Reviewed by Robyn-Lee Samuels

A thought-provoking adventure through a post-apocalyptic world unlike any other

In Heart of the Storm, author Marie Howalt brings the Moonless Trilogy to a gripping close. Set in post-apocalyptic Italy, this novel follows a curious cast of rebels, fresh off of an apocalyptic event, as they try to find their place in a new world.

The book opens as political tensions are building in Florence and as life in Siena is stabilizing into a city that’s ready to trade. With the worst seemingly behind them, Teo, Renn, and Luca set off to explore the rest of the world and acclimate to their new lives.

While the stellar worldbuilding takes center stage in this one, the primary adventure story is smooth and the characters’ personal storylines also keep us curious and cued in. Characters naturally mention key events of the previous books for both new and returning readers, including the apocalyptic event, why Florence is under a dome, and how Luca is the only person alive who remembers life before the world ended. Author Marie Howalt paints a picture of the socio-political landscape in Florence well, but as the point of view characters leave, the focus shifts to Siena.

If, like me, you’re starting the series with book three, there may be a few things about this new world that aren’t particularly clear to you, but this turns out to be a good thing; the current era exists only in Luca’s memory and relics, like flashlights and motorcycles, and help drive the curiosity of the post-apocalyptic world home.

Heart of the Storm is largely character-driven. It’s a thought-provoking look at what happens when the apocalypse is over, how it feels when the time has come to step out of survival mode. Who do you become when the crisis ends?

From co-parenting sisters to LGBTQ+ relationships, the author draws on a mix of relationships, family structures, and age groups in this adventure. The multiple points of view give us an insight into the the intimate lives of each person, while taking a grander look at the dystopian world as a whole.

In the wake of 2020, Heart of the Storm hits home and feels oddly timely in dis- cussing life post-apocalypse. We may not have taken it this far last year, but the smart writing of this novel offers astute glimpses into the realities of the after-effects of life-changing events.The prose is witty, thoughtful, and captivating. You’re going to want to see this far-future Tuscan wasteland.

Publisher: Spaceboy Books

Genre: Science Fiction

Print Length: 345 pages

ISBN: 978-1951393113


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