In this novel, Marr’s alternative universe is the Wastelands, a place inhabitants believe is probably somewhere between life and death, where the forces of good are rapidly losing their struggle against the forces of evil.
The last thing Chloe remembers is falling off the wagon. Now, she’s waking up in a strange land that is so full of weirdness she’s thinking just maybe she’s hallucinating. The people here are varied: Kitty, the former saloon girl who can both fight and cast spells; Kitty’s handsome, tough older brother, Jack, the leader of a small band of decent but flawed people who are resisting the temptation to give in to evil; Edgar, a former rumrunner from the Prohibition era who loves Kitty but understands she can’t be boxed in; the strange and seemingly ditzy Melody, who is straight out of the 1950s; and Francis, a man who has done every drug imaginable and has ended up stranded, like everyone else, in the Wastelands. Chloe is the newest of the Arrivals, which is what newbies are called. Each time someone in the Wastelands dies, another one appears to take his or her place. Except, of course, when that person comes back to life, which is what happens some of the time. If an Arrival stays dead after six days, then they’ve moved on. Where, no one knows, but Jack sure hopes it’s a better place, and, face it, just about anything is better than the Wastelands, an unforgiving countryside where strange animals roam and the people who band together to serve the evil Ajani are out to destroy or convert the Arrivals. Now, Jack and the other Arrivals have formed an allegiance with a creature known as Garuda to kill Ajani and make the Wastelands safe. But they find the final battle they face holds no easy answers.
Marr creates an absorbing world that draws in readers, but the ending feels rushed and tacked onto what is otherwise an engrossing tale.