On Amazon UK
How I discovered this book: Amazon browse
Genre: Post Apocalyptic, Dystopian, EMP
A strange one - I was attracted by the amount of good reviews, but found myself veering between 2 and 5 stars all the way through. A solar storm affects most of the world, and certainly all of North America. The book brings together related scenarios in various places in North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and along the Applachian Trail, concerning the Government, coast guards, various other armed forces including FEMA, civilians, prisoners in a correctional facility, an escaped Ayran brotherhood gang and a 'gangsta' one, and others here and there, over the first 3 or 4 weeks of the crisis. A summing up:
What I liked:
- It's obviously very well researched. From how boats work to the effects of a solar storm, to the likelihood of power being restored, to how quickly supplies might last, to how long certain resources would last and survival techniques - it's all there. At no time did I feel that any practical area had been glossed over.
- The scenes in the White House and about the military leaders and FEMA. An unusual addition to a book of this genre, and a welcome one. I'm sure that in a situation such as this their attitude towards the general public would be every bit as callous as this, and worse. And I am sure that they would mislead the public every inch of the way, as they do in this book.
- The feeling of growing danger and collapse. The building of suspense... all well done.
- The idea of the 'gangsta' gang leader taking over a government building and appointing his crew as 'Minister for Food', etc, was very funny indeed.
- The proofreading was generally good, apart from hundreds of backwards apostrophes at beginning of words, but I could live with those.
- There are some good one-off scenes, dramatic page-turners.
- I liked some of the survival stuff, which was most interesting; for instance, how a rogue government security guard survives with meagre supplies on the AT.
- I wanted to know what was going to happen, in most of the scenarios, and generally; the storytelling itself is basically good.
- Yes, it's very well researched ~ and I think every bit of that research is in the book. Often in dialogue, some of which is unrealistic and information heavy. Too much 'I need the reader to know that I know every single detail about this, so I shall put it all in this conversation'. Even when we don't need to know every single detail. Like, don't have one guy explain exactly to his mates exactly how he is going to get out of one tight spot. Just have them do it; people don't explain in such detail, when in desperate situations.
- Far, far, far too many characters. By about 30% in I gave up trying to remember who everyone was, and just read the story, which was easy enough to do because so much of it is events and information about how the country would come to a standstill.
- Because there are so many characters, there little room for character development. Only a few stood out (the rogue army a**holes, a survivalist called Levi, 'good guy' Luke), but too many were just 1D stereotypes (including the 'feisty' wife who keeps calling her husband by his first name and surname - arrgh!), or names on a page.
- The dialogue is a bit cheesy at times, particularly the black gang; I think the author must have sat down with films like Straight Out of Compton and taken notes. It's actually quite amusing, I kind of liked it, but it reads like a parody.
- Capital letters used for emphasis on words and shouting, thoughout. Horrible. Coupled with the backwards apostrophes, this made me think the book hasn't seen a professional copy editor or proofreader.
- Related to the superfluity of characters - I felt the author had tried to cram too much into one book. I could see why; all these points of view and different situations made the story complete, but I felt that some of the scenarios could have been chopped down to small, snappy one or two page chapters, rather than each one being written in detail.
- The military/boat stuff was far too detailed and a bit boring. But that could just be me.