That feeling you get from exploring a good story. A bookish podcast discussing and reviewing books and films as I journey through my ever growing TBR backlog and watchlist.

The Apocalypse Seven by Gene Doucette

Over the years I’ve enjoyed a lot of post apocalyptic fiction, primarily via movies and video games however. The only book that jumps to mind in the post apocalyptic fiction realm that I vividly remember is The Road by Cormac McCarthy, and that is one hell of a dark tale.

The Apocalypse Seven
Title: The Apocalypse Seven
Page Count: 363
Published: 05/25/2021
Categories: ,
What would happen if you were fortunate(or unfortunate depending on your point of view) enough to have slept through the Apocalypse? That's where our seven survivors find themselves, alone and no idea what has happened. As the fight to survive intensifies and the search for other survivors becomes more bleak, a mystery begins to unfold and our seven hero's must find a way to create a life in this new world they find themselves in.

When I saw this pop up on Amazon Prime Reads a year or so ago and saw it was described as being a little more light-hearted look at the post apocalyptic world in which these seven survivors appear to have simply slept through the end of the world, I was interested enough to grab it, but not quite feeling up to diving into a wasteland at the moment. Keep in mind, this book came out after the hellish first year we had all just been through with Covid and politics and news channels FULL of nothing but doom and gloom.

As I’ve continued my journey to read through my entire TBR backlog, I looked at this one yet again and thought – “well, I’ll give it a chapter or two and see if I’m in the mood for it.”. I was hooked by the first chapter.

The story isn’t, however, as light-hearted as it’s made out to be.

While it’s certainly not as dark and depressing as something like The Road, there’s a certain intensity to it that has a terrific ebb and flow. There are moments where our characters are in exploration mode, venturing further and further from where they find themselves as they wake up to find the world has ended. These are the moments that feel a little more light-hearted and easy going.

However, there are also the more intense moments where we see them battling nature, nasty weather, the over abundance of wildlife all through the city, and all that you would expect from a story of people trying to survive after waking into a world they are immensely ill equipped to handle.

But they have each other. Eventually.

While the story sucked me in and I very much enjoyed it, there are some things to be aware of on your own journey. First, if you struggle or dislike books where the chapters jump between various character POV’s, you might not enjoy this one. We get sections from all seven characters POV and they jump back and forth regularly. Though, the layout of the story is sort of strange, at least to me.

The book is made up of three parts, or acts. Each of these parts/acts is broken up into 5 or 6 chapters. And each of these chapters is broken up into smaller chapters that jump between the various characters as the story unfolds, switching POV’s regularly so that the story is never told from any one characters perspective.

While it didn’t bother me too much, I also found it created a bit of frustration at times because I found I enjoyed some characters more than others and would have loved to see the whole book through their eyes. Even though they are all going through the same situations for the most part, it’s fascinating to me just how different this book would feel if told through ONLY certain characters perspectives.

Which brings me to the next thing you may or may not love.

The seven characters all feel very stereotypical. Almost like they were rolled from a D&D campaign. You’ve got the grizzled warrior priest(ish), the wise-cracking geek, the super smart scientist, the sneaky kid that can pick a lock and sneak into almost anywhere, a blind woman with a heart full of hope and goodness, a tough country girl that’s a natural born hunter, and the college freshman whose real skill appears to be that of a natural born, reluctant leader. And frankly, through the course of the book, there isn’t a TON of character development.

If you are looking for a story with deep character arcs where you get to enjoy a character discovering who they are, learning something, or experiencing some sort of profound growth… this isn’t it.

I think this is more due to the limitations of telling the story by jumping back and forth through the different character POV’s, and honestly, with this story it kind of just works. The Apocalypse Seven is kind of like a summer blockbuster movie(in fact it would probably make a super fun film) where it exists for the sole purpose of entertainment and fun.

I’ve been playing this game called DayZ, it’s a zombie survival horror in a post apocalyptic world. And whenever I’m playing I find myself thinking about this book. While the book has nothing to do with zombies, things DO get plenty weird for our seven before the end of the book.

I don’t want to spoil anything, so I know this comment will seem a bit vague, however you’ll have to trust me on this. There ARE moments in this book where you’re going to find yourself rolling your eyes saying things like “Well isn’t THAT convenient”. There’s a reason for it, or at least most of it, just stick with the story. You’ll be treated to an ending that is at once satisfying, frustrating, and will leave you wanting to know more. But most importantly, the ending leaves you with a question, one that I’ve enjoyed thinking about on and off since I finished the book. I won’t say anymore so as to avoid spoilers, but it’s an interesting little wormhole to chew on for a bit.

Overall, The Apocalypse Seven by Gene Doucette is a fast paced, post apocalyptic romp that never gets TOO heavy or deep, yet weaves a fun balance of intense survival and the less intense exploration. While any apocalypse story likely falls under the sci-fi and possibly horror blankets, this story reads more like an adventure with a pretty weird sci-fi slant, especially by the final act.

The characters, while not super deep and lacking any big character story arcs, are enjoyable and relatable and serve the story well. Though I still wish I could see this same story told through the eyes of just one or two of the seven versus jumping back and forth between all of them.

It’s not perfect, but it’s fun. And at the end of the day, sometimes that’s all a good story needs to be.

3.5 out of 5 stars (rounded to 4 stars on Goodreads)


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