Less by Caroline Angel

Suzie Eisfelder

Last year we headed out to Bendigo for BendiCon. I really love these smaller conventions. They have a great feel and you can tell people are out to have a good time. I spoke to all the authors I could see, but not the artists…maybe next time. Caroline Angel was there, she assured me there was no romance in her book so I bought it. I do love a good horror and this is no exception.

The premise of this book is that something ‘unexplained’ happens and most of the people disappear. What comes in through the ‘unexplained’ is horrible. This is the story of those who are left behind. It’s how they cope, deal with the horrible and look at the possible explanations for the ‘unexplained’.

I made no notes about this book. There was nothing that stood out and made me write a note for later. One of the reasons for that is because I was totally engaged in my reading. It’s well put together and just kept me wanting more.

It’s really interesting to note how authors choose leaders in situations like this. I quite liked how Angel shows us that Sam is competent even though his family think he’s not. Everyone seems to trust him implicitly, and he just falls into the role. We do get the obligatory ‘I don’t need to be in charge’, but no-one seems to listen to that.

I really like how the dogs know what’s going on. They sound the alarm when the horrible comes around and help keep the people safe. It’s because the dogs are barking that they know which people not to trust, and which people aren’t really people.

I quite like Miguel. He stepped up and got the television station working. Miguel was only a student, working part time as a cameraman, but he got in front of the camera and as people joined him he started acting as the anchor to the world’s sanity. People sent in text messages from wherever they were in the world which he and his team then retyped onto the screen. He stayed in this position until the electricity went down, and then he found his way to Sam and his team. I can’t tell you what happened to everyone else with him because of spoilers, but there’s a new name for racists!

I know I was told there isn’t any romance in this book, but there is. It’s not much and dealt with quite sensitively. If you like a bit of gay romance, there’s only a bit. But it’s more bi than gay. And it has the same problems that romance in any dystopian fiction has for me. People thrown in together tend to fall in as couples because they’ve been through the same problems. It’s shared experiences and they mistake that for love. So I’m not sure that’s it love, but I didn’t mind it.

Angel seems to have a handle on leaving us hanging at the end of chapters. Although I only noticed one cliffhanger, it was a doozy and I was stressed until I found out what really happened. And while I didn’t really want the visuals she gives us in this chapter, I understand they’re true to life. It’s entirely possible there are more cliffhangers in other chapters, but I was so engaged I didn’t notice.

We see three types of people in this book. Racists who don’t want someone who isn’t white telling the world what’s happening, thanks Miguel. Those who want to recreate a patriarchial society. And those who just want people to get along. You’ll guess which one we focus on in this book.

Am I saying this is a good book? Absolutely, I’ll be interested to see Angel at other conventions so I can get more of her books. Am I saying the premise behind this book sounds logical? Actually, I’ve said nothing of the sort, but maybe I should have said that. Not sure about the disappearance of everyone else but the rest hangs together. But you do need something to hang the survival of the survivors onto, some catalyst to start the ball rolling. Therefore, I’m not quibbling about this.

If you want to find out why I’m excited about this author you can look at her website to buy her books.

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