Abaddon Books, Â p/b Â£10.99
Reviewed by Jim McLeod
Schoolâ€™s Out Forever collects Scott K. Andrews three post apocalyptic Novels Schoolâ€™s Out, Operation Motherland, and Childrenâ€™s Crusade together in one fantastic edition, along with a short story, interviews and previously unpublished material. These books tell the story of Lee Keegan, who is not your normal run of the mill post apocalyptic hero. You see Lee is only fifteen when his story begins. Set in the Afterblight universe, that many of Abaddonâ€™s books exist in, a world where the human population has been decimated by a killer virus, where only those blessed or cursed with type O negative blood survived the initial decimation. A world where the survivors either huddle together for safety, or form ruthless killer gangs determined to make the most of a lawless world.
When a book has an opening sentence as brilliant as â€œI celebrated my fifteenth birthday by burying my headmaster and emptying my bladder on the freshly turned earthâ€, you know you are in for something special. Schoolâ€™s Out Forever is a brilliant novel that works on many levels. On a pure reading enjoyment level this is a first class book. It is a gripping and unrelenting story that captures the horror of living in a world destroyed by disease. With a narrative that never slows down or shies away from the horrors of such a world. However delve a little deeper into the story and you will discover a book that looks into the heart mind and soul of a teenager struggling to find his way in this terrifying world.
Schoolâ€™s Out Forever is full of brilliant complex characters, each driven by their own hopes and needs. Character that Andrews uses perfectly to discuss the moral issues that arise in such a world. Just how far would you go to survive in such a world. This is an emotionally packed novel, one where you will become completely invested in the protagonists. So much so that when the author throws in some curveballs you will feel as though you have just been punched in the stomach. It is a joy to follow Lee Keegan on his journey from wide eyed school boy into the heroic figure he is destined to become.