Friday Review: Dust: Before and After by S.E. Smith (Audiobook)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Narrated by Paul Heitsch

The Earth is devastated by a comet strike, and survivors are few. One is Dust, a sixteen-year-old boy, who finds himself alone in a ruined land. He starts out to find out if there are other survivors and he meets several- some human, some not, and some, like Dust, somewhere in between. His exposure to the comet strike left Dust with some extraordinary powers that attract the attention of one of the not-human survivors, who intends to use Dust and his new abilities to create a new species to rule the Earth. Among the human survivors he meets, Dust teams up with seventeen-year-old Sammi and her little brother, and Joise, the daughter of the leader of a survivalist group who also has enhanced powers. The four band together to cross the barren United States in the effort to outrun the beast chasing Dust, and perhaps find other survivors.

It wasn’t a bad story. The post-apocalyptic world portrayed is grim and unfriendly, which is logical given the devastation of the comet strike. The main characters are decently developed, while some of the secondary ones are a bit stereotypical. The idea of some people and animals being changed by the comet (radiation? comet dust?) is interesting, but in the end it devolves into vampires versus werewolves which is the set-up for the second book, but also leaves the final battle a bit lacking. It’s also been done before, a lot.

Despite some flaws, this is a decent story in the post-apocalyptic type. It moves along pretty quickly which is good. There are few info dumps, although I might have liked some more explanation on some points. To be fair, some of them were things that the characters themselves shouldn’t know, so not a big problem. The narration was good. Overall, it was a decent story and I would recommend it if you like YA dystopia.

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