The Bookshelf: As I Walk These Broken Roads

Aurini over at Stares at the World has written a post-apocalyptic novel called As I Walk These Broken Roads. I don’t normally review the fiction I read on here, but Aurini is a part of the manosphere/alt-right blogosphere, so I thinks it’s relevant to the blog.

The books is set in post-nuclear holocaust Ontario. The setting is enjoyable; Aurini built a believeable post-apocalyptic world to set his story in. I look forward to the rest of the series where the origins of this world are more fully explored.

The book centres around Wentworth, a mysterious, deadly loner who beings his quest wandering in the figurative desert. Wentworth is a solid, but not particularly original, take on the hypercompetent anti-hero archetype. I like that her was a realistically hypercompetent anti-hero. He never becomes a self-parody and remains solidly in the realm of beleivability, which given the nature of the setting is important. A James Bond or Mike Harmon type would’ve been out of place. As the story progresses Wentworth becomes more fleshed out and takes on more depth. He’s a strong lead for the book.

The other main character is Raxx, a mechanic in a small-town who hasn’t been fully accepted into his adopted home. He has somewhat more depth than Wentworth and complement the main character quite well. Overall, he’s a good character; not as “cool” as Wentworth, but more relatable and “human”.

The villains fit their purposes well and are fairly well developed; their motivations and actions are heinous and interesting, but never unbeleivable. The other minor characters don’t have much depth, but they fill their roles adequately.

Overall, the book is well written. Aurini writes in a straight-forward style with just enough style to pull you in. The action scenes are realistic and well-written. The dialogue is solid and beleivable, while the philosophical conversations are interseting, but never extend too long or interfere with the story.

The book’s story is divided into three general arcs:

The first arc extends over the first few chapters and introduces the setting and characters. This arc is solid and moderately entertaining but not overly engrossing. It functions well as an introduction and leads nicely into the main arc, but is somewhat lacking a certain je ne sais quoi. It feels like Aurini was finding his fiction writing style during this arc.

The second arc comprises the bulk of the book and contains the main storyline. The story picks up here and it was thoroughly enjoyable. The story and villains are excellent. This arc is fantastic, it read like Aurini really got the hang of writing fiction by this point. Whatever the first little arc was missing, Aurini found it here.

The third arc comprises the last few chapters. I thought it was somewhat unnecessary, the book should really have ended after the main storyline was resolved with maybe a short epilogue.  The last part extends the book with adding much to it; I started to lose interest and left the book for a few days, before finishing off the last couple chapters. It seems to have been included as a set-up for the next book in the series, but I think a short epilogue would have set the stage better.

Overall, the book was really good output by Aurini. It started wobbly, but really picked up steam and I ended up thoroughly enjoying it. I am definitely purchasing the next book in the series whenever Aurini releases it.

Recommendation:

This was a good book; if you like the genre or the concept interests you, pick the book up. It is a entertaining read and definitely worth the time investment.

If you don’t care for post-apocalyptic science fiction and the concept of the book doesn’t interest you, the book probably won’t change your mind.

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