Review: Raid by K. S. Merbeth
Also by this author: Bite
Published by Orbit on July 25th 2017
Genres: Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction
"A full throttle, sand-in-your-eyes, no holds barred ride through a Mad Max-style wasteland." - Delilah S. Dawson on Bite
Clementine is a bounty hunter in a world gone mad.
Bound and gagged in her passenger seat is the most revered and reviled raider king in the eastern wastes. She can't cash him in and she can't let him go, so together they cross the wasteworld, following a dying road and dodging bloodthirsty raiders who either want to free Jedediah or claim him as their own.
And in a world where lawlessness reigns, a tyrant worse than they could have ever imagined emerges to take the throne.
In Raid, Merbeth takes us back to the wastes where we can see all the violence and messiness that comes with it. If you haven’t read Bite, I can sum it up as a post-apocalyptic type, mad max type of world. With cannibals (or sharks as they are called in the books). It can be an isolating world, and the perspective of Clementine really highlights this. She hunts raiders, who destroy and endanger towns, but it also actually feeds her isolation. People may be happy for her work killing raiders, but her ability to do so is alarming. Clementine is not exactly a person anyone would like to be the “girl next door”.
She came in to violence at a very young age, and discovered she had quite a knack for it. While it earned respect and admiration of her fellow townsfolk, once on her own, she never could find quite where she fit in. She takes to violence and killing almost too easily, her ability to take another’s life can be quite disarming to normal folk, but it is also how she survives and how she knows to make her world at least a little bit better (by taking out the raiders that endanger normal townsfolk). She adheres to a self imposed moral code that dictates when it is or is not OK to kill someone. Without this, I think she would have a hard time coming to terms with what she does.
Clementine finds her golden opportunity to take out one of the most feared and powerful raiders. If she pulls it off, it would be the thing of legends. She sees it as an opportunity to not just make an impact on her world, but also to get some respect, which she seems to seek. This catch sends her across the wastes, hostage in tow.
Clementine’s journey is not just about covering distance, but also discovering the value of companions, and with that comes the realization that sometimes you have to learn to trust. This is a huge obstacle for a girl who has been on her own for so long. Raid is exciting and thrilling, and at the same time, also quite a touching story (that just happens to feature cannibals, because you know what? Stories with cannibals can be more than just shock value reads)
While I do think this book could be read independently of Bite, I highly encourage people to start with Bite, and then read this one as there are some tie ins that will be more fun to read if you read them in order. And since I loved Bite so much, I would hate for anyone to miss out by skipping it.