The Dawn: The Bombs Fall by Michelle Muckley
A low grinding noise fills your ears as the giant mechanism rocks forward, pushing you up, up, up from underground. The surface! The giant doors above you slide back, giving you the first glimpse of sunshine you’ve had in heaven-knows-how many years–Dang it! You’re yanked out of the world as you’re told it’s time to get off the computer and go socialize for a while. Bah. But, what book to grab to read on the way and when you can scrounge some time away from everyone?
Publisher’s Description: Zachary Christian is Delta Tower resident 8652. He has been stuck inside his tower since the bombs destroyed the world he knew. The reason for the war is still a mystery, but ever since that day the world stands still, trapped by the nuclear winter and the Guardians who patrol the exits. Zachary should feel lucky to be alive, but he is haunted by past mistakes which he never got a chance to put right.
The only way out is the New Omega Lottery. The prize is a place in Omega, a giant glass tower in the center of their barren world where the new government, The Conservators, rule. Nobody from Delta has ever won. But when Zachary meets Emily he knows she is not from Delta. Convinced there must be another way out, he vows that he will find it. But he doesn’t realize that The Conservators have already found him.
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
The Phantom says…
The Dawn: The Bombs Fall is a solid piece of classic-style dystopian writing. It honestly feels more like a prologue than a true “Book 1,” but the level of exposition is necessary to set up the rest of the series.
We primarily follow the life of Zack, a man working in Delta Tower–there are several of these towers where people are crammed in to live, and each tower produces a necessity of life such as power, water, food, and so on. Delta Tower is a bleak place where people are beaten down into virtual zombies who work nearly around the clock, following the terrible bells that denote shifts on and off. They exist as would workers in a gulag, with what passes for food and water strictly rationed.
There is, of course, one hope of escaping that hell: The Lottery. Everyone who lives in the Tower has at least one numerical tattoo on their arm that identifies them. People can spend what precious little money they have getting additional ones, with each number a chance to be picked in the Lottery. Winners of this are allowed to go to Omega Tower, which seems to be a place of whitewashed bliss, characterized by a life of ease and consumption rather than deprivation and production.
One of the few criticisms I have is that the author tries to build suspense at the choosing of the Lottery winner–there wouldn’t be a series if the protagonist didn’t win. I get what she was going for, but it felt rather artificial. It didn’t serve to invest me more in the protagonist; his actions to those even less fortunate than he is are what drew me into him as a character. He is willing to buck the system in small ways, trading little things like pillows here, a liter of water there, a bit of medicine he was able to scrape up–he often visits the lowest levels, where the people who weren’t fortunate enough to get in away from the radiation live. He knows that even as bad as things are for him, they could be worse, and does what little he can to make things easier for people here and there.
I’m a little afraid to keep reading in the series, as I don’t know if I want to know how sudden ease changes him. As far as I’ve read into the second book, he’s taken a shower that lasted half an hour, which used up a large amount of water that would have taken Delta hours (or was it days?) to process and clean.
So, if you’ve been dragged away from Fallout to visit your family and friends, I’d definitely recommend The Dawn: The Bombs Fall as a book to take with you to keep the post-apocalyptic feeling going.
The Dawn is a five-book series. There is an omnibus version if you want all of the books at once.
- Jo&Isalovebooks Review Team
- Random Redhead Ramblings (omnibus version)
- Reading, Writing, and Whatnot
If you like this book…
…you might try the Fallout video games. The Dawn really feels like the Fallout games.