The Black Tide Rising Series comes to a conclusion in Strands of Sorrow where John Ringo brings back all of our favorite characters and his eerie post apocalyptic world. With the series that had fans waiting with baited breath, Ringo delivers a final story that neatly wraps everything together.
With the world consumed by a devastating plague that drives humans violently insane, what was once a band of desperate survivors bobbing on a dark Atlantic ocean has now become Wolf Squadron, the only hope for the salvation of the human race. Banding together with what remains of the U.S. Navy, Wolf Squadron, and its leader Steve Smith, not only plans to survive—he plans to retake the mainland from the infected, starting with North America.
Smith’s teenage daughters have become zombie hunters of unparalleled skill, both at land and on the sea, and they may hold the key to the rebirth of civilization on a devastated planet.
I have been a long fan of this series and have had the pleasure to review each installment. While each story has had its highs and lows, Ringo developed a compelling plot which begged to be finished. The entire series has been an odd mix for me wherein I enjoy the plot enough to forgive the many things I dislike about each book. Strands of Sorrow is no different.
The various things I don’t like come to a head in this swan song. Ringo failed to find his stride in pacing and I once again found myself wondering why time jumped forward so much. He has a knack for having actions read as if on fast forward while conversations are drawn out. There is a lack of understanding of things that matter to the reader. No, I don’t care how many pregnant women there are. I do care how many total survivors and cleared areas there are. There are no gruesome landscapes but awkward observations. Half of the established characters are nowhere to be seen and the plot gets to be a bit preachy in its anti-liberal view.
The strongest plot points in Strands of Sorrow is when post-plague military officers have to interact with pre-plague officers. It has an interesting overtone of experience vs rank that is quite thought provoking. The fallout is entertaining and involves my favorite character Faith being thrown some curveballs. [I will note that right after this part of the story, I was vexed with Ringo for jumping forward a month, completely skipping over how Faith reacts to everything.] This was the perfect example of why I have a love/hate relationship with this series.
As a conclusion, Strands of Sorrow did quite well. Sure, I disagreed with the final outcome as it put a nonexistent character in power. Sure, I thought some aspects were disappointingly predictable. But ultimately, I enjoyed Strands of Sorrow. If you’re into rocking zombie books, you will too.