Friday Review: Winter’s Myths by Gage Greenwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After a plague kills most of his family, Winter and his daughters, Violin and Candlestick, emerge from their underground world into a contemporary Earth where the majority of the human population has mysteriously disappeared. The few remaining humans have no idea what happened or where the rest of humanity went. There are no bodies or zombies or anything to give a clue. Everyone is simply gone. Winter and his family are completely unfamiliar with this aboveground Earth. The technology, transportation, and most everyday things we would take for granted are foreign and unknown to Winter and his girls. While struggling to understand this new world and survive the real and imagined threats they face, Winter weaves a series of tales to entertain and distract the girls from the perils of their new life. Tales in which a well-known celebrity is a demi-god engaged in battle with the other gods, and a famous past president is an ice giant. Winter trusts no one, but his girls are perhaps learning that not everything in this new world is a monster or a life-threatening danger.

This is an interesting book. It’s horror, but not extreme. It’s mythology, but inventive and new. It’s an apocalyptic survival dystopia, but with some magical twists. The fear and confusion that Winter and his girls feel at just about everything they encounter is real and palpable. The wonder when they are shown (or figure out for themselves) how something we would take for granted (a car, for instance) works flows off the pages. Winter is somewhat set in his ways, clinging to the things he was taught all his life about the evil of the humans who live on the surface, while the girls, in particular Violin, are more open to rethinking some of those beliefs. There are monsters that are truly monsters, and some that are more human.

There are some unique elements to the story here that make it stand out from other post-apocalyptic horror/fantasy stories. Winter and his girls are trained to fight and defend themselves, though we are not sure from what. They have a secret language consisting of taps that they use to communicate when needed. The reason for the girls’ odd names. Kevin Bacon, Abraham Lincoln, and Miley Cyrus- but you should find out for yourself how those fit in here. All of those things kept me reading despite some slow spots. The interspersed myths that Winter tells did disrupt the flow of the story at times, but the idea behind them is solid and the tales themselves break up the horror elements and keep the book from becoming too dark. Greenwood can tell a decent story, with characters that are drawn well, enough action to keep the story moving forward, and just enough monsters (human and otherwise) to add a good helping of suspense. It is definitely worth a read.

View all my reviews

My latest published book:

“Crossed Wires and Other Very Short Stories”. Twelve scifi and twelve fantasy short stories that can each be read in minutes. Available now Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and most other e-book retailers. More information here

I have written science fiction, fantasy, and urban fantasy stories. There are novels, novellas, and shorter pieces to fit everyone’s reading time. There are even some free stories, both here on the site and in other places. You can go here to find out more about the books I have published. They are available at Amazon, Smashwords, and most ebook retailers. Thank You

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