Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Last Bastion of the Living Tour Stop

Today is a super epic day at Xpresso Reads with the tour for The Last Bastion of the Living that brings you Rhiannon's newest mind blowing novel, her dream cast, my gushing review, and a giveaway! Well, what else can I say? Today, Xpresso Reads is the shizz!

The Last Bastion of the Living
Rhiannon Frater
Release date: June 12th, 2012

Goodreads / Purchase
A walled city surrounded by lush land, protected by high mountain summits, and fortified by a massive gate to secure the only pass into the valley, The Bastion remained humanity’s last hope against the fearsome undead creatures known as the Inferi Scourge. On one fateful day, the valley gate failed and the Inferi Scourge overran and destroyed the human settlements outside the walls, trapping the remaining survivors inside the city. Now, decades later, the last remaining humans are struggling to survive in a dying city of dwindling resources…and dwindling hope.

Vanguard Maria Martinez has lived her entire life within the towering walls of steel. She yearns for a life away from the overcrowded streets, rolling blackouts, and food shortages, but there is no hope for anyone as long as the Inferi Scourge howl outside the high walls. Her only refuge from the daily grind is in the arms of Dwayne Reichardt, an officer in the Bastion Constabulary. Both are highly-decorated veterans of the last disastrous push against the Inferi Scourge. Their secret affair is her only happiness.

Then one day Maria is summoned to meet with a mysterious representative from the Science Warfare Division and is offered the opportunity to finally destroy the Inferi Scourge in the valley and close the gate, reclaiming the lost lands and energizing the populace with renewed hope for the future. The rewards of success are great, but she will have to sacrifice everything, possibly even her life, to accomplish the ultimate goal of securing the future of humanity and saving it from extinction.
*A copy was provided by Rhiannon Frater for review purposes*

Rhiannon and me, it was love at first sight. Those tiny fingers. It was terrifying, it was heartbreaking, there were zombies - I was hers. I was told of an upcoming zombie novel she was writing: In my glass case of emotion, I was ecstatic, squealing with joy; my worship was born. Yes I know, the world I've come to know in As the World Dies has come to a close, but it's ok, because this completely new futuristic world, where zombies have evolved to fantastically creative proportions, is absolutely mind-blowing.

In all seriousness, I've come to not only expect, but to look forward to the exceptional characters who consistently breathe life, soul, and heart into Rhiannon's novels. The Last Bastion of the Living introduces us to Maria: a fierce, capable, transcendent protagonist who is perfectly flawed with fears and uncertainties that make her genuine. She's incredibly easy to root for and basically becomes a friend, someone you grow to care about throughout the story. Maria's not alone at the core of this book, either, we also have Dwayne; sweet, caring Dwayne is Maria's rock, as she is his. Their romance, kept secret because of their rank, is the perpetual undertone of the story. The relationship between them is established from the start and you can easily feel their connection. They complete each other.

Combining romance and terror is a great feat that is done impeccably in this novel. While Dwayne's perspective has me heartbroken and distressed, Maria's is filled with trepidation and horror. It's very interesting to get both sides of the story. Especially when we've got so much skepticism towards the whole project. It's hard to trust anybody in this game. You imagine everything to take a certain direction, when suddenly, you're staggering sideways trying to grasp what is happening. It's such a creative take on zombies that it becomes incredibly fascinating and almost impossible to predict what's in store for Maria. It boggled my mind a few times, leaving me flabbergasted. For this reason I can't say very much else about the plot. But I will mention that the ending is outstanding. It's brimming with endless possibilities that had me sitting there contemplating it for hours. Really, just perfect.

For a zombie novel, I was surprised at how much the setting blew me away. The desolate, overpopulated city; the unstoppable, innumerable zombies beyond the gate; but what really took my breath away, was the immense potential of the valley that they once had, and what has become their only hope. I literally got shivers during a certain monumental scene near the middle, where you know something life changing is happening. Honestly, this is why I've become such a big fan of Rhiannon's writing. The emotions from elation to despair are so powerful, they resonates through these pages and they reach you. And you know what? This reminds me of why I love to read. I do admit to being a picky reader; I often find myself going through what seems to be an endless supply of mediocre books, but it is completely worth it when I find a diamond in the rough like this. A book that makes me feel, that makes me think, and wonder, and ponder, and hope, and smile, and cry. Did I ever expect this from a zombie novel? No freaking way! Well… there you have it!

Unique, potent, unnerving, and full of action, The Last Bastion of the Living will leave readers in a daze. It's so hard! When you love a book this much, it's so hard to put it into words. And almost impossible to do it justice. So I will leave it at this. 

