I have to say that I was a little bit nervous when I heard that TJ Klune was going dark. While he specializes in the humor and ridiculousness that is the human condition he still isn’t kind to the people whose stories he writes. Knowing the history of the other characters in his books I was concerned at what ‘dark’ means to Mr. Klune.
The setting of Withered + Sere is in a post-apocalyptic earth in northern Idaho. Apparently, 100 years ago the governments of the world finally pushed the button and the world was washed with nuclear fire leaving isolated pockets of humanity and vast areas of radioactive deadlands. This is the story of one man’s troubled journey through this changed landscape – Cavalo.
Cavalo has had a shitty life, no doubt about it, but he is tough because of it and despite the cruelty he’s endured he has found two dear, non-human friends – a fiercely loyal dog named Bad Dog and a sentient robot named SIRS. Once you know Cavalo’s history you can understand why he’d want to isolate. Yet, after a series of events Cavalo finds himself inexplicitly attached to what should be his sworn enemy – a Dead Rabbit. The Dead Rabbits are a troubled band of psychopaths who have taken it upon themselves to take advantage of an easy food source – other humans. Cavalo should have killed this psychopath when he had the chance, but then what kind of story would that be?
This is the first half of a two-part series so you are left with a bit of a cliffhanger. Fret not! The sequel is already written and will be released later this year. I won’t give away any more of the story, but suffice it to say that I think this is a very good book and well written. Klune has no problem writing a serious story and the crazy allusions to the incessant voices in our heads and references to classic literature made me wonder again what goes on in that head of his. Again, I love it! On to the next in the Klune library!
Overall rating: 4/5