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About the Author
- ASIN : B00WYDIE6I
- Publisher : Phalanx Press; 1st edition (April 30, 2015)
- Publication date : April 30, 2015
- Language : English
- File size : 3105 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 490 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #160,927 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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On the other hand, it was a really enjoyable read, which is what a book is supposed to do. It definitely wasn't at all fast-paced, though it had its moments but it was well written and you could see that the author poured a lot of himself into the manuscript. It contained most of the tried and true "tropes" that make a post-apocalyptic book enjoyable but it was much more character driven which made the sad moments that much more impactful, even if they were expected.
I found myself waking up in the middle of the night, worrying about how Clay was going to take care of his family when (Spoiler) a certain important character was killed. That doesn't happen unless your subconscious in engaged.
The characters were fun, the plot slow with a few really great, engaging moments, the complications were continual and genuinely worrying, and the ending was nicely wrapped up. Overall, it was a great read (and I ate up the details about the firearms. You can tell the author knows what he's talking about.)
The only reason I didn't rate it five stars was because a) I feel like this author has much better in him once he nails down that POV (which is honestly the single biggest problem I run into with Indie authors and the fact that he does as good as he does is testament to his being wide read) b) I feel like he often got sidetracked from the story to "preach". While I, as a conservative Christian, agree with most if not all of his views, and I have great respect for them, there were times that it made the story feel more like a piece of propaganda than a story and I feel like he could have accomplished both an amazing story and a powerful theme much better if he'd used a bit more subtext. I also recognize that I'm probably judging this a bit more harshly than I would others because it was very good, and I think the author has better work in him in the future!
If you enjoy a good, slow-building book with some great adventure, themes of family and responsibility with a great Paragon character, I highly suggest you give it a try. I will be buying more by this author, for sure and I will be keeping a very close eye on his future works.
First off, the author doesn't seem to have any idea how much people eat. At one point, two number 10 cans of freeze dried chicken are found. Yay! They won't freeze over the winter! Except a can of freeze dried chicken has fewer than 3000 calories. I don't mind if not everything in a story is perfect, but when 95% of the story involves activities related to scavenging or hunting for food, it should at least make some sense. Why specify the can size, if you aren't going to get the amounts realistic?
Second, the secondary characters exist only as foils for Clay. His sister Megan is practically a robot. Her function is to do everything not worth describing in any detail or attributed to Clay. So cooking and medical care come up a few times. She is also homeschooling the kids, but that is only mentioned, not described. She has no desires, except those expressed after the fact, once Heroic Clay has fulfilled them (like when she gets new shoes or chocolate). She never does anything wrong, but she also never does anything so right that it becomes a plot point. To be fair, she is given her due - the book acknowledges that her efforts are Herculean, but they are very much in the background. She isn't a real person. At one point she takes a shot of vodka to relax, after just having caused intense pain to a patient. I thought she was going to get a storyline at that point - she was an alcoholic hoarding liquor instead of utilizing it as a painkiller. But that was it. It never went anywhere. Alcohol wasn't used for medicinal purposes and she never took another drink. It was strange.
Megan spends her very limited free time reading first aid / medical books (NOT dental, oddly enough). But she doesn't seem to have any medical or scientific knowledge beyond giving stitches. She doesn't have a blood pressure cuff, she apparently hasn't tried to produce antibiotics or grow plants to synthesize drugs, she has no lab equipment, the group hasn't been blood-typed (the possibility of a transfusion is never even suggested). Her medical equipment is bandages, needles and thread, and expired antibiotics (when available). My HS senior just finished the EMT course. It wasn't that hard. Anyway, Megan seems to be at the level of an EMT, not a nurse or paramedic. So if she picked up that medical knowledge in a month (like my child) what has she been doing for the last several years?!
