‘We buried your mother in the cellar.’ His eyes welled and, haze or not, she saw truth there. And she knew that the promise of love was also the promise of pain. That grief was a root: the deeper it reached, the stronger it grew. ‘We buried her in the cellar,’ he said again, shaking his head, and she heard what he left unsaid: And I’ll soon be beside her, and at some point in the future, you will die alone in this house in the middle of the woods.

The Electric Kingdom by David Arnold is more than a post apocalyptic tale. While there’s adventure, brushes with death, and battles to survive, it’s a story of humanness — of what it takes to fight the darkness — of human connection and recognising the intricacies and rhythms of life.

The story is told from three perspectives:

  • Eighteen year old Nico lives in a farmhouse in a wood far from anything. When her dad sickens, he sends her off with her dog, Harry to find Kairos and a portal to another world;
  • Twelve year old Kit lives in an abandoned cinema in an abandoned town and spends his days painting and reading; and
  • The Deliverer, a mysterious person living life after life to save the world.

I was hooked from the start with the mystery, unique premise, and great cast of characters. The Electric Kingdom has depth, too and soul, and is littered with truths about art, pandemics, and redemption. My only gripe is with the infected Flies originally manufactured by Russian scientists. I wish the author had made the scientists American, British or even Australian. Referring to Russia this way seemed an unnecessary cheap shot in a book which delivered on so many levels.

Overall, if you want a story of pandemics, end-times, adventure and heart, this could well be the book for you! The Electric Kingdom is about taking chances to make life better and I loved this story. I devoured the book in a couple of days. Highly recommended reading. Also, dear filmmakers of the world, this would make a great film, or even better, a Netflix series!

Many thanks to the lovely folk at Text Publishing for sending me a review copy of The Electric Kingdom.

The Electric Kingdom is released in Australia on 16 February 2021.

Blurb:

A genre-smashing story of survival, hope and love amid a ravaged earth.

A deadly flu has swept the globe, leaving a shell of the world that once was. Among the survivors are eighteen-year-old Nico and her dog, who are on a journey devised by Nico’s father to find a mythical portal; a young artist named Kit, who knows almost nothing of the world outside the old abandoned cinema he was raised in; and the enigmatic Deliverer, who lives Life after Life in an attempt to put the world back together.