunts their progress has many teeth, coupled by ferocious appetites. Man and beast collide in an epic battle for survival in a hostile environment where the wrong step could mean death.
(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I thank Kevin J. Kennedy for giving me the opportunity.
When it comes to post-apocalyptic fiction, there’s the tropes everyone expects nowadays, be it the man-eating monsters and typical conflict between factions of people, and while Screechers certainly incorporated those themes, it proved memorable in that it also attempted to set itself apart. Instead of jumping right into human survival as per, its opening depicted a strange creature venturing out into the landscape of a ruined planet in search of new meaning, therefore I really liked how the focal point was divided between the actual people as well as these non-human beasts specified as “screechers”. The setting which Kennedy and Bergling designed is teeming with lifeforms of all shapes and sizes; an unforgiving and alien ecosystem that perseveres without the interference of mankind, so it wasn’t as barren as one might have expected. I feel like I was given only a glimpse of this ravaged world – what I assumed to be the result of nuclear warfare – and I wanted to experience more of the imagination behind it, read about what other horrors nature had evolved. Survival was still paramount, but unlikely alliances between humans and screechers demonstrated that age old lesson that working together can accomplish more than working alone.
As fun and fast-paced as it was, there were aspects I felt weren’t adequately explained, or that struck me as not making much sense. By the end I had several questions, and it was an effort trying to come up with my own conclusions – an example is why the screechers deemed humans worth befriending to begin with, since they were described as killing machines that slaughtered indiscriminately, yet humans somehow evoked compassion without reason. And look, I like warm-fuzzy tales of unexpected companionship, but there needs to be some sort of basis behind it other than just because. I’m not going to list off every other element that didn’t work for me here, but there were a few things, such as how the twins were written with their exaggerated connection, that bugged me more than engaged me. Still, there were entertaining battle scenes that had all the violence and gore one could hope for, as well as the aforementioned world building, that made it a decent enough read.
In conclusion: Screechers was comprised of alternate chapters that followed two different sets of travellers in the apocalyptic aftermath, their paths eventually crossing when survival called for it. I loved the creative thinking that went into the monsters that served as wildlife, as well as the fighting that ensued among them, the last quarter pretty much all-out war with many gruesome details. If anything, I would’ve preferred it fleshed out more due to several plot points that I believe weren’t sufficiently made clear, but I enjoyed the overall chaos.
The apoc-wolves moved at a slow pace, keeping low to the ground as they hunted their prey.
© Red Lace 2021