Jennifer rated it: 4 out of 5 stars (I couldn't get them to show)
A major catastrophe has occurred on Earth and only about 20% of the population survives the initial event. The aftereffects are devastating and climactic events follow, further decimating the surviving population. It isn't until over a million years pass by that the Earth has heals itself and humankind is able to live and survive. That's where this story begins. The prologue covers all of this.
Harris Penn is the son of the inept and shut-in King Aidyn of Pennland. Harris is sent to Carolinas to be fostered by that King. While there Harris learns how a real King should act and run his kingdom. Harris matures quickly and becomes quite knowledgeable, which is good since events cause him to have to raise an army to travel back and save his kingdom and people from evil doers.
The majority of the story is Harris' journey home and the relationships he makes with allies along the way. Harris respects the different people and their cultures and demonstrates his leadership potential. He is a very likable King and becomes well respected. Harris gives everyone a chance to join his cause since he is forthright and honest, but in the end he takes care of business, ridding the land of riff raff.
Overall this story has very good bones but I did have a few issues with the book. The reader sees the progression and growth of Harris, but he seems a little bland or wooden. It doesn't make him unlikeable. I just don't "feel" for him as much as everyone else in the book. I loved all of the secondary characters, even the bad guys.
There is a spiritual or religious element in the book called the Mother, which I interpreted to mean the Great Mother, like Mother Earth or the Goddess. I have no problem with that, but this religion is never explained. The significance or reasons for the Mother's actions (she makes several appearances) are never laid out. So I felt a little in the dark in that respect.
What I really liked was the set-up of the story and the story itself. Walls has some really great ideas, and I could definitely see a sequel or continuation. This story takes place on the East Coast of the United States and Walls uses the names of states for the names of her countrys, Pennland and Carolinas. The districts in Harris' country also have names that hearken back to before the "Big One".
All in all this is a pretty good story. Walls writing could use some tightening up, some of the dialogue was a bit off or something, but not so much that it was hard to read. For her first self-published book, Walls does a pretty good job and hopefully this only the first of many more good books to come.