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Reviewed by Nicholus Schroeder for Readers' Favorite
The Clearing by Samantha Cook is a paranormal tale set in a dystopian version of Earth. Once the world was teeming with life and beauty, but all that remains now are barren wastelands and death. The last remnants of humanity reside in a small village protected by a fence. The fence keeps out that which does not tire, beings that know no pain and which consume the flesh of only the living. Outside the fence is where the “Soulless” wander. Ruby and her companions left the village in search of life. They moved farther and farther away from the safety of the fence, and before long they wished they had never made the expedition. Ruby and her companions will have to endure pain and despair the likes of which they've never felt before. What horrors await the group? What will their search yield? And will it be worth it in the end?
The Clearing reminded me a lot of the Maze Runner series of films. This book had the same thrilling 'inches from death' type of scenes that I loved from those movies. The eeriness of some scenes in the forest arc was another high point for me. The unique form of zombies called the “Soulless” also added to the overall spooky atmosphere. They were unpredictable as far as the undead go. The characters were another highlight and their reactions to the dangers around them were grounded and very realistic. Having characters that go through changes and keeping them grounded in reality helps the reader relate and connect to them. The icing on the cake was the phenomenal plot! It held my attention and kept those pages turning well past my normal reading time. Overall, a pretty solid book, and in my opinion, it doesn’t get better than this in the dystopian genre. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to readers that enjoy paranormal tales set in a dystopian world. Readers that have watched Maze Runner are sure to love this book.