cover image Raid


K.S. Merbeth. Orbit, $9.99 mass market (368p) ISBN 978-0-316-30873-1

Merbeth cheerfully follows Bite with a sequel replete with abundant meaningless violence, amorality, and bold personalities as she revisits the chaotic, Borderlands-esque postapocalyptic wasteland of cannibalistic raiders and infinitely expendable townies. Bounty hunter Clementine successfully follows a tip for entering the private bedroom of the raider king of the eastern wastes, Jedediah Johnson. Jed is a surprisingly compliant, if fast-talking, hostage. But her plan to take him west and cash him in with law-establishing raider-collector Saint is thwarted by the surge of raiders fleeing Saint’s just-destroyed radio tower, and Jed and Clementine must decide whom to trust—townies, raiders, or even each other—to survive the chaos. Merbeth superimposes Clementine and Jed’s occasionally emotional enemies-to-buddies story over the action, an authorial decision that fits with the series theme of humanizing the bad guys but hampers the plot. Cameo appearances by Bite’s oddball crew will remind readers that Merbeth is capable of eliciting fondness for characters, but she fails to manage that this time around. Agent: Emmanuelle Morgan, Stonesong Literary. (Aug.)