Strain of Resistance – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Michelle Bryan

In Michelle Bryan’s Strain of Resistance, a mysterious crystalline cloud wipes over Earth, leaving only death and destruction in its path. Eight years later, Emma Bixby and her fellow survivors are still fending off the alien leeches that infiltrated the planet. When some of their own go missing, Bixby and her crew set out to find out what happened—and discover something worse than they could have ever imagined.

In some ways, Strain of Resistance seems typical of its genre and overly similar to other apocalyptic survivor stories like it. It channels well-known horror works like The Walking Dead, Alien, and The Mist, but perhaps a bit too much. Unfortunately, the cliché aspects of this novel almost seem to outweigh the wholly original ones. Also, the main character, Bixby, is a difficult one to fully get behind and relate to. She tends to behave more like an exaggerated caricature than a believable protagonist, which can sometimes make her rather unlikable. Together, these aspects result in Strain of Resistance perhaps not living up to its full potential.

However, Strain of Resistance is still an incredibly enjoyable novel. Michelle Bryan has quite the talent as a horror writer; her monsters are delightfully terrifying and her eerily vivid style of writing is sure to please any seasoned fan of the horror genre. The fast-paced narrative doesn’t waste time with filler material, but rather gets right down to the nitty-gritty gore and carnage that captivates from the very first sentence. Strain of Resistance is an exciting, horrifying, exhilarating plunge into one group’s desperate struggle for survival that is guaranteed to keep readers on the edge of their seats.


Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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