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Apocalypse Disrupted: time shift strategy Paperback – February 4, 2016
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About the Author
Tim Freriks is an inventor, entrepreneur, and novelist living in Tampa. He is the author of six novels, including the Robert Curry series, Apocalypse Disrupted and Three Legs of the Caliphate. Mr. Freriks also authored the Startup Assembly Manual, a guide for early-stage entrepreneurs which was nominated for Small Business Book of the Year in 2016.
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One of the high points of my work for Starving Reviews LLC is that I always get a new variety of meals out of the pantry. While I’ve dined at the table of political thrillers in the past, this one adds a swirl of alternate histories and time travel to spice the mix up. Of course, we all know that adding new spices to any recipe is there’s always a chance that the new ingredients screw up the meal. Is Apocalypse Disrupted an example of that or does it pull off the blending to make a better whole?
Before we answer that question, let’s review the Starving Review rules:
I attempt to rate every book from the perspective of a fan of the genre
I attempt to make every review as spoiler-free as possible
Overall, yes, I’d say so. There is an interesting core premise to the supernatural/science fiction elements mixed in with the main thriller course, something that binds the whole meal together into a harmonious meal. An interesting point that makes this repast different from many other alternate history books is that there is never a starting history that is identical to our own. At first, this seemed a bit unusual, but it, like most other plot threads, comes together in the end.
There is a lot of meat to enjoy here. The core political mysteries and the power games played form the largest part of the plot and conflict, and they are all handled with a great deal of care and research. History buffs, such as myself, might be slightly thrown at first, but once your tastebuds acclimate to that important fact above (the starting history isn’t exactly our own), things fall into place and the rest of the ride is quite smooth.
The finale, as well, is well-cooked and blends the hanging threads together into a nice chocolate pudding, leaving just enough left-overs to tease a possible sequel. Along with a properly staged plot and excellent researched ingredients, the chef works in a solid, clean style, something important to keeping all the plot threads and character viewpoints clean in the third-person alternating style Mr. Freriks employs here.
There is only one real flaw, at least in my eyes, and that’s in the characters. While there are no cardboard cutouts on display, at least along the major cast, there is a certain element of stereotypes mixed liberally in, especially with the antagonists. There is an attempt to turn away from stereotypical villaindom, as well as several steps to try to put the morality of the situation on its head, but they ultimately ring hollow. Add to that a few head-scratching moments of odd decision making by the protagonist (which I can’t really explain without SPOILERS) and a strange lack of representation among the cast and the characterization and cast feel a bit off. It’s not a deal-breaker but it still worms its way into my consciousness.
To sum things up, Apocalypse Disrupted is a tasty treat of alternate history mixed with political thriller that only sours a tad on the character front! If you love political thrillers or enjoy alternate history tales, you would do well with picking this one up, especially with the strong chance of a sequel. If these aren’t your genres of choice, you may still want to give this a look, but check out the previews first before committing. All in all, a solid read.
FINAL VERDICT: **** (A tasty treat of alternate history mixed with political thriller that only sours a tad on the character front!)
The first quarter of the book is solid, interesting, and tension-filled. The middle of the book, however, wavers. I wouldn’t quite call it a continued case of info-dump, but it is close. The author seems to revel in giving the minutae, laying out every thought and move of our protagonist as it happens, and it swiftly just becomes too much. Show, don’t tell, gets thrown by the wayside. I struggled to get through this part. Some readers may really enjoy it, but for someone who has never enjoyed the minutae (whether it be in fantasy world-building or otherwise) it was extremely difficult for me to get through. (I've been told that since I originally reviewed the book this has been fixed.)
Now, with that being said, I’m happy to report the last quarter of the book picked back up dramatically. It returned me to the tension-filled state where I was constantly wondering how things were going to end. It was twist and turn after twist and turn. Freriks’ strength, lays, in the area of political thrillers, and I found myself enjoying that aspect of this book the most. Also, just like the synopsis above states: I did not see the end coming. Came completely out of left field.
Overall, Apocalypse Disrupted is an interesting premise that melds two genres you really wouldn’t ever expect to mix. The story stimulates the imagination, and it has unexpected twists that really will keep you guessing, but it could benefit from some a good infusion of show-not-tell or at least just flat-out leaving a few things up to the readers imagination.
**The author changed the name of the book when he made other changes, and asked me to please repost my review since he lost all reviews with the name change.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the author for review consideration.