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Monday, 23 May 2022
WHAT WAS ONCE HOME by B K Bass @B_K_Bass #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog
In a Nutshell: Post-apocalyptic, alien invasion, set in southern USA.
Jace Cox is a young teenager when the 'twigs' invade - and after one August day in 2034 his life will never been the same. Fast forward a few years and he's part of the militia fighting against them. A few more years, and the town of Lewisburg has been reclaimed by its inhabitants, with Jace as its the sheriff - but the troubles are far from over.
Although I'm first in line when it comes to a post apocalyptic book, I wasn't sure I'd like one about an alien invasion, thinking it might be too comic book-like. But this isn't. B K Bass has made the subject totally convincing, and I really enjoyed it. It's got a great structure that kept my attention throughout - although the main story is told from Jace's third person point of view in the early 2040s, there are occasional flashbacks to earlier, and also excerpts from the autobiography he wrote as an old man. Aside from this, I loved the 'interludes' - sections told from other points of view in other areas, for a wider look at the situation. These diversions from the main story were perfectly placed, and I could see how well thought-out the whole book is.
Bass has an easy writing style, creating good dramatic tension with a feeling of foreboding. Every aspect of the book feels feasible, from the people who take charge in the new Lewisburg, those who want to be guided and given instructions, the fighting force, to the independent who want to do their own thing outside the walls - and, of course, the opportunity for the power-hungry to take over.
One small aspect I appreciated was how Jace, having been so young when the twigs arrived, knew little about life outside his immediate environment. At one point an older person referred to a settlement as a 'hippie commune', and Jace didn't know what he meant. I loved that!
This book gives food for thought about war versus murder, what is 'right' when it comes to defending your home and your people, what it takes to live in harmony alongside those who are different from you, and leaves a couple of unanswered questions, which made me think that another book, perhaps after Jace's time, would be most welcome. I'd most certainly recommend What Was Once Home as a fine example of the post-apocalyptic genre.