This third instalment follows the Jackson commune as they gather supplies and reinforce their camps in order to endure a bitter winter in Wyoming. Elsewhere, other factions are beginning to form – though not all of them pleasant.
Commune: Book Three contains a brief recap of the second book. I appreciated this because I hadn’t read the previous book in a while, and it conveyed that this series is dramatic and episodic, like a television series.
Once again, some new characters were introduced, adding to Gayou’s ever-expanding world. His ability to write about so many characters and settings with increasing depth and creativity is impressive, and I think Gayou’s talent improves with each instalment.
Characters, I think, are really the focus of Commune: Book Three.
There isn’t masses of action, but there’s plenty of interaction between other characters to occupy your attention. There were also some poetry segments, which were ok, but I’m not a poetry fan so I skimmed them fairly quickly.
Clay and Ronny, leaders of a Nevada survivor group, are instant foils (opposites) for Jake and Gibs, leaders of the Jackson commune. I instantly disliked Clay which, though it shows good character-building, made me enjoy the narrative about Clay and his group less. I admit, I perked up more once the narrative switched back to the more familiar, likeable characters from the Jackson commune.
Speaking of familiar characters, Elizabeth, the wilful daughter of Amanda, is given an interesting storyline within Commune: Book Three. She learns new skills and vents the difficulties of being a child in such a ruthless new world. When life is no longer fun and games, but you’re too young to be given adult responsibilities, what can you do?
Romance subplots are also gradually introduced. I discussed the theme of romance in my review of Commune: Book One, saying:
‘It was refreshing to have a stronger female character who builds up a close relationship to a male without it being reduced to a love story.’
In the first book, I liked that male and female characters could form friendships without being complicated by romance. By the third book, developing romantic interests between minor characters was paced well, completely natural, and lovely to see.
If it sounds like I’m referring to the previous two books and my previous two reviews often, it’s because I am. Commune: Book Three ties the events of both books together in a neat and entertaining way, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable sequel to a story I’ve now been tracing across for more than a year.
The ending was descriptive and made me want to read on, without being an overly dramatic or cliché cliffhanger, although it didn’t go entirely where I expected it to, or where I wanted it to.
In summary, Commune: Book Three is another strong performance by Joshua Gayou and I’m interested to see what happens next.
Star Rating: 4/5 Stars