Book Review: Primitives by Erich Krauss

This is a book review Primitives by Erich Krauss, a post-apocalyptic novel released in May 2022. I received this book from the editor in return for fair consideration. If you’d rather watch a review, check out our Youtube channel!


An exciting, fast-paced and realistic post-apocalyptic thriller,
Primitives dives deep into what makes us human.

The premise

Thirty years after The Great Fatigue infected the globe – and the treatment regressed most of the human race to a primitive state – Seth Keller makes a gruesome discovery in his adoptive father’s makeshift laboratory. This revelation forces him to leave the safety of his desert home and the only other person left in the world…at least, as far as he knows.

Three thousand miles away, in the jungles of Costa Rica, Sarah Peoples made her own equally horrific and heartbreaking discovery. This will take him far from the fledgling colony of New Haven, but never beyond the reach of his ruthless authoritarian leader.

On separate journeys to a world apart, Seth and Sarah find themselves embroiled in a deadly race to save humanity. Their fates will collide in an epic struggle between good and evil, where the differences are not always clear. Among the grim realities of civilization’s demise, they discover that the remaining survivors may pose an even greater threat than the abominations they have come to fear.

Fighting for their lives, they are faced with a haunting question.

Does humanity deserve to survive?

Primitives, the first book in this saga, is a tale of bravery and self-discovery found in the ruins of a dying world, where the darker sides of human nature are revealed.

Exam

If you’re someone who loves hardcovers, this one is gorgeous. There are images at the start of each chapter and a few larger images throughout. That’s wonderful.

I really really really enjoyed this novel. If you’re a fan of the genre, you’ll love it. It’s set thirty years after the event, so we see isolated pockets of civilization, small groups roaming the countryside, there’s mentions of raiders, there’s an interesting take on zombies, and of course there’s of survivalism. It features several genre tropes that we love, but it doesn’t rely on the tropes to tell the story.

Speaking of tropes, one of my favorites is when the characters go on a quest through the desert, and this book gives us of them of these courses on a converging path. As such, we see suburbs, deranged wildlife, records of dire situations, Las Vegas and San Diego. However, I would have liked more descriptions of these areas to fully capture the degradation and degradation of cities and landscapes.

Although serious in tone, the novel is not as depressing as The road but has a similar feel given how void of humans it is. It was an element that I loved, because it made times when Seth, in particular, bump into people a real test of human nature.

The book has lively prose that moves at a pace that’s almost too fast at times but definitely keeps you hooked. The action scenes are exciting, well described and frequent. The chapters are short, and I kept convincing myself to read “just one more” to find out what happened next.

The most interesting in this novel is the “zombie” aspect. In truth, they are not zombies. I won’t divulge how or why this happens, because that’s part of the fun, but humans have returned to a “primitive” state. They go on a rampage, killing by primal instinct. The people who remain have this disease they call Fatigue, which makes them horribly tired unless they take this intravenous drug called NAD. When the explanation first appeared, I was skeptical about the science, but it’s explained in more detail later, which allayed any concerns I had. It’s even more interesting when you find out in the “Author’s Note” that Krauss himself suffered from a very similar debilitating condition, so the descriptions of what he feels are authentic and accurate.

The plot is pretty simple, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any twists or none of them are expected! It’s very nice and keeps you on the edge of your seat.

I liked the characters. Both Sarah and Seth want to leave their house for different reasons. Sarah was great because she’s not (as is often the case in this genre) a perfect, cold, aloof killer; she is an ordinary young woman, tough and determined.

Don’t get me wrong, the cold and aloof slayer is my favorite archetype!

Sarah makes mistakes and has no fighting skills (except for being rambling), but I cared deeply about what happened to her. Seth was a little less interesting to me because he’s kinda bland, but maybe that’s because Sarah is so convincing and Seth, raised with only his teacher/dad for company, had no one against who develop a personality. His arc was also interesting, as it dealt with trust and betrayal.

The supporting characters, Cat, B, and Josh, were distinct, and while we didn’t know much about them, they helped move the story forward. They had more depth than the average hired henchman. My favorite scene in the book (which I’ll call “the island”) even had me worried about one of them.

One thing that isn’t a problem, just a preference on my part, is that the book ends on a cliffhanger. It’s not something I particularly like, but the novel was so compelling that I’m going to skip it and definitely read book 2.

If you like post-apocalyptic adventure novels that sometimes dive into deeper concepts but still retain that quest energy, check out Primitives!

Check the link here to see where you can buy the book (spoiler alert – almost anywhere).

TS Beier is obsessed with science fiction, ruins of industry and Fallout. She is the author of What Branches Grow, a post-apocalyptic novel (which was a top 5 finalist in the 2020 Kindle Book Awards and a semi-finalist in the 2021 Hugh Howey Self-Published Sci-Fi Competition) and the Burnt Ship Trilogy (opera space). She is a book reviewer, editor, freelance writer, and co-owner of Rising Action Publishing Co. She currently lives in Ontario, Canada, with her husband, two feral children, and a shepherd-mastiff.

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