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The Park Service (Park Service Trilogy #1)

The Park Service - Ryan Winfield 4.5 Totoros

Ryan Winfield – The Park Service | AnjaIsReading

Wow. That was the only word my brain was able to produce when I finished The Park Service. This book blew me away and made me speechless.

It started with one of the most intense prologues ever so that it had me captured from the very first paragraph. The subject brought up in this story will never get old. When I was a child I read a book with similar initial situation like this one that left me shocked and perplexed. And now, 25 years later, this topic is still scary as hell. No surprise there. Nukes are terrifying, and despite the fact that the beginning of this book is highly speculative it shows what might happen in case someone somewhere should want to play with the big bad red button...

After the prologue, 900 years in the future, we meet the main character, 15 years old Aubrey. He, like the remains of humankind, lives in a facility five miles under the surface where everything is well-ordered. All the people know is that there's no life on the surface, that the world is condemned as uninhabitable, and that turning 35 means to retire to a wonderful life in a VR paradise.

At the age of 15 kids have to pass a major test that decides over their future. Of course Aubrey passes with flying colors, whereupon he has to leave his old life to live on a level that's only for only the most privileged and cleverest. This is the point where Aubrey's story begins, where post-apocalypse meets dystopia meets coming of age in the best way imaginable.
It's somewhat impossible to tell more without placing huge spoilers. Unfortunately, the synopsis is way too spoiler-y, it's a shame. Still the story is full of surprises; there are so many things to discover, so many lies to unmask, so many moments when you can't help but crying what.the.everloving.fuck.
There is also the fact that, even though still highly speculative, situations, actions, characters, and character development are absolutely plausible and easily comprehensible. And that doesn't apply only to the heros but to the megalomaniacal villain as well. He is just as charismatic as despicable, and full of amazing but disgusting visions. I still have no words for how horrible and sick this guy is. Looks like he's got a screw loose. Then again I can see where he's coming from. This book set me thinking, that's for sure.

It's a welcome change that this book has a male main protagonist written by a male author. That's seldom seen... And while I'm on it, the author has an amazing way with words. The writing style left me utterly amazed; it was vivid, sweeping, full of emotions. Ryan Winfield plays with the reader's imagination. His words are so powerful they suck you into the story. It's not reading, it's like living it; like feeling the sun on your skin, like tasting the watermelons the protagonists eat, like hearing the rustle of the wind... you get the point ^^ As a result the not exactly few scenes full of gore are pretty vivid as well, but that's okay.

The Park Service isn't a perfect book, because there are some odd things that don't add up, the love story is quite strange (although understandable considering the circumstances), and it's predictable in some places. This is aggravated by the fact that I had some problems with how the MC reacted to certain events. But... no book is perfect, right? Besides, in spite of all that Ryan Winfield did a bang-up job writing this book. And, to top it all off, there is no evil cliffhanger. Yes, it's an open ending, but it's a worthy ending for a fuckawesome book.
Can't wait to read the next installment :)