Past This Point by Nicole Mabry – Book Review
Past This Point by Nicole Mabry – Book Review
Past This Point
Author – Nicole Mabry
Publisher – Red Adept Publishing
Pages – 372
Released – 8th September 2019
ISBN-13 – 978-1948051330
Format – ebook, paperback
Review by – Julie
Rating – 4 Stars
I received a free copy of this book.
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Karis Hylen has been through the New York City dating wringer. After years of failed relationships, she abandons her social life and whittles her days down to work and spending time with her dog, Zeke. Her self-imposed exile ends up saving her life when an untreatable virus sweeps the east coast, killing millions.
Alone in her apartment building, Karis survives with only Zeke, phone calls to her mom, and conversations with two young girls living across the courtyard. With the city in a state of martial law, violence and the smell of rotting corpses surround her every day. But her biggest enemy is her own mind.
As cabin fever sets in, vivid hallucinations make her question her sanity. In addition to her dwindling food and water stash, Karis must now struggle to keep her mind in check. When a mysterious man enters the scene, she hopes she can convince him to help her make it to the quarantine border. With the world crumbling around her, Karis discovers her inner strength but may find that she needs people after all.
‘Past this Point’ is a post-apocalyptic novel by American-based author, Nicole Mabry. At the time of reviewing, this scenario is extremely topical with coronavirus still proving difficult to contain. The story is told in the first person and the past tense.
We meet our main character, Karis, just before she becomes holed up in her apartment with only her dog for company, due to a killer-virus sweeping the east coast. Inevitably Karis, has problems with loneliness and struggles at times with separating reality from fantasy. She has a lot of time for soul-searching and re-evaluation of her mind-set.
After a while, Karis is given foils in the form of two sisters, Julia and Emma, in a neighbouring apartment block, both of whom seem to be extremely mature for their age. This aspect of the story is very moving and evocative. By now, the infrastructure of New York is breaking down and Karis soon experiences the inevitable dangers that follow on from this.
In the second half of the story, Karis has Ollie for companionship, causing the focus to shift from survival to attraction. Nicole Mabry has given herself an unnecessary complication by deciding that Ollie is English. He’s from London and has been in New York for a few weeks; during that time, he seems to have embraced the American English language without difficulty, as did his wealthy English parents when contacted by phone. However, an international audience most probably won’t notice.
The structure of the plot is straightforward without twists or misdirection and many readers will enjoy its simplicity. It’s extremely difficult to carry a whole story with such a narrow focus without it becoming introspective and repetitive. By and large the author has coped well with her remit. We have a degree of foreshadowing with varying levels of suspense. The scene-setting is excellent and the cover helps in this regard.
I confess to feeling a little irritated with the amount of good fortune Karis and Ollie enjoy; finding petrol readily available and working freezers full of food. I wondered why people would have turned feral when there were still plentiful supplies around. The physicians Karis and Ollie encounter are knowledgeable in their understanding of the makeup of the virus. If the frontline clinicians are so efficient, why do they have difficulty in interpreting Karis’ blood results? Any workup on a patient with Karis’ profile would include the obvious cause for the anomaly found. By this point I was definitely overthinking it.
The ending was perhaps rather twee but for those who enjoy romance, it will be a satisfying conclusion to a competently-written story. I quite liked aspects of the book and objectively, award four stars.
Book Reviewer – Julie
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About the Author
Nicole Mabry spends her days at NBCUniversal as the Senior Manager of Photography Post Production. Her nights are reserved for writing novels. At the age of seven, she read The Boxcar Children, sparking a passion for reading and writing early on.
Nicole grew up in the Bay Area in Northern California and went to college at UCLA for Art History. During a vacation, she fell in love with New York City and has lived in Queens for the past sixteen years.
On weekends you can find her with a camera in hand and her dog, Jackson, by her side. Nicole is an animal lover and horror movie junkie.