The Nothing Within

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 15 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

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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Scary book about the future.  This could really happen.   I enjoyed the plot.  I liked the characters and the pace of book.
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