January 26, 2013

Review: The Last Bastion of the Living

The Last Bastion of the Living by Rhiannon Frater
Published: June 12, 2012 by Rhiannon Frater
Genre: Adult - Dystopian, Horror
Source: Purchased ebook
Buy Links: AmazonB&N

Summary: A walled city surrounded by lush land, protected by high mountain summits, and fortified by a massive gate to secure the only pass into the valley, The Bastion remained humanity’s last hope against the fearsome undead creatures known as the Inferi Scourge. On one fateful day, the valley gate failed and the Inferi Scourge overran and destroyed the human settlements outside the walls, trapping the remaining survivors inside the city. Now, decades later, the last remaining humans are struggling to survive in a dying city of dwindling resources…and dwindling hope.

Vanguard Maria Martinez has lived her entire life within the towering walls of steel. She yearns for a life away from the overcrowded streets, rolling blackouts, and food shortages, but there is no hope for anyone as long as the Inferi Scourge howl outside the high walls. Her only refuge from the daily grind is in the arms of Dwayne Reichardt, an officer in the Bastion Constabulary. Both are highly-decorated veterans of the last disastrous push against the Inferi Scourge. Their secret affair is her only happiness.

Then one day Maria is summoned to meet with a mysterious representative from the Science Warfare Division and is offered the opportunity to finally destroy the Inferi Scourge in the valley and close the gate, reclaiming the lost lands and energizing the populace with renewed hope for the future. The rewards of success are great, but she will have to sacrifice everything, possibly even her life, to accomplish the ultimate goal of securing the future of humanity and saving it from extinction.

♥ ♥ ♥

This is not the ordinary zombie novel, it was so much more than I ever expected too. First off, Maria is one badass heroine. She is a very realistic soldier; loyal to her city and superiors, but she’s also very emotional when it comes to actually going into battle. There’s not really a slow start to the introduction to both Maria and this world, because the prologue starts with a big battle against the Inferni Scourge that surrounds The Bastion. Things do not go well, which is bad because the city is basically running out of all supplies and all hope, but for Maria she is able to find some hope when she saved fellow soldier, Dwayne. I was very wary I guess of their relationship and it was kind of a turnoff for me until we are able to learn more of their story and growth together and their epic love- yes I said epic.

After the big failed battle, Maria in a promoted position, still walks the wall on guard day after day. When she’s called into the SWD and accepts the special mission, she takes on much more than she bargained for. This is where there’s a bit of a lull for a good chunk of the book while the teams prepare to take out the Scourge and close the gate. It doesn’t last long though once outside and the fighting begins there was always something happening. There are secrets galore that the upper-ups are keeping from the soldiers and discoveries that they might not just be surround by mindless Scourge, but something much more dangerous, things that are very hungry.

While Maria and the other special soldiers chosen are off the valley killing and burning, Dwyane and a friend of Maria’s work to find out what’s really going on behind the scenes at the SWD, which gives us a full picture of just how messed up things have become in The Bastion. While trying not to give too much away, the secrets relating to the team’s mission are pretty crazy, but they come nowhere near the revelation of what really started the first outbreak. After I read that I must’ve laughed for a good five minutes, because I can honestly say I didn’t see that coming at all. I still kinda loose it at how out there it is. Despite that, the ending brings everything to a good conclusion for Maria and Dwyane even though there was a lot of dying going on.

I think that one of my favorite things about this series is how it doesn’t take place in the initial outbreak and instead it’s well into an established one where society has adjusted. This makes it a great recommendation if you’ve read several zombie books and would like something a bit different. It can also fit into the genres of dystopian, post-apocalyptic and science-fiction so don’t discount this if you don’t like the zombie craze.


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