Tim Giauque's Reviews > Liberation: Being the Adventures of the Slick Six After the Collapse of the United States of America

Liberation by Brian Francis Slattery
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Feb 20, 2011

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Read from February 20 to March 06, 2011

"There are no more Monday mornings. This is what you get."

Liberation is a story of an America struggling to forget its past as it moves forward into an uncertain future. America's government and society have collapsed - not due to nuclear war, or supervirus pandemic, but under the weight of its crushing foreign debts. Given the state of current affairs in the world, this outcome doesn't seem all that far-fetched, and it helps ground the book and make it seem more immediate and disturbing.

As society and its laws have receded from the American continent, in its place is an every-man-for-himself mentality, with slavery making an unwelcome return. The story focuses on The Aardvark, a crime lord and slaveholder who becomes the most powerful man in post-society America, and the Slick Six, a group of criminals who set out to overthrow him.

And...that's pretty much it. Slattery's prose is very good, and he spends a lot of time world-building here. He likes to describe what happened to, say, Los Angeles, or Las Vegas, or Asheville, NC, but I almost felt like telling a story was a nuisance for him. The storytelling flow is frequently interrupted: we might have a few pages to tell us where Marco is going next, and then he'll go, "oh, but I didn't tell you about what happened to Denver, did I, so let's do that now," and four pages later, he finally gets around to saying what happened to Marco.

It's a neat premise, and I was impressed that he managed to destroy society in a fairly innovative, fresh way - one that seems plausible, even. But I just couldn't get into the book easily, and I wanted to like it more than I did. Very few of the characters are fleshed out or distinguishable from each other at all - I honestly had trouble keeping Carolyn, Jeanette, and Johanna separate from one another until almost the end of the book, even though they are all off doing different things the whole time. At only 300 pages, there's not much room for an intricate plot, but the plot in Liberation is as thin as they get. I liked Slattery's vision, but this book needed more meat on its bones to really be exceptional.
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02/27 page 120
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