“Branching Out” Fall of Cities Part 3 by Vance Huxley

I confess to being rather disappointed at this third book in the series. It just doesn’t seem to go anywhere.

Every novel has a section or two, usually at about the one-third point, called the “fun and games” part. This is where the author explores the premise of the book: what made the reader pick up the book in the first place. If it’s a story about people who can fly, this means there is a part about flying, because that’s what stirred the reader’s imagination. In a book called “Fall of Cities,” there ought to be a part to appeal to the survivalist in all of us. How will they feed themselves? How will they protect themselves? How will they find ammunition, weapons, and fuel and parts for their vehicles?

All very well, but not for most of the book. These small individual conflicts have tension and drama in them, but there is not enough overall development of the plot of the series to keep us interested. The increasing threat of the cadre that has overthrown the government of Great Britain is glacial in its development. This leaves the story to be filled with details of gardening and rabbit keeping, of dealing with the personalities of the various gang members from the surrounding enclaves. And mainly of the increasingly unlikely and juvenile sexual innuendo that permeates the conversation and atmosphere of the only enclave where women are safe from male predation. In general, very tame.

But not the fight scenes:vivid, bloody, and tense as they should be for this genre. However, these two battles are huge massacres, with bullets, arrows, bombs, Molotov cocktails, and napalm being sprayed liberally on screaming victims. Not for the squeamish. Quite out of keeping with the tone of the rest of the novel.

And then there’s Huxley’s annoying habit of peppering his dialogue with question marks at the end of statements. You can tell I’m not rapt with the story when details like that start to offend me. It’s a good effect, but should be used with great discretion.

This book is decently written and proof-read well enough. It could just use a firm developmental edit to put the storyline on a steeper and smoother conflict curve.

Recommended for survivalists and weapons fanatics. Most action/adventure readers will find it bland, I’m afraid.

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

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