All of the children are almost completely anonymous, except for Dakota, Dusty, and Charlie. Dakota exists as a representation of her mother's sin, and therefore the reason her mother must be saved (by Clay, of course). She is also used as a plot device to allow other characters to control her mother's actions. Charlie is the archetypical perfect boy. He exists to illustrate the source of perfect manhood - Clay, obviously. It's the circle of life!! A perfect man's job is to beget the next generation of perfect boys/men. In case you missed it, Clay has a letter from his dad that explains a little more what makes a great man. The letter would actually be quite beautiful, if a little corny, if the rest of the book wasn't already hitting you over the head with it. Dusty actually has some spunk, but she isn't really a part of the core story.
The love interest is a fallen woman. Through no fault of her own (of course). But the idea that lack of virtue could even be an issue in the brutal world portrayed seems pretty nuts. To be worthy of Clay you have to be a virgin. An exception can be made in the case of physical rape, which serves as additional evidence of what a great guy Clay is (he won't hold it against you). The problem with this is that the virgin or whore extremes aren't realistic the the novel's world (sister Megan is physically isolated from men). And this is what ultimately makes the book completely ridiculous. Clay's girlfriend attempts murder, and it simply isn't justified. Other alternatives have not been exhausted and her situation is not that bad, given her universe. But it sets off a chain of events that leads to a lot of bloodshed.
The book ends with the conclusion that being a woman in the apocalypse is better than being a working mom, as long as you have a man like Clay. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.
Two stars rather than one because I am not totally unsympathetic to the author's romanticized view of traditional manhood. But it is explored in a very immature way in this book.
The setting is in Texas, but all government and most of the economy have been destroyed by the disasters, leaving leaving a shell of the former society where people have to fend for themselves. This book is realistic about the evil that goes unrestrained when a government collapses. Clay does his best to protect his family from the evil that surrounds him, but finds that he must also fight evil in his own heart.
Glimpses into the past help the reader understand events before and after the disasters that helped shape the characters into who they have become. They are far from one-dimensional, all with strengths and weaknesses, good and bad characteristics.
Once you get a few pages into this book, you wont be able to put it down. I heard there may be a sequel in the works and I look forward to it!
Top reviews from other countries
The story follows Clay's day-to-day involvement as he interacts with various groups of people some friendly, others not so much, as well as how fights to protect his family. Another dimension's added when Clay stumbles upon Kelsey and her daughter as they are about to be attacked by murderous thugs and of course or hero can't let that happen.
You know what, I rather enjoyed the book and I liked the characterisation of Clay and Kelsey. They both grew as the book progressed. Yes, Clay was a bit too saintly for my preference but it was never eye rolling stuff. I thought the story was well written and the author made things simple, he didn't try to overelaborate when describing action scenes which made it flow more easily.
I did also appreciate that Clay was not disguised as Rambo, he was vulnerable and (to my slight frustration) got his share of beatings, but his courage and sense of virtue proved to be his strength.
The only negative I would say, and it is only a slight one, is that I thought there was too much emphasis on the romantic side of things and at times it felt more like a romance novel, but hey in a world where someone will kill you over a can of tuna, you need some love.
A very good dystopian novel about hope, survival, and the importance of family in such a desolate world.
It's not your typical macho-alpha male book that describes in endless pages about this gun or that one, so if you're pasionately into your guns and action then you proably won't enjoy this book as much, if however you want to read about a tale of human endevours and the values people hold in times of bleak despair, then give this book a try.
I enjoyed the attention to detail in the day-to-day realities of Clay's life, and the story unfolds as you learn about the practicalities of finding food, finding items to trade, scavenging, and defending the home- and it is as he goes about these activities that Clay stumbles upon Kelsey, a young woman who is going to turn his world upside down.
This was a gripping tale of survival, hope and love which I enjoyed reading, though for me personally I didn't always relate to elements of Clay's personality and worldview- for example, there seemed to be an underlying theme of "wouldn't it be great if we returned to a simpler time", and also some of the dialogue laid things on a bit thick for my taste. Clay was a little too good to be true, and Kelsey a little too much of stereotypical beautiful "damsel in distress". Nevertheless, I found this an entertaining read with a message of hope, and a celebration of the best parts of human nature.
Good characters, held my attention to the end.