Verdict: Entertaining, well written, and thought provoking, CITY ON A HILL is a classic post-apocalyptic epic.
After the Cataclysm, all religions were made illegal in the twin cities of Lysander and Fortinbras, the only communities to survive the fundamentalist war. Sabrina Sabryia, the adopted niece of Head Minister D’Agosta, is a firm upholder of law and reason and training as a cadet in the armed services. There is a flourishing underground of “occultists” in the city, as is often the case when ideologies are banned, and Sabrina is tasked with rounding them up. But when Sabrina’s tracking of an occultist leads her to uncover a large underground cell, she also discovers that her best friend Lindsey is a believer in the movement.
Sabrina feels betrayed and disgusted to learn her friend puts faith in everything Sabrina was taught caused the world to fall. But Sabrina is still devoted to her friend and curious in the persistence of spiritual thought, so she follows Lindsey out into the desert where she’ll learn that every narrative she knows about belief, her city, and the end of the world has been warped.
CITY ON A HILL is a gripping post-apocalyptic novel. There are detailed fight scenes, underdogs, alternative histories, lies and betrayals. The world is fully realized and Sabrina and Lindsey are both complicated characters in which the reader can empathize: Sabrina the cagey logician who must constantly prove herself in order to be taken seriously as a female cadet, Lindsey the free spirit helmed in by a world which denigrates expression. The fast-paced plot still leaves room for description and strong writing. Fans of post-apocalyptic novels may find CITY ON A HILL doesn’t add much uniquely to the genre, and the conclusion drags on for too long, but the vision of where we may end up if religious fundamentalism and totalitarian atheism collide in their extremes is cleverly wrought.
Entertaining, well written, and thought provoking, CITY ON A HILL is a classic post-apocalyptic epic.