This Was a Hard One to Rate

Swan Song - Robert R. McCammon

So many of my friends absolutely love "Swan Song" and I felt badly that I did not love this book as much as they did.

 

I think most of my problems revolve around the fact that there are three separate mini-plots going on in this book before everything syncs up in the final couple of hundred pages (this book was a behemoth!) and I just was not feeling anything.

 

Maybe because I seriously doubt that after just a few years after a world wide nuclear event the sun would just come out one day and that people would be able to eat all of the food from the poisoned Earth. That is where the fantasy part comes into play though. So I had to turn my brain off a bit while reading and stopped saying that can't happen.

 

Also, I really loved the character of Josh. But Swan got on my nerves (I am so ashamed!). I hated the fact that everyone was so focused on keeping her safe they were putting themselves in danger and she stupidly a couple of times thought that turning herself over would be the best thing. And also that her talking was enough to get people to put down their weapons.

 

Maybe I am looking at this book way too much in the lens of the recent U.S. election when a smart capable woman was demonized. And I look at the character of Swan and think that in most cases she would have been hung as a witch and or ignored cause who is going to listen to what some girl says. I loved what McCammon was trying to do with this book, but like I said, maybe my own cynicism stopped me from just letting go and enjoying this book. 

 

"Swan Song" is parts fantasy and I didn't really get the horror aspect of it. There is a character that comes along that I found absurdly pathetic. I think we were supposed to be scared of them. But for me, I was more scared of the human characters like Roland and Macklin who justified the things that they were doing. Even though I found them terrible. I still felt for them because you realize pretty early on that Roland was broken before the nuclear war and just went even more over the edge after it. Also can I say that I hated this character having the name of Roland. It made me think of Stephen King's "Gunslinger". 

 

 

I thought the writing was good though. I liked the message that McCammon was trying to push a bit about how love and listening was more important than guns. And that a girl (young woman) could rise up to be the leader the world needed. I just feel bad that I didn't find it believable which says more about me than him.

 

“No man was ever prouder of a daughter than I am of you,” Josh whispered in her ear. “You’re going to do wonderful things, Swan. You’re going to set things right again, and long before you come back to Mary’s Rest ... I’ll hear your name from travelers, and they’ll say they know of a girl called Swan who’s grown up to be a beautiful woman. They’ll say she has hair like fire, and that she has the power of life inside her. And that’s what you must return to the earth, Swan. That’s what you must return to the earth.”

 

The flow was off the whole book though. The POV would switch between Josh/Swan, Roland/Macklin and then Sister and whoever she was running around with. By the end McCammon kept adding and disposing of characters left and right and I couldn't keep a lot of people straight. I teared up when we get to the scenes with Leona and Killer (the terrier) but after that I just stopped really engaging with any of the characters and just pushed myself to finish the book.

 

The ending leaves the world as we have come to know it in a new wave of reconciliation and rebuilding.