Full disclosure: The author of Megan: Breadcrumbs for the Nasties Book One is not only the illustrator of my three books, he’s currently working on the covers of my next series of books, and he’s a friend. This review contains very mild spoilers.
Please don’t be fooled by the little girl on the cover of Megan, the first in the Breadcrumbs For The Nasties series by Steven Novak. This book isn’t for children or the faint of heart. Novak pulls no punches in this post-apocalyptic tale of a world overrun by creatures, both supernatural and human.
The only world Megan has ever known is traveling across the country on foot, with her parents, avoiding ‘the nasties’ that now roam freely. They hide in abandoned homes at night, eating whatever spoiled food they can find, and pray that the ravaged structures will protect them from the Howlers, Gimps, and Biters, the creatures born from whatever catastrophe altered the world into a dangerous wasteland. When tragedy strikes, Megan quickly learns that monsters come in many forms and finds herself on the run with a man she doesn’t know and doesn’t trust.
I became frustrated with the character of Megan in the beginning, but had to remind myself that she’s just a child and even though the only life she has ever known has been filled with nothing but danger, she was still fairly well protected and sheltered by her parents. As she travels with her new companion, Blueeyes, she has to learn to take more responsibility for her own safety. As Novak put it when I asked him, “Am I supposed to want to shake the shit out of Megan?,” she definitely becomes “less like Carl of season two of The Walking Dead and more like Carl of season three as the story progresses.”
While you may recognize the monsters in this book (Biters are essentially vampires, Gimps are zombies, and Howlers are a werewolf/hell hound hybrid), Novak’s story sets itself apart from the usual tropes by never letting you forget how dire the circumstances are for our protagonists. Bad shit happens. A lot. And just when you think that maybe Megan and Blueeyes will catch a break, more bad shit happens. The relationship between the two kind of reminded me of the father-protector/progeny one in The Professional. Blueeyes is a man with many secrets from a life before the world went to hell. You’ll admire his care for Megan, but at the same time question his motives.
If Blade, The Walking Dead, and The Road had a baby, it would be this book. Dark, brutal, and unapologetic, Megan is a helluva read. And don’t worry. As Novak’s friend, I will make sure he stays on task to get book two in our hands. Especially considering Megan had an ending I didn’t see coming and you won’t either.
You can purchase a copy of Megan: Breadcrumbs For The Nasties Book One on Amazon in paperback or for the Kindle.