- Defender (The Voices #1).
- G.X. Todd.
- 464 pages.
- Post-Apocalyptic / Fiction / Thriller.
- My Rating: Hell Yeah Book Review.
‘On the cusp of sleep, have we not all heard a voice call out our name?’
Defender by G X Todd is an imaginative thriller that draws on influences from Stephen King, Clive Barker and Neil Gaiman to create a new world – where the biggest threat mankind faces is from the voices inside your own head. If you loved The Stand, you’ll love Defender, the first in a four part series.
In a world where long drinks are in short supply, a stranger listens to the voice in his head telling him to buy a lemonade from the girl sitting on a dusty road.
The moment locks them together.
Here and now it’s dangerous to listen to your inner voice. Those who do, keep it quiet.
These voices have purpose.
And when Pilgrim meets Lacey, there is a reason. He just doesn’t know it yet.
Defender pulls you on a wild ride to a place where the voices in your head will save or slaughter you.
I received a free copy of the book courtesy of the publisher through bookbridgr in exchange for an honest review.
Defender tells the story of Lacey, a young girl and Pilgrim, a drifter and is set in the aftermath of the world going to hell in the wake of people starting to hear voices several years before. It’s a post-apocalyptic book that’s a part Road movie and adds a hint of the supernatural with the ‘voices‘ aspect.
Travelling along a road, Pilgrim sees a lone young girl outside a house, sitting at a lemonade stand, enter Lacey. Finding the sight of a lone girl to be weird, Pilgrim stops and pulls up. Lacey offers him a glass of cold lemonade, Pilgrim accepts and then payment is due. Lacey wants a ride to Vicksburg to check on her sister, her sister’s husband and their child, her niece who she hasn’t seen since the voices started appearing. Grudgingly, Pilgrim agrees and so their journey starts.
The ‘voices‘ heard by people are a core component of Defender, after all, it is the first book in the ‘The Voices‘ series! 😉 I found them to be a really interesting aspect adding a touch of uniqueness to the genre. Not everyone hears the voices but those that do are told by them to do evil things, to commit crime, murder, suicide and if your voice doesn’t tell you to kill yourself, well, you end up descending into madness. But are the voices all bad? Should they all be feared? We are tantalised with some snippets and understanding about them but Todd still leaves plenty left unanswered and there is far more to be discovered about their origins.
At the heart of Defender are its characters Lacey, Pilgrim, Voice and Alex and the dynamics and relationships between them. It’s a very character driven read and luckily they are all stellar characters (Voice is particularly awesome with his occasional sardonic musings) that you can get behind and root for. Particularly, Lacey, she’s tough, full of gumption and has hints of Maddy Ross from True Grit and Elka from The Wolf Road (a great book that I also highly recommend). Along their journey to Vicksburg, there are also villains to hate, Doc and Charles Dumont are both sinister and evil with menacing personalities.
The landscape in Defender is desolate and bleak with the survivors trying to get by and endure with dwindling amenities and scarce resources available. It’s the standard post-apocalyptic landscape but it’s well realised and Todd brings the barren yet wild land to life.
I like to feel immersed in the story being told in a book and Todd manages that with Defender, drawing you into the story she is telling. I really liked Todd’s writing, with her words she easily manages to convey emotion, brutality and humour and I found that, for me, she had the perfect balance between pacing, storytelling and characterisation to keep everything moving forward in the book.
Defender is the first part in The Voices series and as such, the ending isn’t entirely self-contained and closed. Todd, however, does a splendid job of finishing the book in what feels like the perfect way that is organic to the story told in Defender whilst simultaneously setting things up for what’s to come in the next book.
At around 450 pages in length, Defender is half the size of The Stand, Swan Song and The Passage a trio of the best (in my opinion) post-apocalyptic tomes around. And, as such, it removes the padding, occasional bloat and more sedate pacing of those three aforementioned classic books and is a more streamlined and fast-paced read.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent reading Defender and I’m looking forward to continuing the series with Hunted releasing next year. For fans of the post-apocalyptic genre, I definitely urge you to give Todd and Defender a read. I feel that it should be firmly placed in the upper echelons of the genre and you won’t be disappointed.👌
And now, the highly quotable bit:
Defender is a fantastic debut, an accomplished book and an outstanding addition to the post-apocalyptic genre. Simply put, it deserves to take its place next to the genre greats and is a modern classic.
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