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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Three Sisters: A Tale of Survival (Three Sisters Trilogy Book 1) is a deep dive into a dystopian world that may not be too far away. Author Nikki Lewen imagines an earth that has been struck by three tragedies, two natural and one very much of man’s own doing. When the world is hit by three almost simultaneous giant tsunamis (the tri-nami), billions of people and massive land areas are submerged underwater. What follows, as the survivors attempt to rally, is an enormous earthquake along the San Andreas fault line that dramatically changes the land that is left. Of greatest concern to the survivors, though, is the marauding presence of an ex-military group called the “Splitters” who have split from and effectively taken over control of what was left of the military and the country. They survive by reverting to the old Viking methods of “raping and pillaging”. No pocket of survivors is safe from these vile, despicable ex-soldiers. Sadie Larkin headed home to her parents' mountain retreat before disaster struck but soon found herself left alone, as first her father and then her husband was taken from her. Resourceful and the daughter of a survivalist who had planned for such an eventuality, Sadie lived alone with no contact with anyone for over a decade when she discovers her old boyfriend from college almost dead at the hands of the Splitters during one of her daily checks of her property. For the first time in many years, Sadie has to think of someone else’s welfare other than her own and so begins the adventure on this remote, (now an island) section of what was once Northern California.
I am a fan of dystopian fiction and author Nikki Lewen has written a realistic and believable tale in Three Sisters. I was initially intrigued by the premise but Lewen’s writing style quickly dragged me into the story and kept me bouncing along with her plot, the new revelations, and the new characters. Sadie was a perfect character for the role – strong, independent and resourceful (a female McGyver, if you like) but she also was softened by a tender side that had not seen much light over the previous decade spent alone. The scenarios painted in the novel were totally believable and, of course, as with most dystopian novels, it was fascinating to watch how quickly the thin veneer of civilization fell away to be replaced by man’s basest instincts. There were still humans who cherished their humanity, though, and this certainly helped to soften the violence and casual disregard for human life portrayed by the Splitters.
I particularly enjoyed the way the author handled the rekindled relationship between Sadie and Caleb. It would have been so easy for Nikki Lewen to fall into a cliched and expected scenario with this but I felt she handled it beautifully. As this is the first in a trilogy, the author has definitely succeeded in investing her readers in the characters. I really care about what happens to these main characters now and although I’m not a great fan of cliffhanger endings, it does make it almost certain I’ll be reading book two just to find out what happens next. A thoroughly readable and exciting novel that I can highly recommend.