Review: ‘Feral’ by James DeMonaco & B.K. Evenson

Feral by James DeMonaco & B.K. Evenson
Anchor/Blumhouse Books (April 2017)
320 pages; $9.57 paperback; $11.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Ever read a book with all the right ingredients, one that’s well written, has characters you care about, tells a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end, yet leaves you feeling disappointed?

That’s exactly how I feel about Feral, the new novel from the powerhouse team of James DeMonaco and B.K. Evenson. From the moment I saw the eye-catching cover, I was excited about this new take on a post-apocalyptic world.

There are certainly some positives to take away from my reading of this book. For one thing, it’s not about zombies, although the antagonists do exhibit some zombie-like characteristics, like their relentless pursuit of the survivors.

Another example is the detailed explanation of exactly what caused the breakdown of civilization. I also liked that the fact that only men were affected by the genetic virus and women were left to rebuild society while fending off attacks from the feral men, leading to some strong female characters.

To say Feral is fast-paced hardly does it justice. Think The Fast and the Furious on speed.

When the virus attacks the results are devastatingly quick and require decisive action just to survive:

…it’s enough to give me the strength to roll over onto my back and lift the Glock and fire. And again, and again, and again. Four shots in all. all but the first shot straight into the skull of the monster that used to be my father.

My biggest problem with Feral was its predictability. It’s every bit as predictable as the last few seasons of The Walking Dead. For most of the book, I knew exactly what would happen.That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the read, just that I might have liked it more if there were a few surprises.

Feral is told from a number of points of view, mostly in the first person from the perspective of various characters and occasionally in the third person when narrative dictates. It can be a bit disconcerting, but it wasn’t a huge distraction.

If you’re looking for a safe, steady read Feral delivers. Just don’t expect any bombshells.

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