This is a book containing three separate stories by three different authors who use the same post-apocalyptic world as their backdrop. I went into this as a stand-alone, because I have not read any of the other books in this series or by these authors, and this book was my first introduction into the post-apocalyptic world of The Cull. Overall, the stories are great post-apocalyptic reads by themselves, but I rated each individually to get an overall four-star rating.
Story 1: Orbital Decay by Malcolm Cross - 4 Stars
This was a strong, well fleshed-out story full of suspense. I loved the unique perspective - a group of astronauts on board the Space Station, watching as the world below slowly falls into chaos because of a spreading pandemic. The characters in this story were interesting and well-written, and the story kept me on edge as things both on Earth and on the space station began to fall apart. There was an issue with over-detailing every little thing and every action of Alvin as he goes through the space station. I found myself skimming technical details and paragraph after paragraph of him just traveling through the corridors. The ending was good, though a bit unbelievable.
Story 2: Dead Kelly by C. B. Harvey - 5 Stars
I loved this story so hard! Kelly was such a dynamic character. You'll hate him, then like him, then hate to love him. He's not a nice guy - but he's real. As Australia falls apart to the plague, Kelly, an ex-gang leader who'd been hiding in the outback, becomes a sort of anti-hero. When the world goes mad, it takes a madman to pull society back together. And the ending... that twist... WOW.
Story 3: The Bloody Deluge by Adrian Tchaikovsky - 3 Stars
Unfortunately, I think Harvey's story raised my expectations as I went into Tchaikovsky's story, which fell flat for me. This story presents a somewhat typical post-apocalyptic theme - Religion vs Science, and the New World Order being built as a New Religion. The story was okay, but it dragged with some back and forth, and the main character felt a bit stiff. There is quite a bit of action which I found hard to follow.
Overall, this is a good collection, and I am now interested in reading anything else within The Cull universe.
*Tracing The Stars received a copy and a request for an honest review.