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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Times End is a dystopian survival story by R. Prior. Lauded for his heroics in Afghanistan, Captain Ryan Mathers retires from the Australian Special Forces with benefits and an injury, hoping to begin a new life with his girlfriend, Jennifer. However, the advent of a new deadly pandemic puts all his plans on hold. When Jennifer falls victim to the devastating virus, Ryan's life shatters into pieces. As the world slowly devolves into chaos and society crumbles, Ryan is determined to fulfill his promise to a dying Jennifer. After rescuing a young woman named Bella from her captor, Ryan brings two teenagers into his little group. With a little farm of their own, Ryan and his friends soon fall into a humdrum routine. But they must be prepared to defend themselves to ensure the future of humanity.
Fans of dystopian shows like The Walking Dead or The Last of Us will find plenty to love in Times End. R. Prior's character-driven survival drama feels like a mirror held up to society during the lockdown years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior's writing is crisp and concise, wasting no words to get to the heart of the story and put the reader into the midst of the action. All the major characters have brief backstories that drive their actions and define their personalities. The dynamic between Ryan, Bella, Jake, and Tash feels genuine and relatable, acting as an anchor around which the story revolves. Readers who love dystopian survival tales will devour this with relish.