The comparisons with Robert McCammon’s Swan Song and Stephen King’s The Stand stop with both being apocalyptic fiction. Well maybe a good versus evil theme too. And size. Both are long reads filled with lots of characters.
I won’t go into further comparison between the two. I will stick with Swan Song and I will keep this short. I started out loving this book. Why? Because I could escape into fantasy for a bit. Written in 1987 present day we had WWIII – The Russians nuked us and from there on survival of the fittest. Some parts were cringed worthy like the K-Mart games (you’ll have to read it to find out) and some characters were the epitome of evil – Colonel Macklin (King) and Roland the King’s Knight. But there was Swan and her gentle giant protector Josh, later on adding Rusty to the crew. Eventually meeting up with Sister Creep and Paul … all representing the good.
I was all set to give 5 stars but then I read a few reviews. Some astute readers called out the fact that team good were pretty people dare I say beautiful and team evil were ugly. You might think well duh? J-Dub that’s usually true BUT and it’s a BIG BUT we are talking about purely physical beauty.
After the bombs were dropped some of the main characters developed these awful growths on their faces called Job’s mask. Eventually they went into a feverish sleep and the “mask” broke off revealing their true selves. They were healed and ready for battle. If you were beautiful on the inside you became beautiful on the outside too and vice versa for the evil folks.
Ugh, so much for keeping in short. I thought about that. Comment after comment from Good Reads and Amazon. Still overall rated high but those giving 1 or 2 stars had a point. The collective “we” judge based on exterior appearance. All the damn time. And this hurts my heart because I know people struggling with issues of self esteem and worse. So I asked myself why couldn’t the heroine Swan have been just your average American girl? Isn’t it how you treat people that matters most? Why do we put so much emphasis on looks? Spoken like a true ugly person. And I know that’s what some people out there think.
But you can’t win for losing. So I will end rant, stepping off my soap box. If you like apocalyptic fiction, check out Swan Song. Overall I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.
As always, more to come.