Title: Kings of this World | Author: Peter Bailey | Pub. Date: 2017-6-26 | Pages: 304 | ISBN13: 9781548399467 | Genre: Apocalyptic Science Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 5 out of 5 | Source: I received a copy from the author for review consideration
Kings of This World
Matthew is just trying to hold the wreckage of his life together after his girlfriend left him for another woman. A chance to review a West End play seems like a lucky break, until it turns into an X-rated nightmare. The next day London tears itself apart, people make love in the streets and kill each other over a dirty sandwich. Overnight everything changes, the city is very quiet, people smile and nod, but what they smile and nod at is only visible to them. The only other normal person is Jeremy, sarcastic, intelligent and frequently wrong. Together they form an uneasy alliance that lasts until cone shaped aliens land and begin harvesting people like wheat. The last two survivors in London begin a desperate search for a way to stop the aliens before it’s their turn, unaware that millions of people have already killed themselves to give them the perfect weapon. Will Matthew and Jeremy realize the weapon they have been given before its too late?
Kings of this World
“When the first few pages involve a woman having publicly inappropriate self-relations in a theater, and then punching the stranger sitting beside her, you know you’re in for a trip.” This was the first note I made about Kings of this World, and I had no idea exactly how accurate it would be. Kings of this World feels like Peter Bailey took a look at every post-invasion novel (or really, almost any apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic/dystopian novel) and said “Okay, this is how not to do it.” And then he went and followed his own advice. The result is a novel that turns your expectations on their head and keeps you off balance for most of the book. Even the final line left me extremely unsettled.
A brief overview of the differences: There’s no romance in this book. Either of the insta-love or hormonal-overdrive variety. Instead, our characters are same sex allies. Everything happens in the time immediately following the invasion. There is no ‘one ‘good’ group of survivor versus an ‘evil’ group’ happening. Its humanity versus aliens (not zombies, though there is The Stupid). And the aliens are…different. I can’t say much more without giving it away, but let’s just say that these aren’t your typical aliens that invade Earth. Dedicated sci-fi readers will probably appreciate the differences.The wrap-up itself is disturbing in a way that’s hard to describe. It’s not quite a happily ever after, but not a ‘humanity is screwed’ either.
I had previously reviewed Bailey’s novel Walk in the Flesh, and one of the remarks I had made was that I absolutely hated the main character, and yet I was drawn to his story. I could almost say the same here. The only difference is that I understood the resident jerk just a little more than I was really comfortable with. Kings of this World has dual male protagonists that have a “I hate you but we need to work together” relationship that is completely believable. I spent half the novel hoping one of them would deck the other one. Matthew is a good guy with a lot more patience and ability to see stuff from someone else’s point of view than one might expect. But he doesn’t feel like a ‘Mary Sue’ (or whatever the male equivalent is). Jeremy is a book-smart snob that uses his intelligence as a weapon, has little emotional maturity, and is very thin-skinned.
Kings of this World is a must-read if you’re tired of the same old crap that gets recycled in practically every story line vaguely involving an apocalyptic even anymore. It’s fresh, interesting, and completely entertaining with at least a handful of scenes that will unsettle you as soon as you really think about them. Peter Bailey is an author with a talent for writing books that are just not like anything else you’ll find out there.
Buy Link: Amazon