The Remaining: Aftermath by D. J. Molles
(Description nicked from B&N.com.)
“To Captain Lee Harden, Project Hometown feels like a distant dream and the completion of his mission seems unattainable.
Wounded and weaponless, he has stumbled upon a group of survivors that seems willing to help. But a tragedy in the group causes a deep rift to come to light and forces him into action. In the chaos of the world outside, Lee is pursued by a new threat: someone who will stop at nothing to get what he has.”
I almost didn’t pick this book up after reading The Remaining and seeing what seemed to me to be its rather huge logistical plot holes. The story was pretty good, despite the fact that I occasionally wanted to shake the author by the shoulders and ask what the heck he was thinking. With that in mind, I took the plunge and grabbed this one. Bear in mind that this book is only available in e-book format right now, with the print version not due until late June.
Molles has found his stride in this second book. By putting Harden into a larger and more settled group of people, the author allows him to go from running around aimlessly to actually planning and acting with forethought. It’s a different kind of adventure from the first book, where our hero was bouncing all over the place willy-nilly. This is the point where Hardin really begins to carry out his mission, which suits his character much better. He does have some natural leadership qualities, and having him roaming around the countryside by himself doesn’t work as well.
Also in this book, we get a more concrete antagonist than just the mindless shells of humanity. As with many stories, readers are shown that humans don’t need a rampaging virus to act like savages—we’re perfectly capable of doing that all on our own. While it’s certainly scary to think of zombie-ish creatures wandering around looking for something to attack, I find it creepier to realize that some people would do so carefully, with calm consideration, just because they could. And Molles does an excellent job at portraying people whom you wouldn’t want to meet in a dystopian setting of any kind.
With all of this, the novel feels much more cohesive than the first one, and it also feels more solid. Although the characters are running around the countryside just as much, there’s more of a goal this time around, and this makes the focus of the story work much better.
I liked this book much more than the original novel, and I’ll be picking up the next ones in the near future. Aftermath has plenty of action and all-too-plausible bad guys to make this a book that’s hard to put down once you get started.