The Way of the Cicadas | Critical Book Review

In Audrey Henley’s “The Way of the Cicadas,” the curtain is lifted on a post-apocalyptic world as a group of teenagers emerges from their bunker after a decade of seclusion. While Andrea Marks-Joseph praises it as a striking sci-fi novel, a closer examination unveils both commendable and questionable facets.

Realistic Worldbuilding with a Familiar Twist

Henley’s narrative skillfully navigates a near-future scenario rather than a typical dystopian setting. The storyline revolves around a group stepping out into a world more expansive and perilous than they could have envisioned during their bunker-bound existence. The realism lies in the author’s adept depiction of a planet teetering on the edge of inhabitable, coupled with a heartfelt exploration of human resilience.

Multifaceted Narratives and Relationships

Told from multiple viewpoints, the novel avoids the pitfalls of overwhelming complexity, weaving a tapestry of interlinked narratives that enrich the plot. The relationships between characters, although emotionally charged, are the focal point, with a subtle nod to queer representation adding a layer of inclusivity.

Characters: Varied, Yet Familiar

The cast of characters is diverse, each with their own unique struggles and strengths. The depiction of body diversity is commendable, presenting disabilities with natural compassion. However, while introspection unveils the characters’ origins and endears them to the reader, certain dynamics, especially the Hayden-Brita relationship, evoke discomfort.

Familiar Echoes and Political Intrigue

“The Way of the Cicadas” draws comparisons to popular TV shows like Snowpiercer, The 100, and Fear the Walking Dead. The political undercurrents of distrust and hidden agendas mirror the intensity of these series, sans the impending zombie threat.

Content Warnings and Mixed Tones

Readers are cautioned about various distressing themes, including intentional poisoning and infanticide. The narrative oscillates between horrific and heartwarming moments, yet the overall focus on human tendencies to seek safety together and individually is a redeeming quality.

A Profound Insight into Humanity

Henley’s ability to infuse rich histories and complex mysteries into each character and plot twist is noteworthy. The desire for a sequel is fueled by unanswered questions, yet the prospect of exploring anything else penned by Henley is met with enthusiasm.

Final Verdict

“The Way of the Cicadas” is a tale that effortlessly balances the horrific and heartwarming aspects of post-apocalyptic life. While it may not escape certain uncomfortable dynamics, Henley’s profound insight into humanity and skillful storytelling make this indie novel a noteworthy addition to the sci-fi genre.

Publisher, Genre, Print Length, and ISBN

PublisherGenrePrint LengthISBN
IndieBookViewSci-Fi / Dystopia358 pages979-8986187907

In Audrey Henley’s “The Way of the Cicadas,” the curtain is lifted on a post-apocalyptic world as a group of teenagers emerges from their bunker after a decade of seclusion. While Andrea Marks-Joseph praises it as a striking sci-fi novel, a closer examination unveils both commendable and questionable facets. Realistic Worldbuilding with a Familiar Twist…