Jul 1, 2015: Cruise Control does have cruisers, of a kind, but there’s not much control.
In the future of the future, six years after the worst Valentine’s Day ever, we follow a gang of friends battling monsters. Or make that two gangs of former friends and rivals.
This is the strength of Cruise Control. A large ensemble cast with eighteen year olds who like and dislike each other based on personal background, peer pressure and selfish needs. It makes each of the characters come alive.
And then there is the setting. It’s a dark, post-apocalyptic York shown from the eyes of late teens, and the monsters, and the survivors of White Valentine. And it is all very well depicted.
Because they are all survivors in one way or another. Even the monsters they battle are.
Then there you have the language details. As a reader you need to go rolling with the punches. Invented slang and contemporary nomenclature is used without any explanation. I like it, and the web-site comes with a small dictionary as well.
Those are the main strengths with Cruise Control. And there are problems as well.
Using an ensemble cast with over half a dozen eighteen year olds, all shown from the first person POV made my eyes bleed. Maybe it’s something new stylistically, but shifting POV midscene, even if properly flagged in advance, from one FP to another FP was jarring in extreme for me. It also detracts from making the different character seem, well, different from each other.
The setting is another problem. As far as the story is written we’re stuck in a York that could as well have been nuked six years earlier. It’s populated by teenagers with superpowers, or other teens gone monster. But as a reader you get no feeling if White Valentine was a global disaster or not. I’m making a guess it wasn’t, but in that case I’d expect York to be crawling with the military from several nations and be sealed off from the rest of humanity, and I’d expect to feel this as a reader.
The story hasn’t taken off yet, even if there is action aplenty and quite a few pages to read. At a twice weekly or daily (there is an explanation for this on the website) update ratio you should expect to have a long read ahead of you.
The website is very pleasant on the eye, even if I had preferred an opportunity to click to the next chapter without having to scroll all the way back up. Apart from that detail navigation is exemplary.
Overall the story is a solid four, but over half a dozen FP POVs is too much for this reader’s eyes and brain. I’m shaving half a star for that. This is also the only reason I’m not going to recommend the story. If you’re fine with multiple first person POVs, then you should absolutely read it.
Three and a half stars, and that’s me being stingy.
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