The Nothing Within

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 15 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

I found this one difficult to get through. Perhaps it was the plot, or maybe it was just me. The author seemed to be very good, and it would be engaging to anyone it appeals to.
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I'm so sorry ..... I wanted to like this book.  The premise is so interesting, and I wanted to see how the author was going to tie everything together.
But ...... I just couldn't finish the book.  The threads, the wandering, the pace of it -- I tried my best, but I just couldn't find my feet, and finally just quit in confusion.
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I really loved this book!! It was a great post apocalyptic  story with well written characters that had you cheering for them all the way!
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I’m not partial to post-apocalyptic stories but Giesler’s fresh and unusual take on the subject won me over. The Nothing Within is the first rural dystopia I’ve ever read.

An apocalyptic event known as The Reckoning has wiped out civilization in North America leaving only few rural communities cut off from the outside world. Their inhabitants live simple lives filled with menial tasks and rarely travel outside their villages. It’s too dangerous as chimeras, violent hybrid creatures, roam the wilds. The reasons for travel include buying food and breeding - interbreeding in a small village would lead to troubles and disabled children.

Root is a blind young woman who struggles to fit in, but she’s too curious and too straightforward for her own good. When she hears a voice in her head, the Nothing within her stirs and gives her serious enhancements (increased speed and strength, and more, but I won’t spoil it to you). The Nothing within is… well, I can’t tell you what it is as the author reveals it near the end of the book.

The Nothing Within blends fantasy with science-fiction. The story develops in two timelines - present and past one. The main arc focuses on Root trying to survive and understand what’s happening to her and who she really is. The other one presents events that lead to the Reckoning. Clues and important data are scattered throughout both narratives. While I appreciate it intellectually I also admit that the past storyline lacked a strong lead with a distinct voice Root has. 

Root is an excellent, if unreliable, storyteller. She often admits that her memory isn’t what it used to be, and it plays tricks on her. We’ll never know if and to what extent the time has warped her recollection of the events. She narrates the story of her life to a gathering of listeners. 

Giesler has created fascinating rustic, spartan, and ordered world shaped by Amish principles, something I rarely see in fiction. I liked the character development as well. Both Root and Ruth Troyer start as weak and naïve, but develop inner strength and become the leaders of their communities. As cliche as it may sound, the skillful use of POV makes it a pleasure to read. The uniqueness of the setting coupled with strong characterization make The Nothing Within intriguing and satisfying. 

Giesler takes time to develop the world and characters, though, so the pacing in the first half-of the book feels off. Things get together well, but you’ll need patience to get through parts of the text. 

While I enjoyed the blend of fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and mystery I also think that sometimes Giesler tried too hard to include a social commentary about dangers of bioengineering and science. I like simplicity but I also choose to believe science can do more good than bad in the longer run. Everything depends on who and how uses it and unfortunately those who have access to powerful tools aren’t always the people for the task.
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The Nothing Within
by Andy Giesler 
A breath of fresh air in a post apocalyptic genre. Based of the idea of technology being mans down fall. This encompassing book looks at the world after technology turns on us. Scientist finding the idea that nano bots could fix the human body is appealing. This book should serve like Issac Asimov, as a caution of mankind's inability to predict the outcome of their achievement. The world has come to a Reckoning. The nano tech with in, can spread from host to host, and some of it is not benign, but malignant in is perversion of the code. Warping the mind and body of its victims, it has become a danger to all men. The robotic parts of the technology ignore their basic code, they ignore their route commands.  This is why there needed to be a reckoning, they needed to turn off the nano bots in the world. The balance of control and chaos is difficult. The resilience of human nature, is a testament in this book, the ability of men to pass knowledge from one generation to another through stories. It is the truth of the stories that will enable man to survive.
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A phenomenal post-apocalyptic story about the resilience of human nature and the dangers of ignorance in an attempt to protect people from themselves. The main character was unique, opinionated, brave, and intelligent. Supporting characters were incredibly real, gritty with hard truths and poignant illustrations of humanity. Honestly, I couldn't put it down. The mysteries of the past were slowly uncovered as events in the present became ever more frantic. I was dying to find out what had really happened and I couldn't believe, right up until the end, that would ever turn out all right. The mix of present storytelling of past events illuminated by even more ancient events only found out later was brilliant. I couldn't recommend it more.
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This book falls into the post-apocalyptic genre. It was not exactly what I expected. 
The story is told from the main character's story-telling when she is very old.
There is something about this book, and village life, that smacks of witch-hunting (although there are no witches in the story).
This book is difficult to write about without being a spoiler. Let's just say that there are many things that are not apparent in the beginning. Many things are not explained until more than halfway through the book. You would think this would be annoying, but instead it drove me to keep reading on to find.
I loved the map - it not only gave you perspective on where places were that Root went. It also defined the World That Is very well.
But what of the World That Was? Finished the book, and just like Root, I'm not sure.
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I decided to DNF this book at around 30%. The storyteller-style narration was unique, but unfortunately, it did not work for me. The plot was not at all what I expected either, which took away from my personal enjoyment. It's not a bad story at all, though. Like I said before, I had completely different expectations going into this. This book was extremely unique. I don't think I've ever read anything like it. And from what I did read, the characters seemed really interesting. It definitely leans towards the magical-realism genre--which is a genre that I always have a difficult time reading. Basically, it wasn't the book. It was me.

