Swan Song
By Charlie Goodrich Friday, 23 May 2008

I am going to review a book. Now, before you click the back button and see if anyone reviewed a videogame or movie, let me just say this book is better than any videogame

I have played this year. It has been a long time since a book has captured my attention like Robert McCammon’s Swan Song, but there are many likable elements to this work. McCammon delves into the subject of man’s demise via a nuclear holocaust and the determination of scattered survivors to evade the closing grasp of death. He gives a sweeping glance of how different regions in the United States are affected by the devastating Russian assault. Everything from an urban setting, provided by New York City, to the rural, represented by Kansas, is taken into account. McCammon wonderfully details this juxtaposition. You receive a vivid image of the devastation that affects the good ol’ US of A. Why does Russia attack America you may ask? No, Prime Minister Putin did not go insane and start pushing missile buttons. Swan Song was written in 1987, and if you know your history then you are aware that 1987 is during the Cold War which was waged by the United States and the Soviet Union. This time period began roughly in 1945 and ended in 1991 with the fall of Communist Russia. Neither side attacked the other but there were many instances where the fear of nuclear obliteration overtook the general populous. McCammon used this backdrop and added a twist. He took into consideration the idea that an evil force was behind all of the catastrophic events in our history, and that it was this force that existed to hunt down every last human being. This nameless and faceless entity sparks the apocalypse leaving behind him a wake of death. Thus enters our protagonists. There is a vast array of characters McCammon introduces. A large African American professional wrestler, a homeless religious nut, a shoe salesman from Detroit, a retired military colonel, a computer nerd, and a small girl with mysterious powers are some of the survivors that must fight against this strange man that wants them all dead. Each of these characters is well written and they each undergo transformations from pre to post nuclear wasteland. Some change for the better, our homeless friend uses her experiences gained from living a hard life to survive, and some change for the worst, some characters cannot mentally withstand the sudden change and succumb to madness or death. The way these characters change is engrossing, and your hand reaches effortlessly to turn the next page. When it is all said and done you shall be rewarded with an enthralling experience from start to finish. As the pages turn, the metamorphosis of the characters and world flow fluently. Places, people, and objects (nouns I suppose) are described with enough detail to create a complete image without boring you to death. A clear struggle between good and evil takes place alongside a somewhat historical context. Plus, the chapters are short so the 956 pages don’t seem as daunting. If you need a good book to read this summer, put Swan Song at the top of your list.

One Response to “Swan Song”

  1. Zach Patterson Says:

    this actually sounds pretty interesting. it’s just a shame i have to force myself to read sometimes. i’m lazy.

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