"A thoroughly unexpected pleasure"
When I bought this book I thought I knew what to expect having seen many reviews which mentioned The Stand and having had a recent binge of post-apocalyptic reading myself. It managed, though, to deliver much more than I expected and something very different from what I expected.
The beginning was, I think I can say without being too unkind, pretty much run-of-the-mill and conventional. There was a brief pencil sketch depiction of the main characters we were going to follow in their lives before the outbreak of Nuclear War and I have to say at this point the novel felt like the start of any disaster "B" movie and I worried that I had made a big mistake in buying this one, but very soon the author began to bring in some discordant and original notes.
Without risking too much of a spoiler I think that I can safely reveal that as this novel continues it soon leaves behind gritty realism and approaches something closer to gritty magical realism. The themes of Good and Evil become embodied in certain characters and the nature of reality warps around them and the reader in an original and challenging way. I think herein may lie a challenge for some readers: if you buy a fantasy novel with an elf and a wizard on the front you know the extent to which you are going to be expected to suspend your disbelief but you may not be braced for a similar extent of suspension when you buy a novel about the survivors in an American landscaped ravaged by nuclear war. However, once you make this compromise this becomes an incredible journey in which you become deeply involved - I have to confess there was one point I didn't want continue because what little good had been reclaimed from this destroyed world was all about to be destroyed and I couldn't see any way for it to be avoided: that is how involved I had become in the story.
The end of the novel might strike some as a little too neat and maybe a touch glib but I think that having travelled so far with the author and these characters we have all earned some kind of closure and not a cheap opening for book two. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will come back to it again (and again, quite possibly). I will recommend it whole-heartedly to certain of my friends and if you want to know whether I would recommend it to you I would say that if you enjoyed The Stand and or The Passage then this book is probably for you or if you enjoy a little fantasy in your reading but don't like it too feel too childish then this is the book for you too.
I can not leave without a little word about the narration. Tom Stechschulte manages to portray a wonderful array of characters, accents and emotions with consistency and flair. He is a truly talented gentleman and who made a tour-de-force performance with this novel.
This is by far the best 'End of the World' story I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. The pictures Robert McCammon paints are dramatic and realistic, the pain, suffering, humility and downright evil are explicit and intense. This is a brilliant book and my wish is that Robert would write a sequel. This is one of a handful of books I believe everybody should read and learnt from its characters experiences.
Although long, the book was well read and I rarely lost interest. Possibly a bit out of date but nonetheless, a good story.
Robert McCammon is a wonderful writer and this is excellent. Would love to see The Wolfs Hour or Stinger here too.
After listening to Swan Song, I shall certainly be hunting down more books by this author!
I got this book as I was a major fan of the Stand and heard this was similar. It is an amazingly crafted tale of good vs evil and beautifully set in a post-nuclear apocalypse setting. It features a wonderful array of characters of all ages and creeds.
The author really gets into the heads of his characters and gets across the nature of pure evil and over-whelming goodness. It's a perfect black and white, yin and yang sort of feel to it as there story focuses on multiple characters/groups based on either side of the moral compass.
It shows just what levels people will sink to or raise themselves up to in order to survive when all is lost.
"Great book to listen"
This was my third english audiobook and I really enjoyed to listen this. Even though that story was a bit "too easy" I enjoyed the story and storytelling by the reader. It was always obvious who was speaking and that made the story easy to follow.
I recommend this book to anyone who likes books from this genre.
This is a fantastic book; the only reason I haven't given it a fill five stars is that tha narrator doesn't really do it justice. Great chracters, epic story and an underlying current of disquiet.
I thoroughly enjoyed this great story with it's excellent characters and it was narrated brilliantly.
"Before Stephen King's THE STAND...."
there was "Swan Song", and though I love King's book, I can't help but think that he was influenced, in some way, by this bizarre, violent, mystical mammoth of a novel. Granted, some of the violence is off-putting, but what do you expect from a modern-day apocalypse? This books needs to be more widely known by aficionados, it'll give them more thrills than the umpteenth retelling of a zombie apocalypse
what an amazing book! well written and very well read. the narrator does a great job with the voice acting for every character. the story itself is told with vivid detail. i got a real strong image of every scene. the characters were all interesting and enjoyable, mostly :)
gave this a 4 because there were a few parts tht made me roll my eyes, but i wont mention them off of plot spoilers