5 Hot Espressos

Guest Post with Rhiannon Frater
Rhiannon Frater

I think dream casting is a little easier for fans than it is for writers sometimes. The characters in my mind often look nothing like the actors or actresses gracing the silver screen. They have their own unique look, mannerisms, etc. But it is inevitable that people want to know who I would pick to play my various characters.

Almost as soon as THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING's advance review copies landed in the hands of the review bloggers, I was asked "Who would I cast as so and so in the book?"

I've given it some thought and here are my picks for the characters.

Maria Martinez
The character is of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent, therefore, Michelle Rodriguez immediately comes to mind.  They share an ethnic background and both are pretty bad ass. Michelle is well-known for her roles as a tough military chick.  Resident Evil and Battle Los Angeles come to mind. I would love to see her play Maria in the big action scenes then also play the love interest of the male protagonist. She's a very good actress and so pretty!

Actress Michelle Rodriguez

Dwayne Reichardt
The love of Maria's life and the man who stands by her no matter what happens is much older than she is. He has a good twenty-five years on his younger lover, but they mesh very well.  He's also a higher rank than Maria and has endured a lot of heartbreak in his life.  They are both survivors of an epic battle gone horribly wrong and they find solace in each other during their recovery.

I'm a huge Bruce Greenwood fan. He was amazing in the reboot of Star Trek as Captain Christopher Pike.  I've had a crush on him forever.  He's Dwayne's age (55), so that works out well.  He also has amazing blue eyes like Dwyane.

Bruce Greenwood

Another pick was suggested by a blogger. George Clooney is also very good at portraying strong men with flaws and a past.  Pop blue contacts in his eyes and he'd be amazing.  He's a little younger at 51, but it still works.

George Clooney

Lindsey Rooney
Lindsey is Maria's best friend, is hyper-intelligent, and is fiercely loyal. She was terribly wounded in the same battle as Maria and Dwayne and has to use a cane.  Her disability never stands in her way and Lindsey plays a very important role in the story.  Trying to select an actress to pick her was a little difficult, but I finally decided on the following choice.

Billie Piper was so good as Rose on Dr. Who that I could really see her doing a great job as Lindsey.  I think she'd put the spunk into the character that is needed.

Billie Piper

Dr. Beverly Curran
Dr. Beverly Curran is the scientist behind the top secret mission Vanguard Maria Martinez volunteers for.   At times compassionate, at other times very cold, the scientist is not always easy to read.  I think Frances McDormand would be the perfect Dr. Curran.

Frances McDormand

Mr. Petersen
Clark Gregg is very well-known for playing Agent Coulson in the Marvel movies, but I would love to see him be the mysterious Mr. Petersen.  A constant thorn in Dr. Curran's side, Mr. Petersen's appearance and mannerisms tend to be very muted and rather on the bland end of the scale. But it quickly becomes clear to Maria he is much more than he appears to be.

Clark Gregg

Chief Defender Obuya Omondi
Omondi is a dynamic man. Big, imposing, intelligent and devoted to the mission, he sometimes appears too loyal to the SWD.  The SWD and Constabulary (the military) have not always gotten along and Maria is not always comfortable with Omondi's blind allegiance.

My pick is Idris Elba. He's a fabulous actor and would be perfect in the role. Also, he's so handsome!  There has been a lot of talk about him being the first black English actor to play James Bond. That would be awesome!
Idris Elba
Medical Specialist Michael Denman
Denman becomes a very important part of Maria's world once she enters the mission. Over time they become extremely close friends and rely on each other when things begin to go horribly wrong.  Denman has more at stake than most of the soldiers on the mission and he is keenly aware that something is amiss.  

I pick Mark Ruffalo as Denman.  Mark always does a great job bringing depth and gravitas to his roles. He would definitely fit into the role and portray Denman wonderfully.

What do you think of my picks?

Giselle's thoughts: Dude! These totally fit what I had in mind! Especially Clark Gregg he's got the perfect look for a jerkwad! As for Dwayne I'd pick George Clooney because he's just yummy! Thanks so much for dropping by, Rhiannon - again! :D

Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of the As the World Dies trilogy (The First Days, Fighting to Survive, Siege,) and the author of three other books: the vampire novels Pretty When She Dies and The Tale of the Vampire Bride and the young-adult zombie novel The Living Dead Boy and the Zombie Hunters. Inspired to independently produce her work from the urging of her fans, she published The First Days in late 2008 and quickly gathered a cult following. She won the Dead Letter Award back-to-back for both The First Days and Fighting to Survive, the former of which the Harrisburg Book Examiner called ‘one of the best zombie books of the decade.’ Rhiannon is currently represented by Hannah Gordon of the Foundry + Literary Media agency.

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Rhiannon has generously offered one ebook copy of The Last Bastion of the Living for giveaway

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Ends June 24th, 2012
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