Anyways, thank you so much for giving me the chance to read The Nothing Within! It was really well-written, and I'm sure it could be an enjoyable read for the right person! Good luck!
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Interesting setup for a book but I just couldn’t get into it. I felt lost from the get go and it didn’t get any clearer. I wanted to like this book the premise really intrigued me but I couldn’t get into it. DNF
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In the prologue at the beginning of The Nothing Within, by Andy Giesler, we see two characters fighting over a terrible decision. It’s not clear until later what that decision is: nullifying all of the advanced nanotechnology in the world. (And it’s not until much later that we find out why those characters made that decision.) Centuries later, a woman named Root tells the story of her life to a group of young children. So much has changed for a society that, these days, is still not allowed to develop any kind of technology beyond 1700s-level. Stories are the only way to pass on knowledge…but it appears that those stories haven’t always told the truth.

Young Root has always been on the outs with her village of Surecreek. She was born blind, which folks have been able to get used to. The bigger problems are that she asks too many questions and is too willing to push the boundaries. She loves going over the village wall to explore. She loves to practice the Shepard’s Dance (martial arts). She really wants to know more about the super-powered Shepards and the monstrous chimerae that haunt the World That Is. Still, she manages to stay just within the bounds of acceptable behavior for years until it appears that she’s either going to develop her own super powers or that she might turn into a monster.

While Root tries to figure out what to do with herself, we get chapters from the diary of an Amish woman who is dealing with the fall out from the decision to turn off all the tech. Being Amish, Ruth herself doesn’t have much truck with advanced technology. But because the Amish seem to be the only people who know how to get along without, Ruth’s community becomes a target for “strays” who want food and shelter and for the strays who want to take over and create a little empire for themselves.

I was less interested in the lost technology or the event that created a dystopia. The Nothing Inside doesn’t dwell too much on this; a lot of the tech remains mysterious. This is a good idea, given how glutted the bookstores are with dystopias. Being the story-obsessed person that I am, I was hooked by the way that Ruth’s story became Root’s mythology. I loved seeing how a society created itself from Amish plainness, a new origin story, and lots and lots of time. The fact that all of this is wrapped around one of my favorite kick-ass, funny female characters I’ve seen in a while. I really, really liked Root. I loved sitting at her metaphorical feet, listening to her adventures.
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This was a page turner! It was really hard to put down.

It's a rather thought provoking story about the end of the world.
Told through the voice of two strong women, Ruth Troyer and Root, and even though they lived thousand of years apart, it blended gorgeously.

My opinion? Wow, just WOW.
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I am quite a big fan of post apocalyptic, dystopian type novels and consequently have read a great many. I have to say that this won't go down as one of my favourites.
I think the main problem was the writing style. There are different threads in different times periods - something I am quite happy with in books. There are also a variety of "source" materials - media, diaries etc - again something I usually like in a book. However, I felt the use of both their storytelling methods left the story slightly disjointed & I failed to get really involved in the book or the characters.
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Title:   The Nothing Within
Author:   Andy Giesler
Genre:   Dystopian
Rating:   4 out of 5

In 2161, the world changed. The first chimera appeared, and a year later, twelve billion people were dead. Those that remained called it the Reckoning, and as they struggled to survive in their hostile new world—the World That Is—they became different. More withdrawn. Less tolerant of anyone who was different, anyone who might harbor the Nothing within themselves, bringing danger to all inside the walls that encircle their villages.

