Note: I received a free copy of this book from Online Book Club in exchange for an honest review. Into Autumn was selected as an OnlineBookClub.org Book of the Day. You can check out both the novel and other reviews here!
There’s no denying that Into Autumn held promise. But with each chapter I felt myself becoming more and more frustrated as the depth and likability of the characters greatly lessened. I began with a four star rating in mind. How quickly that changed.
Into Autumn proves how much humankind takes for granted. When the stock market crashes and the government begins to break down in the United States, Eileen must flee to safety in the remote countryside. Here, she meets Lars, a man who lives alone in the woods who knows how to fend for himself. Deciding to trust each other, Lars and Eileen live together and must band together with nearby families in order to survive this dystopian world. But they aren’t the only ones…
I would definitely say I’m a fan of post apocalyptic novels. They’re exciting and frightening, and often feel all too possible. Landgraf’s tale began with so much promise and quickly drew me in. But unfortunately, Landgraf is unable to find his voice in this book and lacks the skill of defining characters of more than one dimension. Though he begins with in-depth descriptions, he quickly grows lazy and moves into generalizations. ‘They all’ felt this way or that way, ‘they all’ did this.
Into Autumn contains many opportunities for incredibly emotional and intensely action-packed sequences, but skips over them. The author describes them as briefly as he possibly can and instead focuses on monotonous day-to-day life. While this proved interesting at first, after a few chapters it gets extremely dull. The characters settle into a routine and it’s no surprise that the author has followed suit. While an easy read, it feels as if you’re re-reading the same chapter over and over again. And when something big does happen, it’s written in such a non-descriptive way it’s near impossible to react.
Into Autumn contains many sex scenes, though they’re not exactly pleasing to read. If anything, some of them are downright uncomfortable. From sexual assault to sexual encounters that literally happen out of the blue and for seemingly no other reason than to move the plot along, many were incredibly unnecessary. There are even a few sentences that you could swear were written by someone very immature. For example:
The banana in Robbie’s trunks took a while to disappear, but he adjusted so it was not as noticeable.
There are many things that need work in this novel, but what I found most upsetting was the countless sexist, and quite honesty racist undertones I found throughout the story. I’m not sure if this was the author or just the way he wrote the characters, but either way, I am not happy.
The roles of men and women are made quite clear from the start. The women are almost always the ones cooking and cleaning while the men are the ones who ‘take care of business’. While the female characters know how to shoot and protect themselves, it’s always the men who do most of it. And perhaps if this was set a century after the apocalypse began, it would make some sort of sense. But the fact of the matter is this story is set in the modern world. But the old world views conveyed in subtle and obvious ways will convince you otherwise. Here are just a few passages that particularly stood out:
“Sam was of Asian descent. This didn’t matter to Lars.”
“A little on the skinny side, but still a woman.”
“It’s too bad she’s a lesbian. Maybe she will come around after a while if she and James have enough in common and they get along well. It’s hard to be a lesbian when there are no women around.”
“I’m 17 now. It’s time I get married and there are only two available men in the valley.”
Into Autumn held promise. But with each page that I read, I found myself growing aggravated, bored, and questioning why exactly I was reading this book. Needless to say, I rate this novel 1/5 stars and would not recommend it to anyone.
Keep in mind that this is just my opinion! A lot of people really enjoyed the book, so feel free to check out other reviews over at OnlineBookClub.org!
Thanks for reading!
Sincerely, Fiction’s Mistress