Monday, January 30, 2012

False Dawn by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

photo courtesy of
Released: 1978

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro is a prolific author of many horror, fantasy, and sci-fi novels and best known for her Saint-Germain series. False Dawn is one of her many stand-alone science-fiction novels.

Set near the beginning of a post-apocalyptic 21st century in northern California, False Dawn introduces us to a woman named Thea who is running from a band of vagrant men known as Pirates—a league of extremely violent and dangerous men on a mission to kill all remaining mutants in the region. Thea—a mutant woman in her 20s—is intent on traveling by foot eastward to a place called Gold Lake, which is rumored to be similar to the Garden of Eden and to provide safe refuge to all mutants.

On her journey, Thea saves a man named Evan Montague. She learns that Evan once led the Pirates but is now their most hated enemy. Together, Thea and Evan embark on the journey eastward to Gold Lake while establishing a trusting relationship along the way. After getting to know one another and making a series of sacrifices to keep the other alive, Thea and Evan forge an unlikely bond that sees them through their very scary and treacherous journey.

False Dawn will have horror and sci-fi fans engrossed by the end of page 1, which describes Thea watching how a bruised and battered mutant woman hangs from a billboard only moments away from being ravaged by rabid and hungry dogs. This fast-paced novel then leads us through a series of action-packed, horrifying events that are described in such grisly detail and don't leave much to the imagination.

For such a short novel (just slightly over 200 pages), False Dawn gives readers a strong, vivid picture of Thea and Evan's world and makes you ache right along with them. The relationship that develops between Thea and Evan is respectable and sweet without being too obvious, and is not too over-the-top sappy or ridiculous given the state of the world they live in.

The ending of False Dawn is rather abrupt and may leave you feeling cheated—especially since it appears that Thea and Evan's journey is not quite over in regards to the search for absolute peace. First-time readers of Yarbro's work will find themselves eager to read more titles by this very esteemed and underrated author.

False Dawn will highly appeal to all horror and sci-fi fans. Remember the movie Cyborg featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme? This novel reminded me so very much of that movie! I loved my experience with False Dawn and was glad to have read it when I did.

I DEFINITELY plan on reading as many of Yarbro's books as I can, beginning with the 1st book of the Saint-Germain series entitled Hotel Transylvania (1978).

What are your favorite Chelsea Quinn Yarbro books? Share your comments below!

1 comment:

  1. I haven't seen this book in a long time! I read it years ago and thought it was unique. Funny that you linked to Cyborg - it definitely has that feel. Thank you for the book review!


Thanks for stopping by - can't wait to see what you have to say!