Root is the daughter of a Weaver—a village guardian—and her blindness isn’t the only thing that sets her apart. So does her curiosity, her questions about everything around her. For the tradition-bound people she knows, that is her worst offense. Until one day Root hears a voice no one else hears, and soon she’s on a journey to find out the truth about herself, her world, and what happened in the Reckoning that shapes who she is now.
	
It took me a little bit to get into The Nothing Within. Dystopian fiction set in Amish country? I’ve never even considered the idea, and it kept me hooked. The world here is so unique that it kept my attention, even when I was a bit confused early on. Root is a fascinating character. Her blindness doesn’t stop her, and even gives her more abilities than she’d otherwise have. This is a great read for anyone who just wants to settle into a longer story and get to know a new world.

Andy Giesler lives in Wisconsin. The Nothing Within is his debut novel.

(Galley provided by Humble Quill LLC in exchange for an honest review.)
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I enjoyed this dystopian novel. It's been a while since I've read the genre and I was worried it would feel like many others, since the market was flooded with this genre a few years ago. But it wasn't. I found the plot to be pretty original. I loved how the pacing was fast without being rushed. I connected with the main protagonist. Really rooted for Root. The writing itself was also a strong point. I'm hoping there will be more. I would reccomend to fans of the genre.
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There are both things I like, and things I dislike about this book. More like than dislike though.

As a general rule I don't do a synopsis as they are typically covered much better by others so I will stick to my impressions. First, the opening of the book was pretty engaging, and got me interested in figuring out exactly what was going on without revealing too much. The tale is split primarily into 3 timelines; present, recent past, and distant past all interspersed within each other alternating between chapters. The weaving (pun!) of those chapters was well done and built a cohesive story that came together pretty well without revealing too much too early. My biggest grievance, mostly personal taste, is with the present timeline sections in how they are seemingly fourth wall breaking. They are filled with the main character telling the tales of the recent and distant past. I don't particularly care for one way conversation where I am "spoke" to as though I am part of the crowd/audience and inferring the other side of the conversation that isn't written because I "know" what is said. I found those sections to be a little jarring and I had a little trouble staying immersed for them, fortunately they were usually kept pretty short before jumping back into the tale.

From a story/plot standpoint, I found it to be pretty solid and easy to sit turning page after page. I can't say it was life changing, or a top book I would recommend to friends, but I did definitely enjoy it and have no regrets about the time spent reading it. Overall a good book that would give me the confidence to read future books by the author.
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Wow. That was incredible. A post-apocalyptic tale set in an Amish community following Root, a young woman forging her own path in the world.
It has been left open for a sequel. Can't wait!
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The Nothing Within is certainly a page turning. Both in that it is a gripping read and that there are 32 titles pages. 

I prefer shorter reads, 300 pages or so is what I generally pick up. This being over 500 pages was a bit off-putting for me, but it is a quick and easy read. It is enjoyable and well put together. Narration wise, it was not what I was expecting… and at times I did not enjoy, but I did receive an uncorrected proof which may have pending edits. 

I enjoyed Andy Giesler writing style and tone. I recommend it.
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I like this story quite a lot. It is written in a long-winded and freewheeling style that usually I find abhorrent. Somehow, that same narrative style is part of the charm of the story. The backbone of the narrative is presented in the voice of a young woman from a far distant future, relating her tale in the first person. It switches occasionally to the third person, where other voices work as a sort of chorus. (I find that particular point disconcerting, but it didn't detract terribly from the story.)

I'll not give away any plot points. Part of the joy is piecing together who is who and what roll each person plays in the story. (It is complex and spans many generations.)  But I will say the narrator is a funny, charming, and appealing character, who serves as the main protagonist of the tale. She has great grit and determination (both qualities I admire in a main character) and is both unusually forgiving and ruthlessly merciless as circumstance demand. Those shifts of her personality always are natural and understandable. 

The science of the story might be difficult to believe, but it is anchored in place by good writing, compelling characters, and great wit and humor. 

