Review: Tomorrow Land by Mari Mancusi

My Rating: 3 out of 5

Published March 8th 2012 by NLA Digital

Imagine finding your first love, only to be ripped apart by the apocalypse. Peyton Anderson will never forget the day she was forced to make a choice--between her family--and Chris Parker, the boy she'd given her heart. Now, four years later, as she steps from the fallout shelter and into a dead and broken world, he's the only thing on her mind.

All Chris "Chase" Parker wanted was to take Peyton away and keep her safe from harm. But he waited for hours in the rain on judgment day and she never showed--breaking his heart without ever telling him why.

Now the two of them have been thrown together once again, reluctant chaperones to a group of orphan children in a post-apocalyptic world where the dead still walk...and feed. As they begin their pilgrimage to the last human outpost on Earth, can they find a way to let go of old hurts and find the love they lost--all while attempting to save what's left of the human race?

Dystopia and Zombies are the new hit for 2012 and Vampires are soooo 2011. So I jumped at the chance to read Tomorrow Land, a futuristic post apocalyptic story about a girl being the last hope for mankind.

What threw me instantly was the third person narrative. For a book that gives points of view for one character and then jumps to the next character I could see that if it was a first person narrative I might have been engaged in the story more. For me the feel of the writing held me at arms length and didn't quite let me get closer to the characters as I would have liked.

That being said, I did like the way the story went back and forth. The dramatism worked as we uncover more lies and secrets from nowadays and the past, and we eventually begin Chase and Peytons journey. There are moments that felt a little unoriginal and other moments that seemed too 2012. The future Sim games (apparently every teenager is going to be involved and fully immersed in video games), and nanotechnology for example. Yet four years prior to the main story Peyton was still catching the bus to school and visiting the market to buy fresh veggies for her mother. Its supposed to be 2030-something. If a world was that advanced then I would presume ALL aspects of life would have changed not just the techie bits. 

The story was nice. Peyton finds Chase and gets drawn into staying with the 8 remaining kids who haven't died from the superflu virus but while she's around Chase's older brother gets snacked on by a zombie (who was an ex friend). Peyton must get to Disneyworld and rendezvous with her father so in the end Peyton, Chase and all the kids go. Along the way they encounter Zombies, major problems, and even add an addition to their small party. But once they reach their destination all is not as it seems.

So this is why I only gave it 3 out of 5 stars. The romance was way too heavy and full-on nearly all the time, so much that it slowed the story down and got boring. If the world building had taken up a little more space and some of the romance was cut out it would have felt like a different book.  Don't get me wrong - I love romance in a book. Sometimes a book only holds my interest when a hunky guy comes along. But even from the beginning Chris/Chase has no other thoughts in his head except Peyton and his feelings for her.  They face one of the most grueling challenges, and they are possibly the only humans left for hundreds of miles around yet all they can think of is 'does she like me? i think she likes me' mixed with 'i'm an idiot, why did I say/do that'. Peyton isn't much better. She's spent four years in a fallout shelter, her mother has just committed suicide/euthanasia. She's supposed to be super-bionic yet the whole first night was moodiness and angst. You're 19 years old, not 14 any more! I must say that it put a real dampner on the whole story. Romance is best when its subtle or with a hint of.

Tomorrow Land IS a good, likeable book and if post-apocalyptic zombie stories are your thing then read it.


You can reach Mari Mancusi here:

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