Review - Wranglestone
Wranglestone by Darren Charlton
Winter was the only season every Lake-Lander feared...
In a post-apocalyptic America, a community survives in a national park, surrounded by water that keeps the Dead at bay. But when winter comes, there's nothing to stop them from crossing the ice.
Then homebody Peter puts the camp in danger by naively allowing a stranger to come ashore and he's forced to leave the community of Wranglestone. Now he must help rancher Cooper, the boy he's always watched from afar, herd the Dead from their shores before the lake freezes over.
But as love blossoms, a dark discovery reveals the sanctuary's secret past. One that forces the pair to question everything they've ever known.
Wranglestone is fantastic. A gay romance, a zombie horror, an end of the world thriller, all rolled up in exciting adventure.
To start with, it's a fascinating and original setting for a post-apocalyptic thriller. I loved the idea of a cluster of little islands on a large lake, and the blend of isolation and independence with a loosely knitted community. Throw in the vulnerability of the lake freezing in winter and you've got something novel and exciting.
The zombies themselves have that slow, unstoppable menace to them, the way one really isn't a threat, but there's never just one, and you only need to be bitten once. A very real sense of menace and peril pervades most of the book.
I'm not going to go into any detail about the later parts of the book, because spoilers, but I loved the twists and turns in direction that the story took us in, with an enthralling mystery to unfold and make sense of. It's definitely not just a clever setting, there's a very strong plot backing it up.
Strong characters too. I loved poor Peter, the hapless innocent at the centre of the story. I loved watching him develop and find his strength and his place in this new society and really felt for him. The gay romance elements of the novel worked really well, with Cooper being very crush-worthy and watching his relationship develop with Peter was quite an emotional journey.
Love in the Time of Zombie Apocalypse. I loved it.
I'm giving Wranglestone five full moons
Wranglestone is available now, published by Stripes Publishing. I was given an eProof via Netgalley in return for an honest review.