Blackthorn Book Tours – Tobin Marks, The Ark of the Apocalypse | an action-packed origin story that blends sci-fi and fantasy

My latest foray into Blackthorn Book Tours is a post-apocalyptic fantasy sci-fi by Tobin Marks.

  • Amazon link:
  • Genre:  Post apocalyptic fantasy
  • Print length: 426 pages
  • Age range: This is an adult book but suitable for mature teenagers 16+
  • Trigger warnings: No

About Ark of the Apocalypse

Earth is on the verge of becoming a dead planet.

The polar ice caps melted long ago, and it’s been decades since the last raindrop fell. Ocean levels rise a dozen meters, and forest fires rage on a global scale. Eleven billion people dying of thirst wage water wars against each other as extinction looms.

Humanity needs a new planet. As Earth deteriorates, the nation states desperately work together to build a mechanism for recolonization. And so the Magellan II is born, the first starship capable of interstellar travel.

The future of the human race is tasked to ten thousand colonists-now homeless but for the vastness of space and the decks of Magellan II. A distant planet offers hope of survival, but it’s a strange, watery world inhabited by giant reptiles.

Humanity is starting over, but survival isn’t guaranteed.

This has intrigued me. I reserve the right to rerate after I read sequels because I don’t think I’ve seen enough of the story, as this is clearly just a start.

I’ve received a free copy courtesy of Blackthorn Book Tours with a request for an honest review.

For me, this is like Ray Bradbury meets The Stand with a touch of Tolkien. There are witches, dragons and apocalypse of the world and it might seem like a weird mix (it did for me!) but it’s compelling. It combines ecological alertness, political intrigue, exploration and space travel, apocalypse and dealing with its repercussions, Jurassic park, colonizing new world and developing new civilisation from scratch in a primitive fantasy world of reptilian races and dragons, all embraced by a grand scheme that gives food for thought about fate and blindly following it, on top of other things, like hypocrisy and political climate that may lead to a war to end all wars. I really like how the author has packed so much and made it all congruent.

Because that’s what this is: a riveting, page-turning action-packed prequel with a detailed origin story and there’s a lot to look forward to after reading this one.

The origin story reaches far to pre-World War II. We follow the fates of several generations of families, including one clan of powerful witches that manipulate world events, believing in their own “mission”, or destiny. The transitions between generations are seamless. The descriptions of the apocalypse, preparations for it and preparations for space travel, the journey itself, and even the post-apocalyptic world and the political turmoil (and behaviour of world leaders) that accompany it all feel like they could happen. It’s all prophesied…but to be honest, much as I usually like prophecies and chosen ones this one doesn’t feel good, this one makes me wonder why no one protests or takes action to change things instead of blindly following the vision, nor fights the rules dictating how everyone should do things. I’m questioning it. Why blindly follow a vision, instead of using it to try to take a different course? I do not like schemers, so I would contest figures like Mother Olga.

It’s very plot-driven, does not really stop to enter into descriptions or doesn’t take the time to examine the characters’ emotions in great detail, I tend to prefer more introspection.
It moves fast, characters don’t really stay for a long time. There are many characters, some rather endearing, they seem to be used to set the stage for core events in the future and due to the scope, the story doesn’t really focus on one or two central characters, but rather on ….how that mass of people from various lineages contributes to the events and how they make it happen, how they help shape the state of the world, the narrative situation. A group of people is the central character and it’s great to read but in the future, I hope to get attached and cheer for central characters who are stronger individuals who might be willing to stand against prophecies or have a more lasting presence in general. I’m thinking Rodinya might be one. I’m still sad about Sasha and Nadya’s parents though.

But why do they all blindly follow the “vision” instead of trying to change things? This obedience to vision bothered me, for me, nothing is quite set in stone, no matter what machinations there are. As humans, we have the capacity not only to adapt but to change things every day. Instead, characters in the story seem to blindly follow. Nadya is more likeable than Olga but why still obey the vision? Though some lines in the story made me think this obedience is cracking.

I don’t believe in inevitability, so I do not appreciate the stances of characters because I believe we can go against an authority with “visions”– but because it made me think, I applaud the story- I feel like it’s telling me not to be idle and not just accept things as they are but seek other ways, regardless of what the “truth” may be – no matter how inevitable the global apocalypse seems to be – it is realistic in that sense and it was part of what made me so riveted to it.

Same with Dr Burt, who tells blunt truth about climate change and humanity’s chances – He may be blunt – and correct – but should that stop us from making even the tiniest changes? I think not. Instead, his listeners boo him offended. Why? They seem to take the stance personally and miss the bigger picture. Was this part of the plan? But a small ripple can lead to bigger waves. There’s always something to do. Not everything about the future is set in stone, there are things that can change if we take action. The way things are, the family members are not even free.

There are some typos (lack of apostrophes, spaces in wrong places). They do not really hinder the reading but still, I did notice them so I hope for stricter proofreading with the next book.

The writer’s vision is broad in terms of ideas and definitely, in terms of worldbuilding. And I’m hooked. It’s a riveting sci-fi fantasy mix and I hope to read more! I want the next stories to surprise me, to show me more and go deeper.

I really do look forward to the next parts, that’s why I said I reserve the right to re-rate and reevaluate this book when I see the story in full, I just don’t think I’ve had enough, however it reads well as a stand-alone and is intriguing as such. I’m eager to find out where Tobin Marks will take us. I’d like to get attached and spend more time with a few central characters in the future.

I appreciate the breadth and degree of planning that must go into a book of these proportions. I appreciate the imagination and the way the author combines things. I look forward to reading more! I really want to know what you have in store for the characters, their bloodlines and for the epically engineered fate of the world. I really hope the next books will be even better. I liked what I read of the preview to Book II. I love how it circles back to a certain point in book one and I really wonder where you’ll take it!

It’s definitely my most favourite book to review for Blackthorn Book Tours thus far, it has spoken to my imagination. And I’ll read more. It’s greatly discounted on Amazon at the moment. – I actually bought it on top of the free copy I had for review. The ending is not a cliffhanger but it leaves you wanting more. This book is a foretaste of things to come, a tasty morsel to whet appetites.

I’ve tried making a playlist too – because the book compelled me to.

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