Anamika Mukherjee – author of Adopted Miracles is back with a new book – Survivors, which also happens to be her first foray into fiction.
I first heard about this book from the author herself who happens to be a friend. She had told me about the book in bits and pieces, and what little I heard intrigued me enough to accept this book for review.
What it’s About
In a post-apocalyptic world of a nuclear disaster, small settlements have formed on the outskirts of what used to be north Delhi. Without technology and conveniences we take for granted, life has regressed to the dark ages; radiation has ruined the water and the soil and made survival almost impossible.
That’s when 13-year-old Natasha, utterly traumatized by the rape of her sister, runs away from home and stumbles upon a library and its only occupant – 18-year-old Ved. Deciphering the library and the books it holds is the only hope they have of saving their families.
~ Synopsis from the back of the book
Survivors is the first part of a (hopefully) 3-part trilogy. In it, we meet Ved and Natasha who live a spartan life post a nuclear holocaust, although they don’t know that a nuclear explosion in a reactor is the cause of all their troubles. All they know is that life is tough, babies are born deformed, healthy people wither away and die, but they don’t know why.
Their only source of information is an old crumbling library where they read through books to find solutions for their problems. The books in the library are fascinating – providing information about natural cures, and insights into an old and almost forgotten way of life. One book in particular is very illuminating – a book about a nuclear plant, and the possible dangers if there was an accident in the plant. No guesses to map that the environmental damage, and health/mortality issues that these survivors face is because of a nuclear accident.
Another core aspect of the book is the group dynamics that arise when resources are scant. There are three groups of people, each with their problems – however the group living by the river is slowly getting poisoned by the terrible water, and are keen to move and take over the resources of Ved’s group, which has better living conditions.
This means war, and Ved and Natasha (especially Natasha) find themselves flip-flopping with their loyalties divided between friends, family, and tribe.
This is a very strong start to a trilogy. Usually in these kind of dystopian trilogies, the first book in a series spends a lot of time on world-building, and the plot actually takes off only towards the end of the book. Survivors is not one of those books – this book is all plot.
It also helps that the dystopia is not unbelievably dystopian. All the settings and themes covered in this plot are relatable and sound very plausible.
Another different thing about the book (which I’m not sure is good or bad), is that it works well as a standalone. There is no cliffhanger type of ending leaving you wanting more. I could easily wait for the next couple of years without feeling like I just have to read this book. Which also means I could just as easily forget about it, and never get around to actually reading the sequels.
Anyway, it seems that the second book in the trilogy is still far away, so for now, I am quite appreciative of the neat ending to the book.
What about you guys? Do you like cliffhanger style of endings? I love them when I know the next book is already out. In all other cases, I sit stewing thinking about the book for ages and getting mad at the author (side eye at George R.R.Martin who’s left me hanging for a several years already, with no end in sight).
Huge thanks to the author for sending me this book for review consideration.