Monday, December 9, 2013

Book Review: Campbell

C.S. Starr

Release Date: November 8, 2013

C.S. Starr

Book Description:
It’s been ten years since a virus wiped out the adult population. Across the world, opportunistic kids worked to reestablish order through the creation of uneasy, fractured territories.

A decade later, the rules are changing.

Desperate to stop his western territory from coming apart at the seams, Connor Wilde sends his oldest confidante to negotiate with the leader of Campbell, a swelling northern empire.

Tal Bauman isn’t expecting her to be so impossible.

Or intriguing. Or beautiful.

He’s also not expecting their negotiations to leave them both fighting for survival in a part of the world neither are familiar with.

Spanning a dystopian North American landscape, Campbell is the story of two unlikely companions who find themselves reevaluating their loyalties, beliefs, and futures.

Amazon US | Goodreads

Digital review copy provided by author in exchange for fair and honest review.

Campbell is one of those books you don’t expect. I can’t say I loved it, yet I was glued to it. Gripping, unexpected and unapologetic it takes you on a complex and often harsh journey of learning and discovery that will leave you craving for more. It tells the story of the post-apocalyptic world where adult population has been wiped out by a virus ten years before. Told from the points of view of Lucy Campbell and Tal Bauman, with glimpses of past and present we slowly begin to uncover the new order of life and how it came to be...

Lucy: Lucy, now in her early twenties is a capable and indomitable leader of the striving northern empire that bears her family name – Campbell. She is flawed and broken, but she is first and foremost a survivor, and is determined to carve out the better life for her and hers. It took me the better part of the book to learn to appreciate Lucy. She is not the most likeable character [at least not at first], but certainly a very interesting and complex one, that carries the story.

Tal: The western territory is crumbling under the rule of Tal’s friend – Connor Wilde whose only seeming concern is for his own wellbeing. Fearing an approaching takeover by Campbell, Tal is sent to negotiate with Lucy. But being second in command at West, Tal never saw himself as a leader, until the trip to Campbell changes his future’s pass.

Tal is another brilliant character. Life hasn’t been as hard on him as compared to Lucy’s. Aside the obvious loss of his family, he’s managed to maintain some of his innocence or rather chosen not to accept the new realities of life fully. But his chance meeting with Lucy and following events drastically shake up his world and he begins to come into his own and take charge.

Conclusion: In the style reminiscent of Lord of the Flies, Campbell portrays a dystopian world where kids, thrust into adulthood too early have to learn to govern and make lives for themselves for better or worse. The world Ms. Starr imagines is as impressive as it is scary. There are no aliens or robots, or vicious governments forbidding and controlling your every thought and move, yet the world where no one older than twelve years of age survives is a frightening thought indeed. [Note: The book does not delve as much into mechanics of how young kids managed to sustain such functionality of their world and it seems a bit unbelievable to me, but hopefully this will be explored in future novels.]

Politics, sexuality, acceptance, abuse, and identity, sense of family and questions of trust are all explored throughout the novel. Campbell is as much a study of one’s identity as it is an exploration of this post-apocalyptic world, building up to the big revolutionary reveal but it is only the beginning and I’m definitely curious to know more.


  1. I never get that premise how only adults would die

    1. Yes, I also think it's a bit iffy but if I suspend my disbelief than it's actually quite an interesting read. I thought it was very different from other dystopian novels I read and very refreshing.

  2. This has me curious, I am sad that the world isn't explained, although young people today are far more independent. Hopefully this will be explored in future installments. Wonderful review!

    1. Yes, I hope so too.

      I have to admit I didn't get into this book right away, it actually took me awhile to warm up to the idea, but at the same time it was very interesting and I just couldn't stop reading... so I think it's worth a read.


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