By: Madeline Claire Franklin
Publish Date: January 21, 2014, Audiobook July 13, 2015
Format: Audiobook - 8 hrs 7 mins
Narrated By: Maria Marquis
Genre: Science Fiction, Apocalyptic
Series: Stand Alone
Impression: Kids surviving a changed world for years, and a city that's haunted by it's ghost.
Kiddo survives—it’s what she does best. And since the world ended, staying alive is a useful skill to have.
She and her found-sister, Princess, have created a home for themselves in the forest, and a refuge for the other children who survived the end. Hunting animals, harvesting herbs, treating wounds—this is what Kiddo remembers of her life Before, and little else.
But the young man they call the Saver claims to remember everything, even when the rest of the children who survived cannot. He speaks of what came Before when he leads the survivors to his island city, making promises of abundance and hope. But even the Saver’s memories can’t explain the wrongness of their world. They can’t explain why ghosts stream through the woods every night under the same full moon, or why there is a fire in the Burning End of the city that has blazed, unchanged, for nearly a decade.
Regardless of what the others believe, Kiddo knows one thing for certain: the city is going to sink someday. She can’t explain it—not without remembering. And since the world came to an end, taking memories and lives in equal measure, remembering is the one hardship Kiddo has not been forced to endure.
But the city wants Kiddo to remember: at the heart of the fire in the Burning End is a story that only Kiddo can tell—and only Kiddo can finish.
Kiddo watches the city burn.
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My Thoughts and Summary:
*This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBlast dot com, at my request.
Kiddo lives off the land. She and Princess provide a safe home for many kids who come looking for the concrete city. They come looking for what they miss in the world now, stories of salvation, food, and comfort. The world is harsh for the survivors. Things are not as some remember, which most forget the biggest part of their lives. Many have disappeared, leaving the kids to live. The lure of the city doesn't pull on Kiddo. There is something in the recesses of her mind that pushes her from the city, yet there's something to it as well. She believes the cement city on the island will sink and she doesn't believe the silver tongued Savior that welcomes the kids into his town. The ghosts that have started to arrive and roll toward the concrete city each evening start to come closer to her home as they pass. For her found-sister Princess, who she found and raised for the last 8 or 9 years, Kiddo is finally willing to make a trip into the city for a few days visit.
The narrator is full of emotions as she tells the story. Yes, she tells the story not just reads it. She lives the hard moments. Maria glides through the well written words of Madeline's adding the flow and pacing to them that brings each word to light. The voice differences aren't a big jump between the characters but there is a slight tone difference, however there is one character with a subtle Southern accent that Maria does do. The biggest difference is the feel of personality in the voices, the worry and curiosity in each character. Madeline has three dimensional characters, Maria's emotions bring those character to a higher level.
I'm sucked in by how Madeline takes glided steps toward the directions the characters and stories go. It's a wonderful talent to glide along to come to where we need to be with all things with such grace, and the characters realizations fall in perfect alliance with the events. The beginning struck me as it's written like poetry and Maria's narration and pacing cinches this feel making it a colorful vision in our minds. The book carries this feel and vision the whole way through.
I really like how Kiddo is written. She's strong and silent. She doesn't come across as a leader but one that knows how to survive and will share that knowledge with anyone that chooses to stay and learn. Her thoughts and actions are solid, you know exactly what she's thinking by how she stands or reacts no matter how small an action it is.
This world is mesmerizing! About each chapter shares something new and it's captivating how the world is opposite than what you expect. Children have survived 'the event' yet no bodies were ever found of those who didn't survive. There are ghostly apparitions that come out of the forest at one spot every night. The moon is almost always full, the river flows North one day then South the next, the city always burns but never expands from it's spot, and it's always summer. And so much more!
Oh the feels...I felt for these kids through out the book. They don't all have the easiest life now, or even before. And they are all part of one another's lives now, whether they like it or not. Madeline's story has me tearing up a few times toward the end. The things Kiddo has seen and lived through, and still doing so, along with the connection to Noah (The Savior) and Princess... the events of the world... just gripped me and didn't let go.
There are still curiosities left open at the end of the book, but I accepted them. This book felt more character driven and centered, and Madeline has created people here that will be felt by the reader. I think this book would be enjoyed by Adult and YA alike. The children do not come across as childish or petty, they are much stronger than that.
This book struck me as one that people who read The Harvest by Melanie Karsak would enjoy. Not necessarily in the story items, like zombies because they are not here, but in the story telling fashion with the characters development in this story.