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Reviewed by Lex Allen for Readers' Favorite
Following a catastrophic event that wiped out much of the world's population, pockets of civilized society struggled to survive while the uncivilized, the criminal, the sadistic, the human-animal survivors raged across the country, committing every kind of immoral, senseless, and vicious act ever created by humankind. Butcher Rising: Book Two of The After War Series by Brandon Zenner is a story of truly evil men determined to conquer and subjugate what's left of the human race. The story evolves around Karl Metzger, an ex-convict without any redeeming qualities, and several of his equally lunatic associates. The brutality of man is front and center in this dystopian tale of horrific violence.
Zenner breaks from the traditional story telling form and format in Butcher Rising as there is no protagonist/antagonist conflict. The hero(es) in this tale of violence in a world on the brink of complete collapse are, in fact, the villains. There are no "good guys" (at least none that last more than a paragraph or two), no one to provide traditional "conflict" and there is no romance of any kind. Though dystopian in genre, the closest I've come to this kind of rampaging brutality has been in the horror books of Richard Laymon or Michael Golvach (a new, up and coming horror author). While the story is filled with violence, it also highlights the underlying psychology of those who commit these crimes. It's an essay in fictional form on the dark side of human disposition, but, at the same time, an intriguing, fast-paced novel. Recommended for fans of dystopian horror and most assuredly not for the faint-hearted reader.