“Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales
Quick & Dirty: In a world overloaded with zombies, two young adults must fight for their lives and their love, but can it survive Peyton’s wild enhancements? This novel is very well rounded, and kept me interested until the last page.
Opening Sentence: “I wouldn’t go out with Chris Parker if he were the last guy on Earth!”
Formerly known as Razor Girl, Tomorrow Land is an emotional thrill ride that takes place in a future where zombies cause uninfected people to scramble to safety with no hope of returning to their former lives. Peyton Anderson was only fifteen when the outbreak began killing or turning those around her. The novel alternates from the present to flashbacks of the events leading up to Peyton’s family going underground to wait out the zombie apocalypse. When Peyton leaves the safety of the bunker, she sees just how bad her world has become in those four years.
Before the mutated flu started affecting people all over America, Peyton was a normal teenager living in 2030. It was unusual to see kids playing outside since everyone had simulated technology that put the player in the game. Peyton’s father did not allow current technology like sim decks. Though she felt that she was left out in the cold without the technology, it helped her to understand that reality was more than just a game to pass the time. Her father was paranoid and always thought the worst could happen any day. In the end, he was right.
The book jumps to the moment when the bunker door unlocks after four years. Peyton is now nineteen, and has some new enhancements that can save her life. Her father was not only paranoid, but a genius scientist. He modified Peyton to be stronger and faster, but also to have razors spring from her fingertips like the character Molly Millions in one of his old books. He used to tell Peyton as she was growing up that “A Razor Girl doesn’t cry. When they were sad, they spit.” Peyton is likeable and realistically depicted for what she has gone through. The first person she meets outside of the bunker is Chris, her former boyfriend that she left behind to live in the bunker with her mother. Chris, or Chase as he is known now, still tries to see Peyton as she was when she was fifteen and innocent to the destruction that would soon come, but she has changed. Then again, they all have changed in this post apocalyptic world. He has been hiding out in the local Wal-Mart with his brother and a band of children that they have saved along the way.
I found it very interesting how the children of this new, terror stricken world behaved. Even though they grew up without a family, the lonely people of this future found another one together with people who look after each other. They play and fight just like children today. This book really shows how humanity can be stretched and tested in such trying times, but still endures. How people handle the insanity and chaos that comes with a zombie outbreak really got me thinking about the relationships we have with strangers, and how in trying times, people come together for the greater good. Or try to kill strangers, as one town the group comes across does.
The novel moves on as Chase and Peyton travel with the group of children to find Peyton’s father. The only clue she has is that he told her that she had important information stored in her brain that would save the world, and that he would be at Disney World. Chase and Peyton fight zombies along the way and trying to rekindle their love in this unexpected world that they were unwillingly forced into. The responsibility and emotional stress is tearing at all of them, but the group still soldiers on. That is a point I want to make about this novel. Mancusi shows how even in the greatest adversity, humanity still goes on, fighting for every step that it takes.
I really enjoyed this novel, and the depth that Mancusi put into all of her characters. I kept thinking throughout it that even if it was a minor character, they still felt like a real person. The plot and how Mancusi uses flashbacks to tell the story are really strong and consistent. The emotional battle that Peyton and Chase face with reconciling their past love felt so real. How the characters and plot are crafted together is beautifully done. I would definitely recommend this for anyone who loves an action packed, zombie filled, romantic tale of human strength.
It was strange. For some reason, down in the shelter, she’d always envisioned the outside world to have become a gray wasteland, strangled by stormy clouds that mirrored the loss of humanity below. She’d expected a graveyard, a desolate landscape, a world with acrid winds and a sepia palette. But, it turned out, nature hadn’t mourned man’s destruction after all. If anything, it appeared to be celebrating its newfound freedom from gardeners and landscaping, a once tamed suburbia transforming into a feral forest full of emerald life.
She stuck out her arms, feeling the warmth of the sun on her skin for the first time in four years. She wanted to skip down the street, dance, cartwheel. Run for ten miles without stopping. Enjoy a world without boundaries after years in a cage.
After doing a little shimmy of joy on the front porch, she stopped herself, looking around, self-conscious, even though she knew there was no one to see her. The thought sobered her a bit. This beautiful world would most likely be empty. Or practically so. And now she didn’t even have her mother by her side. A new emotion gripped her heart: sadness, the beauty of the world fading as reality sank in. Though she’d mourned her previous life for four years on the inside, it was different to suddenly experience its loss firsthand. Back in the shelter this reality had seemed unreal, distant. Like something from a film. Actually stepping out into the world and seeing the empty, debris-filled streets, the houses crumbling from years of neglect, made the whole situation a lot more real and a lot harder to swallow.
It was the silence that felt the eeriest. Not that her middle-class suburb had ever been a bustling metropolis, but there had been sounds all the same: the droning of lawnmowers pushed by dads on their days off, the screams and laughter of kids playing wild games of tag, cars streaming down the nearby interstate, beeping away their road rage. Planes flying overhead. Normal, everyday, take-them-for-granted sounds. All were now swept clear by an overwhelming, almost suffocating silence. There wasn’t even birdsong.
A realization she had half-suppressed for too long rose up and choked Peyton. Everyone and everything she knew and loved was gone. Her friends, her teachers—now even her mother—had succumbed. Only her father was left. Out there. Waiting for her. Waiting for her assistance in rebuilding the world he’d known would fail.
FTC Advisory: The author provided me with a copy of Tomorrow Land. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.”