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The Savage Boy by Nick Cole
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The Savage Boy

by Nick Cole

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The Savage Boy had me speculating the whole time on possible apocalyptic futures. The protagonist recently lost his traveling partner…I don’t know what else to call him, maybe a parental figure? Anyways, he was an old soldier that took care of him and taught him the ways of this post apocalyptic America. He gives him a mission, on his death bed, that he is supposed to travel to California and tell the remaining military that there is no government left in Washington. Even though this character is dead at the beginning of the story, he was a strong character and I really felt his presence through the whole thing. I thought that was really well done the way Cole pulled that off.

The Savage Boy starts out so promising. It has a very somber but determined tone. What I don’t get is why this “Boy” doesn’t have a name. The old soldier always called him “Boy” so I guess that is his name on a way. I don’t know why that bugged me so much, it just did. Cole uses it to his advantage later at the end, trying to prove the point that the Boy has to decide for himself who he was and not let others do it for him, but personally he was a very strong individual to survive at all in that post apocalyptic America let alone by himself.

I liked all the struggles Boy goes thru the first half of the book. But the after the middle of the book my interest quickly dwindled. Mostly I think it is because I didn’t think some of it was realistic. After just 40 years for society to have dwindled down to that many dialects and tribes. Maybe I’m an optimist. Ultimately I think whether a reader would like this depends on if they like tragic endings or happy endings. Me, personally, I was in the mood for a little light at the end of the dark tunnel and didn’t get it. ( )
  Pabkins | Jun 24, 2014 |
When I first started reading “The Savage Boy” by Nick Cole, I didn’t think I would like it nearly as much as his previous book, “The Old Man and the Wasteland,” but surprisingly, it was just as good, if not better.

I’ve read a number of post-apocalyptic novels over the years, and I enjoy (if there is such a thing as enjoying a wasteland due to thermonuclear bombing) the setting Cole has given us very much, along with the voice he uses for his characters. While coming across as somewhat detached, Boy and his story, much like The Old Man, pulls you in and allows you to share an intimacy that is different from the way many stories are written.

While I wasn’t happy about some of the things that happened in the novel (it’s the darn romantic in me that is crushed over and over when things don’t go the way we want them to…and why should they when the United States has basically turned into a barbaric mess), I still highly recommend it. And I did love the ending.

Cole has a third novel in this series called “The Road is a River.” Disappointingly, you have to buy an omnibus containing all three books to get the last. My advice is to buy the omnibus if you like post-apocalyptic settings, so that you don’t end up like me with having bought the first two, only to have to pay for both of them again in the collection. If you want to see what his writing style is like, you can click on the cover at the top of the Amazon page and read the first 10 percent of the book. As for me, I still have hope that “The Road is a River” will become available as a standalone. ( )
  Ed_Gosney | Feb 15, 2014 |
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