I generally don't like tales what could even loosely be called Dystopian, but if you do, I think you'll like this. I recommend it.
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I'm not the best person to give a review for this book, as the writing style, whilst valid and we'll written is just something I don't get on with. This book is written like a series of snippets from media sources - articles, posters, suchlike, and it tell the story through them.
If you like this, then you'll very much enjoy this book. I find it unreadable, but that is nothing to do with the content. 
So I'll not write a full review as it wouldn't be fair to the author.
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90 points, 4 ¾ stars!
Warning: weird almost non-consensual, almost consensual sex?

Blurb:

What unforgivable sin would you commit to save the world?

In 2161, the first chimera arose. A year later, twelve billion people were dead. The few who survived called it the Reckoning.

Generations later, their descendants hide within the walls of small, rustic villages, cowering from chimeras. They revere tradition. They fear innovation. They mistrust anything that’s different.

Root couldn’t be more different.

Curious and irreverent, she disquiets her village. Blind daughter of the village guardian, she stands apart. Frustrated with a wall-bound life, she grudgingly accepts it—until she hears the voice that no one else can hear.

Root's journey will take her into the wilds to discover the truth: that her world has been twisted by people trying to save it. And her choices will determine whether humankind's last ember flickers out.

A rural-dystopian novel exploring post-apocalyptic Amish country, a society shaped by fear, and private choices that remake the world. 

Available on Amazon on June 14th, 2019. Preorder now!

Review:

The Nothing Within is not my usual type of story. I just plain don't typically go for dystopia. It just isn't a genre I typically enjoy too much. However, when I do find one I can like, I tend to love it. This was one such book. I loved The Nothing Within for all the things it did that others won't, or can't, do.

Come to think of it, I don't typically enjoy the storyteller narration style, either. Yet, Root telling all that was and all that is and getting around to what is to come? This time, the way Andy Giesler does it, well just worked for me this time It was just plain well done. Root tells her life, or at least a portion of it, within the pages of The Nothing Within. It isn't a pretty nor glamorous life. The way Root tells it, it is just a normal life and she did a few things that weren't so normal.

I really liked the main character, Root. She is great. Headstrong and asks way too many questions that the adults won't (or can't) answer. She is not willing to back down for anything, even though she knows it makes the others fear and hate her. Even when she knows it would be smart, she doesn't. Root is also blind. Which doesn't stop her in whatever she wants to do. Which is typically things that seeing people are afraid to do.

The Nothing Within isn't a happy story. Nor is it depressing, and it didn't send me into despair. In fact, if we are to believe Root, the story just is. Root does a good job of telling the story so that you aren't overloaded with all of the hell she goes through. She just presents the story as if it's just something everyone would go through. It isn't what anyone else would go through, because Root is quite special and way too stubborn, but she is very humble about it. Perhaps too humble, because giiiirl you have gone through some shit. Own it!

The story shifts between past and present, sometimes in the same sentence. There are also two levels of past: root's childhood and the time of Reckoning, when the world broke itself. The distant past is interesting, as we see how society starts to form itself into what we end up with by the time Root is a child. Then there is the time that is "now" when Root is telling the story about her past. Sometimes, Root will talk about both the then and now in the same paragraph, which was a bit confusing when it first started happening. There are also little bits of songs or tales told in between the rest of the narration. The storyteller narration was used well, even if I didn't like it in the beginning it grew on me by the end.

There is one scene about a third of the way through that I just can't get over, and I need to talk about. It involves sex and it is....bizarre. I don't even know how to categorise it.  I nearly quit the book over it, even. Fortunately for the book, and for me, the scene ends "well", even if it left a lasting impression on me. From that scene onwards, nothing else like it comes up again (thankfully), and the book got even better from that point onwards. Just, getting through that scene...yikes!

I just really loved the story in The Nothing Within. I loved the high technology reasons in a low technology world. I loved the way the knowledge has shifted over the millenia. I loved the fact that Root is blind, and she is getting by in a world that is quite hostile to her. I just really liked the book, and I'm glad I read it. Even if I don't typically care for dystopia, I cared for this.

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Andy Giesler, Humble Quill LLC, and Netgalley for providing the opportunity to review this copy!
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