Cover Image: Forgive Us

Forgive Us

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Member Reviews

I was offered an opportunity to review a new post-apocalyptic novel on Netgalley, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to read it.  Then I really took a look at the cover on which we see the back of a young girl facing a smoke-filled mess of a world.  What grabbed me was the stuffed bunny she was holding.  It sort of reminded me of the young girl toting a beat up teddy bear observed by Rick Grimes in the walking dead…before he realizes she’s a zombie.  For some reason, that cover made me want to read Forgive Us by E.T. Gunnarsson.  It became my summer vacation read.
	Forgive Us takes place in three separate time periods.  We first meet Oliver, a young loner who lived in the United States just prior to the death of civilization as we know it.  As the end of 2099 draws near, Oliver thinks about the apartment he once lived in and the downfall of mankind as he breathes through his gas mask, battling ever-present hunger, massive sandstorms and brainless, hungry mutants.  Oliver eventually finds other survivors and a bunker they can call home.  With these survivors, he tries to bring civilization back, but civilization and humanity are very different things.
	In the year 2154, we meet London, a man traveling through the wastelands with his adoptive daughter Rose.  London also remembers what it was like before the toxicity of a new energy source and the wars that plagued the nations destroyed the world.  He patiently teaches Rose everything he knows about what once was.  When they come across a newly formed nation of survivors, London believes he has finally found a safe haven for Rose, only to discover that he has unwittingly wandered into the middle of a war between two nations hell-bent on destroying one another.
	In 2185, we meet Simon, a young tinkerer who preforms maintenance on a space station named Arcadis.  Born and raised on the station, Simon has only heard and read stories about Earth and has always been told that it is inhabitable.  Simon wonders if all that “The Leaders” tell him is true, but even asking the question risks bringing down punishment from The Peacekeepers of the station.  As the oppression of the space station leaders grows, Simon becomes more and more dissatisfied with his home, but leaving the space station may actually spell out his doom.
	As I began reading Forgive Us, it felt just a little familiar to me.  The author must have been inspired by other great works like Mad Max, Logan’s Run and the like.  Each of the main characters in this novel – from Oliver to London and Rose to Simon – become important to us and while we may not always root for them, we still feel a need to know what happens to them in the future.  We also can’t help but wonder just what these characters have in common besides the wasteland they find themselves living in.
	I loved the explanation as to how the world became a wasteland – how the greatest source of energy was discovered to also be the world’s greatest pollutant and how that fact was hidden from the world at large because it would be too costly for the powers that be to abandon it.  I also love how electricity makes a great comeback later in the novel.  There is another theme in this novel that can’t be missed – history is doomed to repeat itself.  As the reader moves on through the novel, he will discover that those who haven’t really studied up on the history of what happened to the world before can be the biggest catalyst in this repetition of mistakes.
	While I thoroughly enjoyed this novel for its descriptiveness, the clever backstories and the way the author was able to weave the paths of each of the main characters into one another, I do have a question: Why do folks in the 2100s sound as if they just walked out of an old western.  Phrases like “I reckon I ought to” or “you varmint!” make me wonder if the creators of later nations could only find old gunslinger movies and books to entertain themselves and just began to talk like their favorite characters.  Or maybe the Wild West made a comeback, because, as I said before, history is doomed to repeat itself.
	That being said, I found Forgive Us to be quite an interesting read…one that makes the reader think and question the world today as well as one possible future of our world they are reading about.  Definitely a novel worth checking out!
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I found the character and story line believable and engaging, but had to get used to the way it popped back and forth between the main character stories. It seemed to be well developed and compelling as to the way it could be if we don't get hold of our self destructive ways here on earth.
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I want to like this book. I usually adore books that flit between different vantage points and timelines. But the prose in this book was hard to digest. I hope that doesn't discourage the writer, because there is potential here. The execution could be better. More showing. Less telling. Less exposition. Less exclamation marks. Less repeated words. Better dialogue. 

This book reminds me of Scott Sigler...like maybe this would have been something he wrote when he was 16 or so. The relationships seem very childlike. If I were younger and less well-read, I may have thoroughly enjoyed this book, but every time I read the part with Rose and London, I couldn't help but think of The Road by Cormac McCarthy. This post-apocalyptic adult-child relationship paled in comparison.    

Imagine if your little brother's video-game playing and role-playing groups got together and co-wrote a post-apocalyptic sci-fi story back and forth for months and you'll have a sense of what this book is about. (This in no way means that girl's don't play video games or role play, or that there are only two genders, but just that this book feels very much like a young boy wrote it.)
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Good stuff. An imaginative tale. This is an creative story with a great structure and with some excellent surprises built in. There's nothing like a good sci-fi narrative, and I look forward to the next installment! Recommended.

Thanks very much for the review copy!!
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NetGalley provided a copy of E.T. Gunnarsson’s Forgive Us.

I enjoyed the book although I did find the use of run on sentences with no inter-word spacing to be extremely distracting and at times difficult to read.  I believe that I understand why this gimmick was used “an attempt to further immerse the reader in the dystopian world in which this book is set” but I feel this may have been a misguided attempt.

As the book unfolds you follow 4 main characters through 3 time frames.  Throughout the entire book I continually was trying to see how these distinct stories were going to come together.  It was not till the last few chapters that this became clear.  

I have to hand it to the author, an 18 year old and this being his fist book, it was a job well done.  I look forward to reading additional works and follow the development of this young man’s progress and works.
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Forgive Us by E.T. Gunnarsson.   Impressive post-apocalyptic tale that is outstanding in its realistic and detailed worldbuilding and characterizations.  The stories of  three men, Oliver, London and Simon and three different time periods were expertly interwoven.  There were a couple daunting scenes of graphic violence that were appalling to read and there was some explicit language.  Neither were in excess or gratuitous but within the story's context.   

Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for the opportunity to preview the book.
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