by Rajan Khanna
Reviewed by Ealish Waddell
The surface of the Earth has become the domain of the Ferals — animalistic, zombie-like humans taken over by the mysterious virus known as the Bug. What’s left of civilization has taken to the air, building floating cities high above the chaos of the ground, for the Bug is highly contagious — every drop of Feral blood holds infection and insanity.
Ben has lived his entire life amid the harsh, violent reality of the Sick, scratching out a hardscrabble existence as a forager and salvager. Aboard his family airship, the Cherub, he’s used to being on his own and choosing his own path.
Lately, he’s signed on as a protector for a group of scientists who are seeking a cure for the Bug. They are led by Miranda, a determined and idealistic woman who inspires feelings in Ben warmer than he cares to admit. But a band of raiders has been rampaging through the floating cities, leaving destruction and death in their wake. When they attack the scientists’ base, they make off with Ben’s beloved airship among their stolen booty.
Stranded, Ben must navigate deadly terrain to get back to safety and come up with some way, any way, to get his ship back. Then Miranda unexpectedly reappears in his life, and Ben, who has always been concerned first and foremost with his own survival, now has to decide whether there’s something more important worth fighting for.
Tales involving airships and mad science tend to be set in an alternate past, but this one shakes things up by taking place in an imagined post-apocalyptic future. It’s a fast-paced adventure loaded with fight scenes, secret missions, gory horror and even some sexytimes. But deeper themes run underneath: the power of love, the point of life, and the place of faith and hope in a ruined world.