REVIEW: Cathartes Aura and the Apocalypse Zoo (Cathartes #1) by Eighty Six

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars, Genre: Poetry/ Verse/ Apocalyptic Fiction, Pages: 50, Level: Intermediate/ Difficult

Book Description from Barnes & Noble:

A post-apocalyptic story of a zoo on the day no one showed up. Narrated by a captive turkey vulture. Written in verse. 10 syllables per line, 10 lines per stanza, 10 stanzas per chapter, and 10 chapters overall. The first episode in the series.

The narrator must escape his cage and navigate a zoo without keepers or tourists on his way to a world without structure.

Note: I received a complimentary eBook of Cathartes Aura and the Apocalypse Zoo to review. I am not really up on all the literary lingo, but I believe this was written by an independent author. In addition, this is much different than other things I have read. So please keep that in mind when you read the review as well as the fact that I rate something based on how much I enjoyed it.

Cathartes Aura is a turkey vulture who lives in a zoo. The book contains his observations after an apocalyptic event when no one comes to the zoo. It portrays what happens when the caretakers are no longer there and the animals are hungry and eager to get out.

Poetry and verse were never my strong points. I am a numbers person and something that is as open to interpretation as poetry is usually difficult for me in the sense that I never seem to get out of it what was either intended or what the consensus seems to take away. That does not mean I do not enjoy poetry and verse; I just tend to keep my opinions to myself, especially after so many heated discussions in college.

I am not sure I can accurately explain why, but I thoroughly enjoyed Cathartes Aura and the Apocalypse Zoo. It may be a bit daunting at first because of the verse, but if you do not concentrate on the structure, it quickly reads like regular prose in most sections. In addition, the writing was extremely successful in emitting the emotions of the vulture and the tempo seemed to reflect that as well. For example, during the more stressful moments, I found myself reading faster. That was impressive; it always impresses me when writers accomplish this technique regardless of whether it was intentional.

I completely understand hesitation due to the combination of vulture point of view, apocalypse and verse, but it works. Not only do I look forward to reading Eighty-Six’ next work, but I will most definitely return to Cathartes Aura and the Apocalypse Zoo. This is the type of literature that I will re-read every so often because I get more out of it with each reading.

I do not presume to know what the author intended for the reader to take away from his work and for that reason, I would not normally comment. However, this seems to be overlooked a bit and I do believe that is a shame. Will it enjoy the success and reputation of more traditional poetry and verse? No. But I can see how this could have a cult following. In fact there was one line that made me chuckle and I added it to my favorite quotes.

I could easily go on for another page or two about Cathartes Aura and the Apocalypse Zoo. There were several other things I wanted to include but maybe you should just read it and find out yourself. Then if you want to discuss, I will be happy to meet you on the book’s Goodreads page.

Reviewed by Christina

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