This is How it Ends, Nick Wilgus
Publisher: DSP Publications
Tags: LGBTQ – Gay Dystopian, Post Apocalyptic, UF, Aliens, Dark/Psychological, Physical, Abuse
Length: 301 Pages
Deadworld: Book One
High school juniors Billy Gunn and Rory Wilder return from a weekend camping trip to find a mysterious plague has wiped out their small town of Port Moss, Mississippi. The question of why is only the beginning—especially when the dead refuse to stay dead.
Figuring out what happened is job one for Billy and Rory. But complications quickly set in. Not only do the dead rise, but a freak storm threatens torrential downpours as winter looms. And enormous ships appear in the sky, bringing with them alien visitors with technology never seen before.
Left without electricity and modern conveniences, Billy and Rory must figure out a way to navigate horrific zombies, advanced alien life forms, and apocalyptic storms, as well as deal with their growing love for each other in a world gone mad.
**TREAT AS A SPOILER REVIEW**
Well, that was a genre free for all, but I must admit it worked. It’s kind of a YA book because the two MC are 15 years old, thrown into a Dystopian and Post Apocalyptic world at the start of the book. But wait there’s more, some Sci-Fi, Contemporary, UF, Horror and very dark. It’s hard to see these kids go through this with a zombie apocalypse too, now for the free steak knives… and the cherry on top is a Midwitch Cuckoo who could have made a cameo on Falling Skies (TV series) lol.
This Is How It Ends, takes small snippets from all over the place, it’s like reading the playlist from a hardcore industrial club and every sample and loop the DJ mixed into what he played that night was frantically placed into the rapidly twisted storyline of this book, and it WORKED for me.
I do like it when dystopian is done properly as I don’t think it’s an easy genre to write within. It is usually very dark and this book is no exception, but these books are usually pushing taboo’s and trigger points with a sharp stick. A few go too far and ruin it, some still go too far yet master it, this book balances right on the edge, so yes, it’s a blood pumping thrill ride and the characters really want to get off.
I really enjoyed this novel. The main storyline just gets slammed into 3rd gear while going 100KM p/h, and that’s just by the end of book one, and yes, it’s a MOTHER OF A CLIFF-HANGER . So I am positive it will actually get better as it goes along but Nick, PLEASE don’t end on such huge cliffhangers mate. It’s beyond frustrating. While I understand the build up, it unfortunately backfires a lot more now on the authors of LGBTQ+ novels because so many series never get finished. I’m only mentioning this as it came up on the GR boards again the other day. People now wait for book two or the entire series to be published these days. Some do it because they hate cliff-hangers and the main reason is due to a lack of book two. Anyway, I’ll shut up now.
This book was right up my alley and it was very dark and nasty. This is one action packed thriller and it’s actually really creepy in parts, horrifying in others, and heart wrenching as these kids just can’t catch a break. It’s really well written and Nick Wilgus has really thrown his characters into the deep-end. They can all swim though, and luckily they all flip out at different times. While some of them struggle to doggy paddles on one day, another will have a meltdown and be frozen in fear, it’s like watching a game of tacit tag because you can’t pick who’s going to leap off the diving block and become the Olympic swimmer for that five minutes or the entire day. It depends if their fight or flight instinct is triggered in any given scenario, and they are relentless and just keep coming.
This Is How It Ends (Deadworld Book 1) is a foundation novel. It’s setting the scene for what I believe has the potential to become an amazing series.
Billy and Rory are the main characters and are best friends, they decide to spend their last days of summer vacation camping just outside of their small town, Port Moss, in the deep south of Mississippi. Billy is gay and at fifteen, he’s too scared to make any moves on his best friend Rory, who he’s had a crush on for the few years they’ve known each other.
Billy is pretty sure Rory might be gay too and Billy has been a minx about it for a while now. Strutting around naked at home during sleep overs, accidentally dropping his towel on purpose when he gets back into his bedroom after a shower and sitting next to Rory on the bed. The only thing is, Rory doesn’t get mad with him but also doesn’t really ask him to cover up either, but Billy’s hesitation comes from Rory getting occasionally flustered with him about his lack of clothing and he is one strict Christian.
On their last day, a boat drifts towards them on the river. They notice something is wrong and swim out to meet it, but the people are dead. They rush back into town to find it deserted, so deserted that only a few dogs are left barking. After checking their homes and shops they realise that they are definitely not alone, everyone’s still here but they’re all dead. They all looked to have died peacefully in their sleep and judging by the smell they think it happened Friday night, when they went off camping.
