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The Dead City is the sequel to The Dead Lands, which I loved ~ and I'm happy to report that I thoroughly enjoyed this, too!
The sly, greedy and sociopathic Colonel Paden from planet Erebus has commanded a fleet to go to the city of Magna on planet Hemera, to recover lost riches hidden there after a nuclear strike wiped it out a hundred years before. The party of 400 soldiers is led by Lieutenant Marshal, and as soon as they set foot in the dead city of the title, they are besieged by the thousands of mutant beings who live there, descendents of those who survived.
The main characters are Paden, Marshal, soldier Ryan and his beloved sister Jayde, the evil Murdoch who has a bone or six to pick with Ryan and a hankering for his sister, and several other 'goodies' who are given varying fates: Boone, Darrell, Burke, Laila.
The mission is dangerous if not suicidal, and Marshal contemplates mutiny as more and more of his men lose their lives. Dylan Morgan is the master of bleak dystopian description and atmosphere, and though this is a fairly long book consisting mostly of soldiers fighting mutants and dying horrible deaths, it never seemed either repetitive or tedious, because of the backstories, hopes, fears and relationships between all the people, and the 'oh my God what's going to happen when I turn the page' factor. The characterisation is as good as in all his books, and I couldn't get enough of the despicable Colonel Paden! I made a note that Chapter 10 is particularly good, but there are other highlights, including a chapter from a mutant's point of view, which is quite an eye-opener and a great idea (there's one in The Dead Lands, too).
I wasn't expecting a happy ever after ending and I certainly didn't get one, though a final, dark and terrifying twist is revealed at the end - nice one, and it left promise of another book to come, which I am seriously looking forward to! Definitely recommended if you like books of this genre and don't wince at blood, gore and horrific injuries. Oh, and if Mr Morgan can get me any of that Tetralaphel given to the injured soldiers, I'd be forever in his debt!!
October Rain by Dylan Morgan is reviewed HERE, with links to other books by him that I've reviewed, including The Dead Lands. All have Amazon buy links.