Review of The Scourge of God by S. M. Stirling

 Rudi Mackenzie—son and heir of the High Priestess Juniper Mackenzie and the Bear Lord Michael Havel—continues his trek across the land that was once the United States of America. His destination: Nantucket, where he hopes to learn the truth behind the Change, which rendered technology across the globe inoperable.
During his travels, Rudi forges ties with new allies in the continuing war against the Prophet. Presiding over his flock, the Prophet teaches his followers that God has punished humanity by destroying technological civilization, and that they must continue to destroy any technology they come across—along with those who dare use it.
But one fanatical officer in the Sword of the Prophet has an even greater mission: to stop Rudi from reaching Nantucket by any means necessary.

This has honestly been my favourite of all the Emberverse books thus far and I am greatly looking forward to reading more, and not just because of Stirling’s inability to end in anything but a cliffhanger. I quite enjoyed the way this story in particular turned into an epic fantasy/adventure. It was interesting to see how so many different groups of people and “lands” got on after the change and how gracious and understanding Rudi tried to be towards each different faction he came into contact with. I could understand some being upset that Rudi does always seem to defy the odds in every situation but part of what I really enjoyed in this book was that there were real stakes; things weren’t always fine and there were many very serious moments. I did feel that Juniper was very much untouchable and nothing bad ever happened to her, but there were so many mentions in previous books of Juniper and Havel both having the gift of finding the right things and inspiring leadership, that I actually quite enjoy seeing Rudi work to keep himself level and balanced like Juniper always appears, while still facing a harsh world.

I quite enjoyed how every character had a special part to play in this particular novel and that we got a bit more understanding of people’s motives and motivations. While sometimes it’s hard to take Rudi’s group seriously due to how they perceive the change (and the things we use in a modern world and fully take for granted) it is amusing how easy it is to get away from all that we’ve built modern lives and societies around by just… not having it. In some ways I think that would be quite interesting to be in this world; in others, I think many of us have spent a very long time, as Red Leaf mentions, in school, and what a pity it would be to just have that go to waste!

I definitely look forward to continuing our trek!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

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