Survivor Song: Paul Tremblay
Reviewed By The Grim Reader
It makes perfect sense to release this novel with all the crazy apocalyptic shit going on in the world right now. Will Survivor Song be Tremblay’s Bohemian Rhapsody, or will it be a track from one of Roger Taylor’s solo albums? It’s the end of the world as we know it.
With praise coming from all corners of the globe, the Grim Reader went spuds-deep into Survivor Song expecting big things. I have a checkered past when it comes to Paul Tremblay’s work. There is little doubting his writing ability, but previous books I’ve found to be pedestrian at best. Still, I was excited for the end of days.
I’m happy to report Survivor Song hits the ground running. I was delighted that 20% into the story the plot was thundering along at pace. Our two lead characters, Rams and Nat are desperately searching for a cure for the rabies-like virus infecting everybody. Nat is pregnant, and the short amount of time they have to find the cure means a pulse-pounding race against time, right? The Grim Reader’s face was alight. There are no zombies to speak of, and the short incubation period of the virus kept me engaged. For once, a Paul Tremblay book had me excited!
And then…things just sort of grind to a halt.
It’s a real shame, but once Rams and Nat hit the road, Survivor Song goes from Stairway to Heaven into a sleepy lullaby. What follows is seemingly endless introspection from Rams and passages of Nat leaving messages to her unborn child. Gone is the early excitement, and instead, we get a road movie that reads like a dull Thelma and Louise.
I got on well with Rams (yes, they call each other by their nicknames which I found infuriating). Her fears for her friend and the possibility of becoming a carer for Nat’s unborn feels genuine, but Nat drove me nuts, to the point where I couldn’t care less what happened to her.
The book is split into acts. The first part is excellent, the second duller than a wet weekend in Anglesey, the third act picks up and shows improvement. The ending, though predictable, wraps things up well, but I can’t help feel the saggy middle section of this book lets it down.
Final thoughts: Survivor Song is middle of the road. A fast start meant I went too hard on the accelerator, and by midway, my car had run out of gas. And so…
2.5/5 Roger Taylor solo tracks from the Grim Reader.
When it happens, it happens quickly.
New England is locked down, a strict curfew the only way to stem the wildfire spread of a rabies-like virus. The hospitals cannot cope with the infected, as the pathogen’s ferociously quick incubation period overwhelms the state. The veneer of civilisation is breaking down as people live in fear of everyone around them. Staying inside is the only way to keep safe.
But paediatrician Ramola Sherman can t stay safe, when her friend Natalie calls her husband is dead, she’s eight months pregnant, and she’s been bitten. She is thrust into a desperate race to bring Natalie and her unborn child to a hospital, to try and save both their lives.
Their once familiar home has becoming a violent and strange place, twisted in to a barely recognisable landscape. What should have been a simple, joyous journey becomes a brutal trial.
The Grim Reader
The Grim Reader resides on the Gold Coast, Australia. A school teacher by day, a lover of dark fiction, heavy metal, Arsenal FC, bourbon and coffee at night.
The Grim Reader loves nothing more than reading and rocking.