ARC Review: Great Divide by Ben Fisher & Adam Markiewicz

Great DivideGreat Divide by Ben Fisher
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In the near future, humanity awakens to the horrifying reality that the faintest touch from another’s skin results in agonizing death. The survivors isolate themselves, many driven mad by fragments of memories absorbed from those they’ve killed. Two years after the “Divide,” a pair of thieves stumble upon the means to save their species… but not everyone is eager to see the old world order restored!

The Great Divide is an apocalyptic scenario in which civilization crumbles when people start dropping dead from human contact. This new affliction affects in such a way that one of the persons involved dies and their consciousness gets absorbed into the other as a ‘rider’. People are, naturally, scattered from each other, and avoid touching another human being, which creates a market for a contact-less porn industry, where our two protagonists first meet in a robbery. Paul accidentally absorbs Maria’s brother and they band together because she has to get to Seattle and he, well, is sharing mind-space with her brother and has become dyslexic as a result, and feels protective towards her.

While on their end-of-world road trip, they encounter a fighting ring, a weird cult, a researcher and some answers. The Great Divide, as the affliction is known, brings out strange monsters in people, like the author who likes to collect riders, and a new world order where the strong-willed survive. It is an adventure from start to finish, but it leaves on an open ending (I’m assuming, from the two epilogues, that this is a standalone). The story really gets into gear somewhere in the last third, when things start to finally make some sense – the earlier parts then start feeling extraneous. It still, however, lends some development to the characters, who are a diverse set.

The artwork is well, generic and nothing too impressive. Storyboard was interesting, but as I said, events came too late to retain an interest in the plot early on. I had sort of put it down after the first chapter and then came back to it days later. Overall, an interesting piece of dystopia but I feel it should have been resolved better.

Content warning: violence, and nudity.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Dynamite Entertainment, via Edelweiss.

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