Spoiler Free Summary: Until Nothing Remains by C.A. Rudolph is the first volume in the Gunplay series. After married duo assassinates someone they thought was a terrorist, the U.S. experiences a number of terrorist attacks that brings the country to its knees. Two families strive to survive in a world gone mad.
Character: The characters are fairly proactive, but I’m not sure how sympathetic or competent they are. To be honest, I think these characters are pretty cool, but another issue (see below) really dragged away from these characters.
Exposition: There was simply far too much of this. There isn’t a lot of gunplay (or any sort of action) in this book. We’re told a lot happened. We’re told it was epic and scary. However, we don’t see but a few snippets of any of these incredible events. It almost felt like the author pointedly cut away from the action just as it was starting. Every time I thought I was going to see a fight scene, the author cut to a different character or simply jumped forward in time. At one point, one of the main characters is injured and bleeding, and we only get a summary of how the injury happened, and we’re given that in a summary of exposition. This book at far too much tell and not nearly enough show. What should have been a great action book full of evasion, espionage, carnage, and action was instead full of monologues about guy laws and life histories that were also interesting, but we only get to hear about it rather than see (let alone experience).
Dialogue: This wasn’t too bad. There were a lot of “let me explain how this happened” conversations, which admittedly happens in most books, but there were also solid character driven conversations. Honestly, with all the exposition, it just dragged everything else down. If you try to filter through that exposition, the character and dialogue starts to stand out.
Description: I will say this, when we do get to see things, they’re well-described. Rudolph does a great job of dropping in descriptive beats that really give depth to an environment and fill out the characters in my mind.
World Building: Given that this is based in the modern U.S. and (so far) doesn’t have a ton of fantasy elements or large scifi aspects, this category doesn’t really apply. If I were going to read more from the series (which I won’t), I’d expect this world to evolve as society and other parts of the world change given the events in this story.
Overall: This book is based on a really cool concept, but the story is dragged down in exposition of what happened rather than showing the events. It didn’t have the action I expected, and that left me a bit disappointed.
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