Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Nothing Within” as Want to Read:
The Nothing Within
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Nothing Within

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  228 ratings  ·  74 reviews
Root is... different.

Though raised in a fearful society that reveres tradition and conformity, she’s irreverent, outspoken, and deeply curious. Her blindness sets her even further apart.

Centuries after the Reckoning, a global biotech plague, savage chimeras still threaten human survival. After Root hears a voice that no one else can hear, she flees into the wilderness. Out
Kindle Edition, 552 pages
Published June 14th 2019 by Humble Quill LLC
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Nothing Within, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Andy Giesler I actually hadn't heard of this novel, but now I've added it to my reading list—thank you! I did have in mind Anthony Burgess' playful warping of Engl…moreI actually hadn't heard of this novel, but now I've added it to my reading list—thank you! I did have in mind Anthony Burgess' playful warping of English in A Clockwork Orange, though any language evolution The Nothing Within wasn't nearly so ambitious.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  228 ratings  ·  74 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Nothing Within
Aug 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’m not partial to post-apocalyptic stories but Giesler’s fresh and unusual take on the subject won me over. The Nothing Within is the first rural dystopia I’ve ever read.

An apocalyptic event known as The Reckoning has wiped out civilization in North America leaving only few rural communities cut off from the outside world. Their inhabitants live simple lives filled with menial tasks and rarely travel outside their villages. It’s too dangerous as chimeras, violent hybrid creatures, roam the wild
Ann-Marie "Cookie M."
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
It is such a nice surprise to start reading a book you expect to just hate and end up loving it instead. That was my experience with Andy Giesler's "The Nothing Within," a post-apocalyptic tale, which, at first glance seems to be full of hackneyed magical tropes and stereotypical yokel folk.

It isn't that at all. It is a future mid-Atlantic America, forced back to a folkloric Appalachian and Amish cross existence due to science run amuck, and the well meaning, but misguided team who tried to se
keikii Eats Books
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
To read more reviews in this series and others, check out keikii eats books!

Warning: weird almost non-consensual, almost consensual sex?

The Nothing Within is not my usual type of story. I just plain don't typically go for dystopia. It just isn't a genre I typically enjoy too much. However, when I do find one I can like, I tend to love it. This was one such book. I loved The Nothing Within for all the things it did that others won't, or can't, do.

Come to think of it, I don't typically enjoy the s
Debjani Ghosh
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
My Blog

Once in a while, you come across a book that tiptoes into your heart and resides there forever. Andy Giesler’s The Nothing Within is one such book. It’s a rural-dystopian, science-fiction novel that explores a post-apocalyptic Amish society. This may seem like an onslaught of elephantine concepts, but the novel is steeped in simplicity—both in terms of lexicon and settings.

Told from the perspectives of Ruth Troyer and Root, the novel seamlessly alternates between the past and present.
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Review to come - First thoughts: Loved the way it wrapped up and the whole mystery came together. Very skillfully woven and given to the reader bit by bit. Still amazed by the amount of writing brilliance it had to have to answer every question I had, but not in an obvious way. But the language tripped me up until I had read for awhile, and I wish it hadn't have been so distracting at times. ...more
Charlie Wentling
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received an advanced copy of the book with no requirement to leave a review.

This was an interesting mix of fantasy and science fiction. It mostly read like a fantasy set in a rural, low-tech village, but there were bits of science fiction sprinkled in. For me, those bits were some of the best parts, and they set up the mystery of exactly where and when the story was taking place. Over the course of the book, Giesler slowly peeled back the onion and answered my questions in a satisfying way.

May 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was a beta reader for "The Nothing Within", and I must confess that when I volunteered to read it, I was intrigued by the concept (Amish post-apocalyptic) but a bit apprehensive about the possibility of not liking it. But my curiosity won out over my apprehension, and I volunteered. I don't regret it for a moment.

The story takes place in different time periods. There is a plot thread that starts essentially with the cataclysmic event, and traces the immediate aftermath. There is another thread
Jay Brantner
Feb 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is a very good book, and I’m honestly not sure how it hasn’t picked up more momentum at this point. I’m learning that I’m a sucker for a first-person narration with a strong voice, but this one switches back and forth between first and third, sprinkling in folktales and journal entries from a different timeline, and it’s completely seamless and all incredibly compelling.

