All That Remains

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 05 Apr 2017

Member Reviews

One of the best YA dystopians I've read since Hunger Games. Strong, resilient, female characters. Excellent world crafting. The "infected" are scary but remain hidden, which adds that bit of mystery and unknown fear. The pace of the novel was perfect, if not anxiety inducing.
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I loved this book so much! I loved the characters and the world!  I would and have recommended this book to all my friends.
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Kids into "end of the world", dystopian  fiction are sooo going to enjoy this story. It's  got lots of good bits in it the kids will love! 6th grade up.
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4.5 stars.
This really was a great post-apocalyptic novel filled with action, gore and violence. I don't know whether I would call this a Zombie novel or not, there are Zombie-like elements but it's done different enough that this book is set apart from the rest. Very well written and very intense as the pace is at break-neck speed. I would definitely read more from this author.
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I fell in love with this book's cover and immediately requested it from NetGalley after I read the blurb and came to know that it was a zombie-type dystopian story. It wasn't bad, it was just too predictable (not the part where the zombies turn out to be aliens or something but otherwise it was all too predictable.) Overall the characterization felt weak but I'm giving 3 stars for the pacing, it was pretty good and kept me reading in spite of these flaws.
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I tried getting into this book, but it was a DNF for me. Just not my kind of genre. I would rather not leave a review on retail sites. The book is written in a good way, but I couldn't get into the story.
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What?? This book is AMAZING! I am a huge fan of end of the world type stories and this one just blew my mind! I wish I hadn't waited so long to pick this one up. I don't often re-read books, but this is one that I most certainly will...and that says everything to anyone who knows me and my reading habits.
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This is not my genre, but WOW! I'm glad I ventured out.  Action from start to finish.  Not sure any other zombie book is going to live up to this one, maybe I should stop while I'm ahead.
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The world building and the characters were great they all felt unique with their own backstories and history. Some predictable twists but nothing that makes it a a game breaker
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Covers can make or break books for some people. A lousy cover can mean some readers decide to never look twice, we have all been there. That being said, I have hardly ever picked up a book quite as fast as I did with this novel. The cover alone screams, darkness, fragility and a loss of innocence
and brings the images of monsters to mind. I began reading with fairly high hopes for Al Barrera’s book. A critical thing I realized while reading was the set up of the work.While written in third person, the chapters of the work alternate between focus characters (namely Kyle and Sarah) and offer full insight to thoughts and actions. We are first met with Kyle, Sarah, and Tim.

Kyle is a reluctant, slightly older leader. A survivor who has lost many people and no longer wishes to experience any losses, he is cynical, grim, short tempered and often overcome with memories. With a standoffish personality, I found myself wishing Kyle would just die. This is funny in hindsight, but frustrating when reading. While his interrupting memories and flashbacks were key to his past they were written in a jarring fashion, imitating how memories can actually overcome someone, but this made the work incredibly hard to read when scenes rapidly change with no warning every few paragraphs. 

An incredibly flat character most of the time was the younger male, Tim. We are led to believe Tim is whiny and immature, just barely past the stage of teenager, and at first there is actually not much to know about him until more than halfway through the novel we discover a small part of his past. Often he serves as a tool to anger Kyle repeatedly and they continuously clash. Their relationship appeared similar to a father and son going head to head before eventually coming to understand one another or a situation in which an aged leader is losing his power and a younger, potentially stronger leader prepares to replace him. However, more often than not, it just looked like two men clashing over egos and age and it quickly grew stale and stereotypical. In the midst of their testosterone was a voice of reason keeping both men in check when conflicts arose: Sarah.

Sarah is the only adult female character, not to mention an LGBTQ+ character. She is also a “scanner,” someone who feels energies and memories like imprints left on belongings and in buildings, scraps of the past, however she can also utilize this talent to locate things in the present or raid the memories of the living. I loved the idea of these abilities, but the details are slow going for a large chunk of the novel and I felt somewhat underwhelmed. We never experience the potency of these skills until almost two thirds of the way through the novel, though they are used occasionally to gather information from Kaylee.

