Famine: Book One of The Apocalyptics - Monica Enderle Pierce

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

I cannot say I didn't like this novel, as its main characters in general were sympathetic enough, but for most of it I also felt like something was missing—some action, or a more regular pacing, maybe? Overall it seemed poised between urgency and a tendency to drag, which completely went against the former. In that regard, I couldn't really be invested

Interesting ideas from the start: the Four Horsemen are dark souls who mustn't escape the “zone” where they're imprisoned. One of them, Famine, is already out, and intendes on freeing her siblings. The only ones who can oppose this are a triat composed of the Catcher, the Guardian and the Beacon. Unfortunately, the Catcher is a bit diminished, the Beacon is gone, and the Guardian cannot fully assume his role until the Catcher is made anew. In the meantime, Famine and the corpses serving her are wreaking havoc throughout the world.

So. Interesting, but a bit confusing, too—it took me some time to piece out everything here, partly because some characters, like Bartholomew, assume double roles and are involved in both parties. Even though at some point, things become clearer, at first I wasn't sure at all what the stakes were exactly. Only when Bartholomew explained them (towards did the end) did it make fully sense.

I also didn't feel the supposed “urgency” throughout the novel: Famine and her cadavers seemed to find Bartholomew and the others very quickly in the beginning, then lost track... too quickly? And even if letting them go to better trap them afterward, it didn't make much sense; why not get rid of the enemy, or in this case of Bartholomew's object of interest (Matilde), as soon as possible? I get the idea beneath, and that the whole arc where Bartholomew sees Matilde grow, and tries to earn her trust, demanded several years to elapse; still, it made the pace too slow in many parts, and the end rushed and unfulfilled in turn.

Side note: The including of French words was definitely odd (we just don't do that). I know of no French immigrant who will add “oui” and other little words in their sentences when speaking in English—the only words we may add is when we don't know the English equivalent, and this wouldn't happen with such simple ones. Same with “chérie”; that's not a word you'd use to address your ward, rather your wife or a lover (“ma chérie” would be the appropriate phrase here).

Conclusion: Interesting ideas, however the pacing made it hard to focus on the story. 2.5 stars.