This is one of those books that feels like fantasy even though the reader knows full well it’s sci-fi. There has been an a
I have been learning to make pate a choux, which is basically the fancy French word for the dough used for eclairs and cream puffs. Fans of baking shows will recognize this as the dough that t requires biceps of steel. Unfortunately, my choux has been under-whelming for a while, until suddenly the real thing developed before my tired eyes.

Reading books that you don't really like is like tasting uninteresting pate a choux. OK, but only if you don't know any better. A book that captures your atte
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great book!

Best book I've read in a long time. Immediately engaging, great characters and perfectly pieced together. Never a slow or boring moment. I was disappointed when I found the author has no other books out, but I'm following him on Amazon and I look forward to his next.
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book on sale and promptly ignored it for the better part of a year. Now that I've read it, I'm both kicking myself for taking so long to pick it up, and seriously considering repurchasing it somewhere else because this book is so good I feel like I ripped the author off buying it for so little.

There's so much I could say about this book that I don't even know where to start.

Personally, I felt the first chapter was a little weak; something about it hit me as a bit too cliche, maybe
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
In the prologue at the beginning of The Nothing Within, by Andy Giesler, we see two characters fighting over a terrible decision. It’s not clear until later what that decision is: nullifying all of the advanced nanotechnology in the world. (And it’s not until much later that we find out why those characters made that decision.) Centuries later, a woman named Root tells the story of her life to a group of young children. So much has changed for a society that, these days, is still not allowed to ...more
Jana Tenbrook (Reviews from the Stacks)
3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 because Goodreads doesn't do halves.

I knew from the beginning that this would be a difficult review to write. The Nothing Within constantly defied my expectations while I read it, shifting the story from one understanding to another, only to destroy that understanding a few chapters later - it's almost like the story itself is a chimera. But is it one that destroys, or heals?

This is a wonderfully crafted book. Some of the central characters are called Weavers, and like
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really loved this book; the plotline, the characters, and the ending were so well done. Although Mr. Giesler writes with his own voice and is obviously not doing the wanna-be-Tolkien thing, the world-building he did drew me in instantly as few books have done since the first time I read The Fellowship of the Ring (and that was back in the 60s!).

Hope there's a sequel; but even if there isn't, this book stands very well on its own. Highly recommended. Thanks for your art, Mr. Giesler!
Boris Slocum
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I like this story quite a lot. It is written in a long-winded and freewheeling style that usually I find abhorrent. Somehow, that same narrative style is part of the charm of the story. The backbone of the narrative is presented in the voice of a young woman from a far distant future, relating her tale in the first person. It switches occasionally to the third person, where other voices work as a sort of chorus. (I find that particular point disconcerting, but it didn't detract terribly from the ...more
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing

The Nothing Within
by Andy Giesler
A breath of fresh air in a post apocalyptic genre. Based of the idea of technology being mans down fall. This encompassing book looks at the world after technology turns on us. Scientist finding the idea that nano bots could fix the human body is appealing. This book should serve like Issac Asimov, as a caution of mankind's inability to predict the outcome of their achievement. The world has come to a Reckoning. The nano tech with in, can spread from host to hos
Jon Adams
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyable and original.
4.5 stars

This was a page turner! It was really hard to put down.

It's a rather thought provoking story about the end of the world.
Told through the voice of two strong women, Ruth Troyer and Root, and even though they lived thousand of years apart, it blended gorgeously.

My opinion? Wow, just WOW.

☛ I requested an advanced copy of this title from NetGalley, and I'm voluntarily making this review.
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Well-crafted read

The Nothing Within is a well-crafted book creating a new world out of a land that is familiar to us. It has a host of strong female characters and explores issues like the dangers of technology, curiosity, hope and challenges to religious belief and practice. It honors the value of relationships, the stories we tell and the persistence of the human spirit in challenging circumstances.
Norm Davis
I was going over Hugo nominated novels. I picked up all of the 2020 nominees. I also picked this up at around the same time. I was busy, didn't do anything with any of them for a few days. Started with this one. I thought it was one of the nominees, and was thinking it could win. I later figured out I had picked it because it sounded good and was highly discounted. It wasn't a nominee. It should be. - liked by the author

Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Title: The Nothing Within
Author: Andy Giesler
Genre: Dystopian
Rating: 4 out of 5

In 2161, the world changed. The first chimera appeared, and a year later, twelve billion people were dead. Those that remained called it the Reckoning, and as they struggled to survive in their hostile new world—the World That Is—they became different. More withdrawn. Less tolerant of anyone who was different, anyone who might harbor the Nothing within themselves, bringing danger to all inside the walls that encircle
Wayne Giesler
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Nothing Within is a post-apocalyptic, dystopian tale with a blend of sci-fi and fantasy.  That’s not the kind of book I usually read, so it was fun getting into a kind of literature I haven’t treated myself to for a long time.

