Book review: From the Ashes (Extinction Cycle) – Michael Patrick Hicks

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I approached this novella with a little trepidation after recently reading and being disappointed with ‘Hell Divers’ – the latest series of post-apocalyptic books from Nicholas Sansbury Smith, but I know that Michael can spin a good yarn, so in I went, armed to the teeth and ready to rock!

In a world where a biological virus has turned most of the population into monsters a small team of rangers enter war-torn Detroit to rescue any remaining survivors. I haven’t read any of the ‘Extinction Cycle’ books and you don’t really need to in order to enjoy this full throttle, action-packed tale where people are torn limb-from-limb and devoured by the once human citizens of Detroit. The monsters aren’t the only problem our fearless rangers face as gangs of youths are also patrolling the streets.

I can well imagine that ‘From the Ashes’ will be very well received by fans of the ‘Extinction Cycle’ books, and I really enjoyed it as well. The novella length works really well for this type of book. I am not sure I could take 300+ pages of this but here I was glued to my Kindle and finished it in two sittings. Don’t get too attached to any of the characters as many won’t live. The action scenes are believable and well-written, fast and furious without being drawn out for too long. So often I find military sci-fi books fall down with their over reliance of macho man stereotyping and terrible dialogue, fortunately Hicks doesn’t, instead his dialogue is realistic and doesn’t make you cringe. Winner!

The monsters in this are ferocious, blood-thirsty and fast, they butcher without any feeling or remorse and there are some truly gut-wrenching scenes to be read. There is a feeling of helplessness to proceedings as the city of Detroit is overrun and our brave rangers seem to be on a hiding to nothing. I’m making it sound a little grim, aren’t I?

It’s safe to say I dug this novella, Hicks is a more than competent writer of this type of fiction. His attention to detail, especially with regard to weaponry and tactical manoeuvres is first class and he clearly has a passion for this type of writing. I certainly enjoyed this a lot more than ‘Hell Divers’ and fans of military sci-fi/horror shouldn’t hesitate in picking this up.

Buy a copy of ‘From the Ashes’ from here.

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