Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Review: " Swan Song" by Robert McCammon
I think it must be really hard to write a novel about the end of the world. There are certain beats you must hit no matter what, and most of what you encounter in them has been seen before. It may make for an interesting read, but I’d argue, at least from the knowledge I have gathered myself, that some of these books are not very rewarding. For every book like The Stand, you get something like this, Robert McCammon’s Swan Song, a book that shares a bit of the former’s reputation, but at least to me, shares none of its quality. From its dry opening to a rather confusing and disengaging final third half, this book made me feel empty after finishing all 856 pages of it, and even with a few scenes that piqued my interest, this book felt like one prolonged dud to me. The opening does little to help at first, although I applaud the humanizing of the US president in the face of world, the dull discussions contrasting nicely with his inner panic as countries threaten to bomb one another. Predictably, they do, and the few survivors, predictably, have to start life over, one of whom, named Swan, as a special power that allows her to bring things back to life. Her story is the most interesting because it involves a friend she makes named Josh, who is a wrestler, and an incident in a K-Mart that is the nightmarish highlight of this book. But in the second half, and a jarring time jump, this book totally lost me, becoming more like Lord of the Rings than The Stand. Some people like that, but it really isn’t my cup of tea. The climactic battle between a rogue army and the few good survivors is a letdown, along with the sappy ending. I liked McCammon’s novel The Five quite a bit, and am surprised at how plain this book is, and how disappointing it ultimately was.