Beyond that specific genre, however, this book is the stories of two strong women, Ruth Troyer and Root.  Neither of them are perfect, but both of them are able to make the tough decisions necessary to right the wrongs in their worlds and to create a better future—even
Mar 26, 2021 rated it liked it
This was far better than the cover and title would have you believe. It had its issues, but it also did enough to keep me interested for most of the book. It had the self-published feel to it where a stronger editor could easily have cut back a good chunk of filler and help clarify the story, but things were tied up nicely enough by the end to leave on a satisfying enough note.

The world-building was on the weaker end of the spectrum with deliberately confusing elements left dangling for far too
Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, kobo
This book was a nice surprise! It starts out as a sort of post-apocalyptic story. Then the story fills in a little here, a little there, and we gradually get an idea of what's going on, and what made the world what it was. It goes from a pseudo-medieval sort of fantasy world to a bit more science-fiction-y story.

The heroine is blind, too (mostly blind, anyway - it's all explained in the book.) She's interesting and curious and trouble-making.

There's lots of story-telling going on here, and a few
Morgan Finn
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Until The Nothing Within I avoided post-apocalypse sci-fi. It was too scary to think about being so helpless. But that was before I met Root, the determined protagonist, who is down-to-earth enough to be a neighbor. Or even me. Anybody who felt empty, on & off, throughout their life, yet sensed there was something better. There just had to be!

Andy Giesler's seamlessly plotted novel is a page-turner. My heart was often in my throat as I followed Root's journey from one crisis to another because o
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is astonishing. I read it in two days, only because real life interfered and forced me to put the book down.
The story is told in several voices and several points in time. The puzzle pieces all fit beautifully, if you pay close attention.
Read the first chapter twice - so you understand where you are and who is speaking. After that, it’s a miracle.
Our library system did not own a copy - I bought it on Kindle for .99! I just ordered the paperback to add to my own bookshelf - then call
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed it in the end

I nearly gave this book up about a quarter of the way through. I was a little annoyed at the voice, the different POVs didn’t seem to connect, and things were a bit slow to get going.

Then things started coming together.

I couldn’t put it down for the last half. Ended up being fond of the voice, enjoyed making the connections between past and future just before they were laid out in the text, and the last third was suspenseful and exciting and then, finally, a nice sw
Judith Johnson
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting book. A very novel view of a dysfunctional future and a mystery to unravel. How did we get there? What happened in the past? What happens now? As an Ohioan, it was particularly interesting because it takes place in Ohio Amish country.
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved it!

What a great book. Really hard to put down enjoyed going to the future. I will most definitely read more of Andy Giesler books. Thank you Goodreads for the free book.
Jun 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wow. That was incredible. A post-apocalyptic tale set in an Amish community following Root, a young woman forging her own path in the world.
It has been left open for a sequel. Can't wait!
« previous 1 3 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Apocalypse Whenever: New Release: The Nothing Within 1 11 Jun 17, 2019 08:30PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Sins of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder, #1)
  • Priest of Crowns (War for the Rose Throne, #4)
  • Echoes of War (Echoes Trilogy, #1)
  • Breach of Peace (Lawful Times, #1)
  • Transference
  • Children of the Miracle
  • Elsewhere
  • Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing
  • Her Majesty's Will: A Novel of Will & Kit
  • Poetry Against All: A Diary
  • The Flying Flamingo Sisters
  • Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories
  • Malice (Malice, #1)
  • The Plague Stones
  • Be the thing of memory
  • Secret Life
  • The Snow (Whiteout, #1)
  • Till Human Voices Wake Us
See similar books…
When I was little, I fell in love with science fiction. (Andre Norton and Ray Bradbury: thank you, wherever you are.) In high school, I fell in love with fantasy. (J.R.R. Tolkien: thank you; even though you were a human, I hope you're in Valinor.)

In college, majoring in computer science made me love science fiction even more, and majoring in philosophy made me love reading a curious assortment of

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
24 likes · 7 comments
“When Ma wanted help, she didn’t leave it to guessing.” 0 likes
More quotes…