Monday, 28 October 2019

REVIEW - SURVIVE THE CHAOS - SMALL TOWN EMP BY GRACE HAMILTON

Title: Survive The Chaos
Series: Small Town EMP
Author: Grace Hamilton
Genre: Sci-Fi, Post Apocalyptic
Publisher: Relay Publishing
Release Date: 11th July 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
When the lights go out, anarchy reigns supreme. 

After Austin Merryman’s wife died, he and his fourteen-year-old daughter left home to travel the country in an old RV. But the comfort and renewal they sought soon descends into chaos—even before the EMP hits. 

When a message from an old college buddy leads Austin to a bridge in the middle of nowhere, he finds his friend—now an NSA agent—waiting to give him a USB drive. Before the contents can be explained, machine gun fire strafes the bridge, killing Austin’s friend and forcing Austin into the raging river. 

Rescued downstream by a beautiful veterinarian, Austin learns that EMP attacks have thrust the world into eternal darkness—and separated him from the only person he has left: his young, but resourceful, daughter. Now, he’ll move heaven and earth to locate her and make it to his brother’s prepper hideaway in Utah. 

But the post-apocalyptic world is no longer a friendly place. Resources are growing scarce. Factions break out and walls go up. Everyone is willing to do whatever it takes to survive in an increasingly hostile environment. And Austin’s daughter is caught right in the middle of this splintering society. 

But an even deadlier foe stalks them as they struggle across the landscape. Someone who hasn’t forgotten about the USB drive Austin possesses. 

And they’ll do anything to get it back. 

This novel contains violence.


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
I have read other series and parts of series by this author so I admit I do look out for her new titles. When I saw this one and read the blurb I immediately knew I had to read it!
The book cover shows a rather desolate scenery with male and female figures on it. The colours used on the cover go with the post apocalyptic theme. Upon reading the book I personally think the male and female figures on the cover are Savannah and Malachi, it would be interesting to know who they author would say they are and what other people think when they have read the book also.

The book begins with 14 year old, Savannah telling her dad, Austin what she considers a white lie, that she is going to the creamery with the girl from the nearby farm whose land their RV is on. Austin is suspicious his daughter may be meeting a boy but gives her time she has to be home by and lets her go off as he has someone to meet too. An old friend, Callum, has contacted him telling him he has a big story for him. Austin used to be famous for his whistle blower articles, though his recent journalism has been much smaller articles about travelling. Since he is now single parent to Savannah since her mother and his wife, Karen died. 

Both characters go off to their “meetings”. Savannah does have ice cream at the creamery with her friend Cassie but soon rushes off to meet Malachi, the boy she has a crush on. Malachi and his family also travel around the country preaching about their beliefs as they are revivalists. Savannah sits through the revivalist meeting trying to look interested as she likes Malachi a lot. It is shortly after the meeting that Malachi’s grandfather Eli collapses. Savannah frantically tries CPR as it seems she is the only one who knows how to. Others amongst the revivalists try to ring 911, but their phones are not working, then they suggest taking Eli to hospital in one of their vehicles but none of them seem to be working. It is then everyone notices that all their modern gadgets have suddenly ceased working. 

Everyone is discovering that their gadgets and modern conveniences have stopped working, from mobile phones, to cars, vans and planes.
Another character, Amanda finds out she has no power and needs to crash land her plane into her newly renovated barn which causes it to burst into flames. It’s whilst Amanda is trying to rig up a way to dampen the ground surrounding the barn to avoid the fire spreading that she comes across Austin. Austin has met his friend Callum who has handed him something important. So important in fact that during the meeting Callum is shot dead, and Austin is shot at and ends up jumping off the bridge into the swollen fast running stream. 

The rest of the book covers how Savannah has a tough decision to make, stay alone in the RV and wait for her dad to return to her or whether to leave her dad a note and travel with the revivalist group and go to her Uncle Ennis and wait for her dad there. 
Austin has equally hard decisions to make, as he has a broken leg and concussion. Lucky for him the woman that helped him get out of the river is a vet so has some knowledge and supplies that are useful and helpful to humans too. 

The book tells the stories of Austin and Savannah’s separate journeys along with some other characters they meet along the way. Both sets of travellers have to avoid those intent on killing and looting anyone that has more than themselves. An extra worry for everyone is the emergence of a group of individuals calling themselves the New Order. Austin is also unaware that the guy that killed his friend Callum and shot at him has reported back to his bosses and there is a new tougher operative on his trail who will use anyone and anything to get what he wants, he also doesn’t care who he has to kill to get what he wants.

Of course, I liked the characters of Austin and Savannah but I also really liked Amanda who has a practical and objective approach to every problem they face, though she can be a little naïve and much too honest and trusting for the world she is now living in. I think it would be great if Austin and Amanda got together in a relationship too.
I loved the character of Ennis, the totally unexperienced prepper who literally has a house protected by steel but doesn’t really have a clue what to do with some of his ‘end of the world’ gadgets. I instantly loved Nash, the young man who finds himself on the doorstep of a house of steel. Nash is a very savvy survivor despite perhaps looking a bit geeky. It could be his knowledge and expertise that secures the survival of whoever he is with.

Characters I enjoyed disliking? Maybe not the one you would choose but I felt irritated by Wendell. The college friend to Ennis who wants to ride out the looting and chaos with his best buddy. Wendell knows the kind of supplies and luxury that Ennis has secured for himself and anyone with him by purchasing all the prepper recommended gadgets.

The one that will instantly fit the ‘hate’ brief is Zander, who I can only describe as a mercenary or hit man. Zander is working for a much larger group of people who you really don’t want to meet up. This organisation is distributing leaflets along with ‘emergency aid” packs. Their intention seems to be to turn neighbour against neighbour, mentioning ‘True Patriots’ and Zander also comments about a group called ‘The New Order’

I have to admit I became quickly exasperated with were the revivalists, particularly Jim and Tonya Loveridge who are Malachi’s parents and who blindly believe they will get home by simply walking and relying on their faith in God to keep them fed and safe. They even take it in their stride so to speak when people turn on them and want to hurt them and kill them for their religious way of life. 

This book is so well written, the pace is great, keeps you reading and you so hate having to put it down for silly things like, eating, sleeping and housework! The book is action packed especially in a certain scene towards the end of the book. Though the book deals with society at it’s worst there are some principled honest caring people left. 

My immediate thought when finishing the book were, Oh wow! What a cliffhanger! Loved it from beginning to end, would read next book now if I could! Brilliant, engrossing, addictive reading. 




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