Review: ‘South’, by Frank Owen

Published by: Corvus Books (Atlantic Books)

Publication Date: 7th July 2016

I.S.B.N.: (Paperback) 9781782399612, (Ebook) 978178239812

Price: £12.99 (Paperback)

Book received from publisher in return for an honest review.


The USA has been ravaged by Civil War. It’s thirty years since the first wind-borne viruses ended the war between North and South – and still they keep coming. Every wind brings a new and terrifying way to die. The few survivors live in constant fear, hiding from the wind – and from each other.

In this harsh Southern expanse, brothers Garrett and Dyce Jackson are on the run from brutal law-enforcers. They meet Vida, a lone traveller on a secret quest. Together, they will journey into the dark heart of a country riven by warfare and disease.

This is the story of Dyce and Vida.

This is the story of The Cure and how it came too late.

This is the story of South.


Frank Owen is the pseudonym for two authors – Diane Awerbuck and Alex Latimer.

My Review

Well, it took me several months to get through the first quarter and about seven hours to read the rest. It started slow and was a bit confusing but the plot gathered pace and the story kept my gripped, from about chapter 20. At 407 pages, and 61 chapters, it’s not a small book but it definitely keeps your attention once the story really picks up. It’s easy reading, once you get in to it.

While the world building is fairly good and the characters interesting, and there are some excellent plot twists, certain elements felt predictable. Of course the villain dies hoisted by his own petard, of course the heroes survive to build a new life. It’s an old story with a  new setting.

I feel the same about the romance subplot between Dyce and Vida; I’m not sure it would have made much difference if they were portrayed as developing a close friendship rather than becoming lovers. It felt like an unnecessary development shoehorned in to satisfy some trope that says opposite gender characters thrown together by an emergency must fall in love. It’s so dull, and stereotypical.

It is an enjoyable book, I’m not saying it isn’t, but it didn’t give me anything new to think about or stretch my faculties in any way. It’s commercial fiction, I suppose I can’t really complain, but I like my fantasy (this is roughly fantasy in the post-apocalyptic disaster sense) with a bit of depth. If you want to be entertained with a post-apocalypse story without zombies I recommend it, it’s easy reading.



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