Tuesday 7 July 2015

REVIEW: Christina Bergling - Savages

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Bad Day Books / Assent Publishing
Publication Date: 19th Dec 2014
Pages: 130


This review of Savages by Christina Bergling is the result of an ARC originally sent to Ginger Nuts of Horror in exchange for an honest review. This is said review.

Another new author to me. Christina Bergling is not a name I have heard before but after reading this I reckon I will be looking out for her in the future.

Two survivors battle through everything put in their path in a post-apocalyptic world with only one goal…….to find other survivors. They want to find “normal” humans though. Not the Savages. Travelling alone, they fight, sleep, walk and repeat. Things change dramatically when they come across a new born baby hidden in a cupboard. Their goal now must also include the survival of this new life in the hateful world it has been born into. This does not prove easy.

When I was reading this book I wasn’t sure. It had me gripped from the first page but something just didn’t sit right with me. Then I realised why.

When I say this story is post-apocalyptic, forget the normal run of the mill zombie story. This is not it. Yes the world as we know it has ended. Yes the world is now full of Savages. No I don’t know what caused it or why the Savages were indeed “savages”. You don’t find out in this story. Ever. You don’t even find out the main characters names until 65% into the story. They are simply known as the female that’s telling the story and the man she calls “he”.

The world they are battling through is brutal. It’s desolate. Completely destroyed. They don’t even know why. Their search is twofold, find other survivors and find out what happened. I won’t tell you what they find but you will be entirely entranced waiting to find out. The savages aren’t zombies in the “normal” - infected after the release of some strange disease type savages.

Think more brain infected and brain dead. When they turn, they only seem to concentrate on the death of anyone normal and their total destruction.

Our two main characters are a mother who has witnessed the death of her husband and two children and an ex-soldier who rescued her and taught her all he knew for survival. They work extremely well together and through her words you discover that she is obviously falling for him. You have no idea how long they have been a team or indeed how long it has been since the world ended. He leads, she follows. When they come across savages the fights are brutal and always end with a field full of body parts. When they come across a new born baby after such a fight things change completely. It’s obvious that they have just killed its parents. The roles they now take on however are not what you would expect. He wants to save it and she doesn’t. How it turns out is anybody’s guess.

The thing that is so wonderful about this story is the lack of information and the number of questions it raises. I didn’t realise this until I had finished it. In fact after finishing it and thinking about it my star rating has increased. The characters remain nameless and sort of faceless for over two thirds of the story.

This adds “something” to it. I’m still not sure what “something” is but I liked it.

It can read as very clinical but as it progresses the characters have some flash backs to life before the fall and it adds a little personal to it as well.

In truth it is an examination of the human race. What we are prepared to do for survival of ourselves and those dear to us. It certainly reveals the dire parts of human nature but also gives a little bit of hope as to what may be possible in the future for mankind. It raises questions within your own head making you ask yourself what you would have done and what you will do after “the end”.

This is a story that will hold your concentration from cover to cover. It’s fascinating. It’s scary for so many different reasons. It’s extremely harrowing at times and I challenge you to read it without bowing your head in complete sorrow and also without feeling ashamed at what we have made this world.

An excellent novella length story.

General rating:

★★★★.5 Practically perfect.

Horror rating:

★★★★ Very creepy.

You can buy Savages here:

Book Synopsis:

Mindless murdering savages.
Are they zombies?
Are they still human?

Whatever the other survivors have become, they no longer speak; they only kill and live like animals. Parker and Marcus navigate through the ruins of America and battle through these lingering savages with no answers, searching for the last strain of humanity.

Civilization was just a flickering illusion. Turn out the lights long enough and you see what we really are.

Until one discovery changes everything.

The infant’s cry shatters their already destroyed world. For Parker, the babe invokes the ghosts of her dead husband and sons. For Iraq war veteran Marcus, the child embodies his hope and gives him innocence to protect. For both, they struggle to determine if faded notions like romance are just too expensive in this bleak, dying world.

My desire for him was like my desire to eat my gun every morning. It was not something I did; it was something I lived with.

In this grim portrait of post-apocalyptic survival, the survivors of an apocalypse—from preppers and soldiers to passengers in life—face the horror of not knowing what happened to the world around them as they question whether humanity was ever human to begin with.

Colorado-bred writer, Christina Bergling, sold her soul early into the writing game. By fourth grade, she knew she wanted to be an author, and in college, she actively pursued it and started publishing small scale. However, with the realities of eating and paying bills, she hocked her passion to profession and worked as a technical writer and document manager, even traveling to Iraq as a contractor.

Assent Publishing brought her back to her art publishing her debut novella, Savages, to be followed by a second, The Waning. Bergling is a mother of two young children and lives with her family in Colorado Springs.

You can see more of Christina at her website.

Christina’s author page is here.

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