Kaylee is the young girl who is found on a scavenging trip. She is alone and crying, having survived a massacre. She serves as a catalyst for the plot, but also a tool to find information needed for the end goal. I felt without Kaylee the novel would never proceed because there would be nothing but three people wandering in a wasteland and arguing amongst themselves.

Atmosphere and setting are immediately introduced and with very little dialogue, only internal monologues, the reader discovers just how much life has changed and how dire the situation is. The world has become but the bones of what it once was, buildings destroyed and nature overcome by  and unknown entity called “the blight” while monsters roam freely and humans have become the prey. Vague references of what happened to the world appear throughout the work, brought forth by the thoughts of Sarah and Kyle, but there is almost nothing one would call an origin story of the destruction. Barrera presents us with nothing but wreckage and aftermath which we are supposed to swallow without question; while this may be representative of the title and the new truth the characters have come to know: there is no need to look back at what happened, all that remains is what you must face, I found this to be incredibly frustrating. As an avid fantasy and sci-fi reader I love for a world to be created in entirety for me to grasp onto and fall into a story. All That Remains leave many unanswered questions and with a slow plot my mind continuously drifted to what I wished was being discussed rather than what was actually written on the page.

Despite a fairly well created world, the plot and characters were lacking. Many scenes reminded me of zombie fiction I have encountered before. From some locations, goals, and character types there were concepts that have occurred before. There was little development for most of the story, and what few strong characters existed were underutilized; it felt poorly executed and as though only some parts of the story received the author’s full attention. While Barrera writes action well, there was little focus on building anticipation, rather the reader is thrown into immediate anxiety and heightened emotion haphazardly and randomly. The last third of the book held a majority of action, changing environments and a sense of conflict that made it highly enjoyable. However, my enjoyment was dampened by scenes featuring men attacking Sarah. The scenes consisted of incredibly sexist and vile language and incredible violence, something that I did not deem needed to create a potentially incredible moment of psychological thrills and terror. It reminded me of low level exploitation horror movies and I debated multiple times if this book was worth finishing because of how much it detracted from the reading experience.

Overall, I would give this book is 2 stars. 1 star for the created world, overrun and wild with perils and action and 1 star for Sarah, the most interesting character with incredible abilities and untapped strength. I am left thinking this book is what comes from throwing I Am Legend and The Walking Dead into a mixing pot before adding a dash of psychic alien creatures with vampire-like silver allergies. The concept holds promise but is too much to execute in one book. So many things occurred in the work that none of them felt fully described and scenes lacked the elaboration I love in sci-fi and fantasy fiction. Despite this, by the end of the novel we are left with a concrete future conflict and I believe a sequel could be much better, especially if it focuses on Sarah because there is much potential for an amazing and immersive experience.
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In a post apocalyptic world, a group of people are looking for food for themselves and their comrades. Kyle, Sara and Tim are searching for food when they come across a young girl named Kaylee.  The group that Kaylee came is dead including her mother.  They were killed by the monsters that now roam the world.  Kaylee tells them that her mother told her to go to a group of people that will help her.  Kyle, Sara and Tim decide to take Kaylee with them.  Will they survive?