Shocked until sunset they finally go stay at Rory’s aunties house while she’s away, as they need to get their collective shit together. There’s still power though but not a single call will go through to anyone, nor is there anything new or updated on the Internet worldwide, the TV and radio aren’t broadcasting a thing, but as the days pass bodies slowly go missing and then they find out why. They grab the keys to his aunt’s car and decide to barricade themselves in the high school until help arrives.
After a few days holed up in the school they find a couple of more people while on a supply run, a woman from their school cafeteria and Max, that’s where things begin to go really wrong, as they form a plan to flee to the countryside.
Nick Wilgus’ writing really comes to the fore, as he throws some very nasty words of taboo amongst this utterly terrified and frantic group. With the exponential friction he keeps building they all explode at each other when an attempt to get out of town is thwarted by flood waters that have been created from a raging storm that has been unleashing on them for days. They make their way to a church and that is where they find a girl stuck in a tree.
She is the Sheriff’s daughter, and still acts like she can do or say what ever she wants, but keeps forgetting that Daddy is dead. The friction she causes in such a small amount of time literally turns the other characters into lightning rods of tension as their hopes of survival begin to slide from their grasp. She is not just the Sheriff’s daughter but the unfortunate offspring of what was obviously one prejudice and vile man.
Within ten minutes she alienates the others who have saved her and proceeds to vomit forth one of the nastiest hate fuelled tirades I’ve read for a long time. It’s as if the electricity from the storm has had a metamorphosis effect on her, fuelling her vehement diatribe, so it might as well have been lightning bolts that kept shooting from her racist, homophobic and southern Christian mouth.
Now I personally despise two words she kept repeating, and yes it was the “N” word along with fag which I can see will upset a lot of people. I do not condone these words ever, and some people might not read it due to this fact but I felt it was in there for a reason. To make us all remember that not even an apocalypse can kill all prejudice, even one as taboo as the “N” word. To also remind the few survivors to never forget that. It was an ugly scene but it was also powerful. She had nothing, she needed them yet she kept going until they stripped her of her power by saying that if you open your mouth again, we won’t help you.
She was trying on a power play because she was a white supremacist her entire life. She had it viciously stripped away from her by two fifteen year old gay guys in less than two minutes after her rant with just a few words – say it again and we’ll lock you out. To possibly be the last five people left on earth, in the middle of more than one very nasty situation, I found it ended up making people like her, still clinging to their prejudice belief’s look sad and utterly pathetic.
The book moves forwards after they discover some nasty truths about the large black pyramids that almost obscure the sky but the worst thing they find out is what’s in them and what they’ve done to most of the dead people. Rory, who is a very devout Christian to the point that he carries his Bible around, finally stops quoting verses as he comes to terms with his sexuality. He realises that it’s not God’s Judgement Day as they are faced with another shocking event as they try to seek refuge at his grandfathers secluded farm.
They finally reach their intended destination and Rory has become completely insufferable, I wanted to reach into the book and bitch slap him. Poor peacekeeper Billy has been through hell after their journey and Rory just ignores him as Billy gets sicker and sicker. Rory won’t even look him in the eye and dismisses Billy illness until he collapses.
Now it sounds like I’ve reviewed the entire book from cover to cover and in some ways I have, but there’s only minor spoilers and loads more horrific events that I haven’t touched upon.
I would however like to touch upon the scene I mentioned earlier and other terrible things that happen. To me, every hardship they endured was like a metaphorical ending. There’s obviously not many people left in the world and dystopian novels are rarely a nice bedtime story. With each major event that went down, I felt like it was symbolic to the characters and it was meant to be hard. It’s not a nice book but it is a fantastic read and I highly recommend it to all my friends that like this kind of work.
These boys had to face their fear head on and either fight them or flee and there was no option to flee, so there were battles within battles. They are fifteen, Max is ten. All were forced to face down a lot of fears and beat each one of them but some came at a great cost. My point is that these things happen everyday unfortunately, it makes me sick to my stomach and although I loathe them with a passion, I also can’t stick my head in the sand and pretend that they don’t because that would just be lying to myself.
I’m not trying to justify myself or the author but I saw this from a different perspective and found it powerfully symbolic no matter what was said or happened. I’m actually more concerned about how on earth they’re going to survive through the sequel as the mysterious beings in the thousands of pyramids that are the size of cities began dropping pods the size of The Eiffel Tower right at the end of book one. So if you love dark dystopian horror, that honestly has too many other genre’s to name, except I’ll add Sci-Fi and Post Apocalyptic, then grab a copy and tell everyone what you think. I can’t wait for book two.