I can’t tell for certain if author Thomas Koloniar was influenced by the story The Road. There, something happens, something that causes earthquakes, clouds the sky, and slowly kills off all plants and animals. As for the humans, well, they are forced to snack on the “other white meat”.
Here, we know it’s a meteor. We see it coming as we establish our characters and then it hits – boom, and that’s pretty much it. One group is in a well-stocked missile complex, one set is in Hawaii (with the US Fleet and controlled borders) and a smaller group is kicking around in the gloom.
I’m not sure why The Road (the book, but somewhat true for the movie as well) came off so starkly horrifying with the concept. There, I could smell the smoke, feel the penetrating cold, sense the horror of the hunted. Cannibal Reign gets most of the way there, but not quite. It’s horrifying and scary in visually interesting (and enough to make me seriously think about my own game I’ve been planning with a friend for a year or so now) but it just missed the mark by a sliver.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s a fun read and worth a look by any Apocalypse fans (at least it isn’t about zombies).
One technically thing (and again, I’m guessing) is that there was a bit of a character shift – almost like half the novel got a rewrite. We’re introduced to a character who comes off as bloody ruthless, that he’ll casually order the killing of the realtor who sold him his silo and grimly pronounce that his team might have to kill off their own diabetic member. But then, after the rock comes down, he’s caring and sympathetic and all about listening. I actually flipped back and looked over the intro again, just to be sure it was the same guy. Maybe I read it wrong, or maybe the editor looked at the writer’s my-way-or-the-highway main character and told him to tone it down (rather like Firefly’s Captain Malcolm Reynolds). But that’s the writer’s way – we write, you decide.
Anyway, I’ll rank it a couple of life-extinguishing asteroids – a fun read by an author we’ll keep an eye on in the future (especially if a sequel hits the shelves). Have a peek!