Home » High School » THUMBS DOWN to Amongst the Ruins by Saewood Tice

THUMBS DOWN to Amongst the Ruins by Saewood Tice


TITLE: The Chronicles of 2020: Amongst the Ruins

AUTHOR: Saewood Tice

PUBLISHER: Noble Romance Publishing

LENGTH: 389 pages/920 KB

SUMMARY: (via goodreads.com) In the year 2220, only about 15% of Earth’s population have survived and thrived after the Nuclear Disaster of 2020. With the collapse of modern society, the population has regressed into eight clans.

Amongst these clans, an unusual girl grows from child to adult. Raised on the run and in hiding, Shilo wants to be free of the expectations of women. But in a ruined world where anyone could be an enemy, only the radiation-twisted mutants are clearly identifiable. A fertile female is a precious treasure, and any lapse in caution can mean a loss of the freedom she longs for.

Training as hard as a soldier would, in order to free herself from social constraints, she finds herself faced with an offer from a new clan–an offer that provides her with what she desires. But her recently found independence brings discovery, and discovery brings two very different men from her past—and each of them is determined to claim her.

One is obsessed with owning her, the other desires her as the only person who can make him love again.

REVIEW: When approached by the author to review this book, I was intrigued with the premise. With all the dystopia-themed books out there, this seemed a genuine contender based on the framework of the story. But what started out promisingly ended disappointingly.

With ebooks, I’ve come to expect a level of typos but the sheer number of grammatical and mechanical errors was distracting and impeded understanding at times. There were instances where reading a sentence two or three times was necessary in order to get the intended meaning. Add to that an oddly paced timeline where sometimes hours creep by in clumps of pages or years can race past in a paragraph. There’s little setting provided and it is difficult to tell seasons or geography. The Nigredo are never really identified and I had a hard time determining if this was a zombie faction or just a deformed and mutated portion of the populace sprung from world destruction. The book is set in the year 2220 but while reading it feels medieval at times. Technology has been mostly destroyed but one sees very little of its remains. The language the characters use is much more formal than how even we speak. I kept picturing more Game of Thrones with all the clans and primitive weapons than Revolution.

The romance itself is somewhat predictable: headstrong girl and seemingly angry guy fight their feelings for each other, etc. Shilo is not headstrong when she first appears. She is meek and mild and shy and hides behind her family. Then, BOOM, several weeks of training and she’s all grit and go. And while this is billed as a romance, because it is a “YA romance”, I was shocked by the graphic nature of the intimate scenes. It is on par with some adult romances and I would think long and hard before recommending it to even juniors or seniors. I would not recommend it to anyone younger than that. I would definitely classify it as New Adult rather than Young Adult. There is an unexpected twist toward the end of the book between Shilo and Kain but it seems easy to predict how that twist might be resolved in the next books. I hope that Tice isn’t quite that predictable.

The disappointments outweigh the interesting elements of the book but there are nuggets of a good story here. Once Shilo comes into her own she is a strong, almost formidable heroine. The idea of a world ravaged by the after-effects of a near annihilation and trying to rebuild not only civilization but the world’s population is interesting. The existence of the Mehdia clan is a welcome addition where power is negotiated in the hands of the women. Shilo finds her true identity as Dita while with Mehdia and Dita’s strength puts her in a position to advocate for herself when she returns to the Magnus clan. Ultimately, Shilo’s story was interesting enough and provocative enough to finish but I’m not sure I’ll be checking out the next installment.


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