90 points, 4 ¾ stars!
Warning: weird almost non-consensual, almost consensual sex?
What unforgivable sin would you commit to save the world?
In 2161, the first chimera arose. A year later, twelve billion people were dead. The few who survived called it the Reckoning.
Generations later, their descendants hide within the walls of small, rustic villages, cowering from chimeras. They revere tradition. They fear innovation. They mistrust anything that’s different.
Root couldn’t be more different.
Curious and irreverent, she disquiets her village. Blind daughter of the village guardian, she stands apart. Frustrated with a wall-bound life, she grudgingly accepts it—until she hears the voice that no one else can hear.
Root’s journey will take her into the wilds to discover the truth: that her world has been twisted by people trying to save it. And her choices will determine whether humankind’s last ember flickers out.
A rural-dystopian novel exploring post-apocalyptic Amish country, a society shaped by fear, and private choices that remake the world.
Available on Amazon on June 14th, 2019. Preorder now!
“If Woodsmith Abram was willing to teach me his craft, I was eager to learn it, even if that earned me the disapproval of the entire village of Surecreek. Which I’d more or less earned long ago, anyhow.”
The Nothing Within is not my usual type of story. I just plain don’t typically go for dystopia. It just isn’t a genre I typically enjoy too much. However, when I do find one I can like, I tend to love it. This was one such book. I loved The Nothing Within for all the things it did that others won’t, or can’t, do.
Come to think of it, I don’t typically enjoy the storyteller narration style, either. Yet, Root telling all that was and all that is and getting around to what is to come? This time, the way Andy Giesler does it, well just worked for me this time It was just plain well done. Root tells her life, or at least a portion of it, within the pages of The Nothing Within. It isn’t a pretty nor glamorous life. The way Root tells it, it is just a normal life and she did a few things that weren’t so normal.
I really liked the main character, Root. She is great. Headstrong and asks way too many questions that the adults won’t (or can’t) answer. She is not willing to back down for anything, even though she knows it makes the others fear and hate her. Even when she knows it would be smart, she doesn’t. Root is also blind. Which doesn’t stop her in whatever she wants to do. Which is typically things that seeing people are afraid to do.
The Nothing Within isn’t a happy story. Nor is it depressing, and it didn’t send me into despair. In fact, if we are to believe Root, the story just is. Root does a good job of telling the story so that you aren’t overloaded with all of the hell she goes through. She just presents the story as if it’s just something everyone would go through. It isn’t what anyone else would go through, because Root is quite special and way too stubborn, but she is very humble about it. Perhaps too humble, because giiiirl you have gone through some shit. Own it!
The story shifts between past and present, sometimes in the same sentence. There are also two levels of past: root’s childhood and the time of Reckoning, when the world broke itself. The distant past is interesting, as we see how society starts to form itself into what we end up with by the time Root is a child. Then there is the time that is “now” when Root is telling the story about her past. Sometimes, Root will talk about both the then and now in the same paragraph, which was a bit confusing when it first started happening. There are also little bits of songs or tales told in between the rest of the narration. The storyteller narration was used well, even if I didn’t like it in the beginning it grew on me by the end.
There is one scene about a third of the way through that I just can’t get over, and I need to talk about. It involves sex and it is….bizarre. I don’t even know how to categorise it. I nearly quit the book over it, even. Fortunately for the book, and for me, the scene ends “well”, even if it left a lasting impression on me. From that scene onwards, nothing else like it comes up again (thankfully), and the book got even better from that point onwards. Just, getting through that scene…yikes!
I just really loved the story in The Nothing Within. I loved the high technology reasons in a low technology world. I loved the way the knowledge has shifted over the millenia. I loved the fact that Root is blind, and she is getting by in a world that is quite hostile to her. I just really liked the book, and I’m glad I read it. Even if I don’t typically care for dystopia, I cared for this.
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Andy Giesler, Humble Quill LLC, and Netgalley for providing the opportunity to review this copy!