If Barbarians of the Storm’s first entry was a brisk, tightly-paced action-adventure story, its sequel both delivers that and allows itself to expand outward to further develop this world and its characters. Some time had passed since I read the first and dove into the second, and I found myself slipping right back into this temporally-twisted wasteland that was probably Earth at some point, and falling right back in with familiar faces while being introduced to some new ones. Though those who enjoyed the first book will find more of what they loved to begin with, Atomic Beasts goes one step further by delving deeper into the creatures of this bizarre world and the catastrophes that begat them. Evil takes on new forms, and the line between friend and foe becomes blurred in instances, allowing the reader to reassess previous actors and consider them in a new light.
Tonally, Atomic Beasts is a bit of a departure from the original work, balancing the levity with the occasional pall of grimness or dire implication for our heroes moving forward. Without giving away too much, the third entry is shaping up to be a more serious affair if this direction continues, and the evolution is welcome.
If you’ve read the first novel, this one is an easy recommendation, and you can read my deeper thoughts on my SubStack. If you’ve yet to dip your toes into the pool of gore and severed monster limbs, consider giving Dan the Destructor a try!