I’ve been wanting to read a big epic novel and was pretty happy when I found Swan Song on Amazon prime. If you’ve been a fan of horror in the last 30 years you’ve heard of Robert McCammon and his almost 1,000 page book on the apocalypse. It was written in 1987 when everyone feared a nuclear war was a possibility between the U.S.S.R and the U.S.
This book is a masterpiece on story telling and developing characters who are memorable and go through major transformations. The book follows several characters and is divided into three major storylines in the post-apocalypse world. In this world we have a woman called Sister Creep who was homeless living on the streets of New York; Swan, a young girl with the power to make things grow; Josh an ex wrestler and protector of Swan and Roland who was in an underground bunker when the war started. Of the three major storys I liked Swan and Sister Creep but I found myself rushing through Roland’s story so I could get back to the other two.
You could teach a class on novel writing with examples from this book. It may be long but it doesn’t feel like it because you care about the characters and you’re hoping they can find a better like in this harsh new world. This book mixes elements of fantasy into a realistic world which felt like it could be a reality if you were alive in 1987. This book also has lighter moments like when Swan and Josh enter a Kmart that has been taken over by mental patients and when the come across a circus train. Swan Song runs you through several emotions as you read it and it’s hard to put down.
One of favorite characters in this book is Sister Creep. I love the idea that one of the main heroes of the story is a crazy woman living on the streets. As she puts it the apocalypse turns her sain again because there is no other way for her to survive this new world. I also loves Swan who has the tendency to make everyone around her a better person but she still doesn’t see herself as special. In one scene early in the book one of her mother’s boyfriends stomps her flower garden, rather than getting upset she forgives him. This leaves the boyfriend in shock and shows how special Swan is.
This is an epic battle against good and evil set in a world that is like our own but is more bleak thanks to the power struggle between various nations. Another great reason to read this book is that the characters in it our nothing like the heroes you might find in other novels. I dont think you could ever do a movie on this book because the characters aren’t the types to transfer over to a visual medium. These characters aren’t pretty, they have a rough life and it keeps getting rougher as the story moves along but they keep trying to build a better life despite the odds and the despair all around them. This book is about the triumph of the human spirit and a must read for fans of epic fantasy.