Brian's Reviews > The Army of the Republic: A Novel

The Army of the Republic by Stuart Archer Cohen
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Jun 08, 09

Read in June, 2009

This was an interesting read. One part Sinclair Lewis' classic dystopic novel, "It Can't Happen Here" and one part Rage Against the Machine. Maybe with a bit of Dan Brown apocolyptic tension (minus the religious conspiracy groups) thrown in. It was definitely a quick read. Lots of high tension and suspense. The author writes from the perspective of three characters all in the first person tense. Unique and makes it personal, but not believable. It also became tedious to try and guess whose perspective I reading every chapter (he didn't always switch--sometimes sticking with the same character for a couple chapters, which made it confusing) The characters themselves seem like cut-outs from Discovery show documentaries about eco-terrorists or left wing protest groups. The enemy corporations are equally inane and though redeemable, are still just sterile caricatures. They just never seemed believable.

The action and suspense is page turning, though and does redeem itself with a plot moving at a deliberate clip. This book could be very prophetic in how it seems almost ripped from the headlines. It's exaggeration of a future government regime (though the author never does go into detail on how a democratically elected government is so unpopular--but hey, it is fiction, right. Don't muddle it with details!) that is corrupt and power-greedy almost mimics that of the elected fascist regime "It Can't Happen Here." I did often think that the author was attempting his own retelling of that story that fit into a more contemporary setting. But he failed to make the characters believable.

It is too bad, because this could have been a great modern dystopic universe that could be entirely believable. But his characterizations were so far-out that I simply could not sympathize with anyone and simply became ready for the book to finally end.

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