This is an incredible action pack story even though the action is slow--it doesn't feel slow.i was so involved in the novel, I didn't want to stop reading.  There are a few surprises in the novel which only kept me more engaged.
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This book was a very readable dystopian tale, where the characters are among the last surviving humans. Through a series of events, they become involved in taking a perilous journey to a place no one really believes exists. 
I loved the characters. I felt close to most not long after I met them. However, I do wish we had a little more information regarding how the spooky characters got that way precisely. Additionally, I saw some value to the use of flashbacks at the start of the novel, but they became distracting after about 25% of the story. I understand that it's a tool, and I know its intent; nevertheless, I feel the book would have been tighter, neater, more concise, had the author chosen to stay "minimalist" with respect to how much background info he provided us.
I've never been a huge fan of zombie apocalypse stuff but it's kind of like that, minus the zombies. There's a couple of "infected" so there's a zombie-like element but most of the dangerous creatures in the book are much worse, terrifying monsters. I am so glad I read this book. It had fabulous descriptions and imagery. I highly recommend to anyone looking for some action, gore, and adventure.
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The cover is what drew me in, creepy + innocence will get me every time. Unfortunately, I had a very difficult time engaging with the book because of the high number of short flashbacks/psychic visions/internal monologues that broke up the flow of the book and pulled me out of the story as I worked to figure out what was going on.
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Never judge a book by its cover, right?
That's the mistake I made here. All That Remains wasn't nearly what I expected, yet it did not disappoint, if that makes any sense. Luckily I am a huge fan of the Resident Evil series in all of its glorious forms. This seems like an in-depth alternative take on the same genre.
All Barrera does a beautiful job of drawing on tough outer exteriors of regular people thrust into a terrible situation and delving into the beautiful vulnerability of what is left of humanity.
That being said--the ending was a bit predictable, however well done. Thank you for the opportunity to read something that I might not have otherwise.
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I really enjoyed this book. It was an interesting take on the dystopian novel, mixing in a little horror with the strange creatures. I will definitely be adding this to my collection!
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I really liked this book. It was different from any dystopian books I've read before. I would highly recommend it
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All That Remains is a dystopian horror following Kyle, Tim and Sara 13 years after the apocalypse. After finding young girl Kaylee, they need to get to Oak Ridge to protect themselves and maybe save the world.

There's normal reanimated human zombies, but also other monster like creatures that roam the earth. All That Remains is able to describe the monsters, make them horrifying, yet not interrupt the plotline to do so. In previous books I've been pulled out of a tense moment because there's too much description, but Barrera is able to bypass that problem.

There's varying themes of hope and morality within the book. All four of our characters experience hope, and lose hope throughout the book. Whether it's hope to find more people, hope that cities are inhabitable or just hope for survival. Because of this focus, I felt attached to the characters. Even when they were being pessimistic, they still didn't give up. 

Morality is a fine line in this new world. You must kill to survive at times, but is it the right thing to do? If you kill a bad person does it make you just as bad? One of the lines mentioned that right is nothing but a direction anymore which I think is relevant to the book as a whole. 

As we get to see the point of views of both Sara and Kyle you do feel attached to them. The characters are extremely likable, even when they're not being the best they can be. They don't consciously make bad decisions which puts them in danger, which makes me route for them more. Although problems do arise due to accidents or it's out of their control.

Sara in particular is a great character. She shows both mental and physical strength by not only surviving 13 years but also with her mental fight with 'the walking cancer'. The walking cancer is a monster that no one has ever seen before. It's a new, worse monster in the world, and the main bulk of the book is spent running and hiding from it.  Due to Sara being a scanner she can sense and also connect/talk with the monster.  

The plague-like spread of zombies and natural disasters mirrors that Kyle is ill throughout the book. It's implied that it's a cancerous tumor, most likely in the brain due to headaches and blackouts. As the situation for the group gets worse, the illness gets worse. I think Barrera was definitely trying to show the similarities. There's also a underlying message of having hope throughout which I think is an important takeaway.
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This was great - it's a new take on a pretty familiar story, and really well written to boot.

We enter the story sometime after the apocalypse has taken place, and clearly humanity has been hit hard. There's not a lot of build-up before we're right into the action, and we follow our band of survivors from temporary bolt-hole to temporary bolt-hole as they desperately try to remain survivors.

I've read a lot of apocalyptic fiction, and this is definitely one of the better offerings around. It's a quick, entertaining read, and while I'd be interested to read further if it became a series, it also stands alone well.
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