surviving tacomaSurviving Tacoma by Damon Verial is my first dystopian novel I’ve read. I always shied from some of the bestseller dystopian novels like Hunger Games Series or Divergent series due to their excessive cold blooded brutal killings. But Surviving Tacoma is a mildly dystopian novel.

By mildly I didn’t mean that there is perfectly no killing in the imperfect society. There are only couple of brutal killing description which I thought necessary to create the atmosphere for the readers to decipher the perilous situations in which the lead characters of the novel  have got struck.

Surviving Tacoma is the story of three brothers whose parents were shot dead and landed themselves into a government hostile city. Now in the story, US after the civil war was divided into three parts. They are government friendly city, government neutral city and government hostile city. The author did not got much into details in describing these three kinds of governance. We as a readers have to understand by default the definition of these terms.

Anyways, Morris, Randolph and John, three brothers lives in government neutral city Gig Harbor and accidentally while saving their lives lands in Tacoma which is a government hostile city. From here begin their struggle to survive in barbaric land where there is no law and order. People shoot one another at the slightest pretext. The one who is strongest and smartest survives and rest are wiped out.

Both Morris and Randolph choose different mode for survival in Tacoma. Morris choose a military like organisation called YMCA and Randolph seeks refuge in a business man house along with his kid brother John in exchange for his computer skills. While Morris survival mode was more risky and adventurous, Randolph was always calculative in taking risks.

Surprising, the entire novel was very male dominated. There were only three female characters who appeared in the novel. In which one is the mother of Morris, Randolph and John who was killed in the opening scene of the novel. Another is fat lady of no significance at all. And third is a journalist Darline who helps the three brothers escape from Tacoma. But she also has just two scenes in the novels.

May be author could not comprehend how to shape the female characters of a unruly society. Perhaps it is easier to portray uncouth male with guns in their hand and killing without inhibition. There is also no insights about the family life of the government hostile cities. There are very few descriptions about the city they landed themselves into.

Still, in spite of these lacking the book was written at a decent pace with adrenaline rush catching the readers attention every now and then. It lags in some parts but was always quickly compensated by some action.

Verdict: It is a decent one time read novel. But if you have already read some high end youth adults books like Hunger Games and similar, then you might find the Surviving Tacoma to be a bit mushy and casual but the story line is gripping and good paced. And a good one to read for someone like me who are weak at heart to read about brutal killing.

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Ritu Mantri

Ritu is an avid book reader. She also reviews books and have reviewed around 200+ books till date. Her target is to finish 1000 books.