Tuesday 7 November 2023



Title: Burned World
Surviving The End
Grace Hamilton
Release Date:
11th October 2023

BLURB from Goodreads

The apocalypse is over. But the struggle for survival has only just begun… A hard-won peace has been earned by the McDonald family’s Georgia settlement, Hickory Falls. The rural community offers shelter, food, and safety. At least for now… But in the aftermath of the solar flare, and the fall of the old world, danger takes many forms. It begins with a drought that threatens crops. Then a flood of refugees arrives, driven from their homes by a raging wildfire. They’ve lost everything, and the inferno is spreading. Taking in the dispossessed means more mouths to feed—but it also means willing hands to do vital work. And one refugee in particular has valuable skills. Greyson was a firefighter, and he’s got a plan to make Hickory Falls safe from the encroaching fire. But there’s something a little off about the man. Beth, the McDonald matriarch, doesn’t trust him—though she can’t say why. But, like it or not, he’s part of the community now. Will his preparations save Hickory Falls? Or plunge the community into fiery doom…

Goodreads Link

Burned World is bk4 in the Surviving The End series by Grace Hamilton and has an eye catching cover that fits well with the rest of the series so far and it certainly depicts the dangerous, out of control fire featured in the book plot.

As always when there has been a large gap between books, I worry about remembering all the relevant facts from the previous books and I aren’t one for really re-reading books before reading the new one in the series. It was roughly 3 years since I read New World bk3 in the Surviving The End series, so it was a long time. I did go back and read my reviews for the other books but have to admit that I initially struggled remembering all the nuances of the characters and what had happened previously when I started reading Burned World.

The actual initial apocalypse is over. But the hardships have only just started to really kick in and be really felt. Sheriff James Cooley and the McDonald family are still at the centre of things though everything is still put to a vote and of course the majority rule. With resources including water, becoming even more scarce there are difficult decisions to be made, especially when a newcomer called Greyson arrives warning of a wildfire burning out of control and the possibility of it coming to Hickory Falls. Naturally there’s immediate worrying as with water in short supply already what could they fight a fire with? It just so happens that the newcomer, Greyson has a valuable skill he is eager to share with them, he is/was a fire fighter. He is full of ideas, many controversial and involving a lot of work to pull off on how to protect Hickory Falls from the fire.

I thoroughly enjoyed disliking the rather creepy Greyson from the beginning, I was definitely with both Beth and Violet with their feelings of unease about him. The way he manipulates Sheriff James Cooley, Corbin and the McDonalds is very subtle at first but as the residents of Hickory Falls succumb to his 'spell' the cracks in their community begin to widen. I felt so sorry for Corbin, being used as part of Greyson’s greater plan. Even at the end of this book as a reader we don't know if the information Greyson is providing is the truth or part of some even greater sinister plot he has or is part of.

There’s so much going on in this book that the Hickory Fall residents have to deal with as if they didn’t have enough issues already. Every decision means a meeting, an explanation of options and action and a vote to decide what to do as a community. There are the two huge influxes of newcomers that have fled their own homes due to the fire, that turn up at the gates of Hickory falls offering to work in exchange for food and shelter. Some of the newcomers bring new skills & tools to add to those already at the community. Both times the emergency bell that calls everyone to gather for a meeting is rung and though the vote is very close both times the newcomers are allowed in. However, when a third lot of refugees arrive the vote is for them to be turned away, the strange group do not go without protesting and even trying to climb the tall fence surrounding Hickory Falls. Eventually they shout threats and retreat to the woods, but they are lurking and a constant threat to be dealt with.

I have to admit to chuckling at everyone being sick of the 'only ring in an emergency bell' continuously being used, but it is also a necessity if the community wish to have their opinions heard and to vote on anything and everything such as the fire precautions, as well as the more usual day to day situations that need to be voted on. At one point it seems like the emergency bell to call everyone to the meeting hall is constantly being wrong, dragging people away from work or their rest time. It gets to a point where families only send a couple of people to represent them or just don’t respond to the bell at all. I couldn’t help get the feeling that there would be a huge emergency or danger and the bell would be wrong and lives would be lost due to people ignoring it.

I also felt like reaching into the book and hugging Beth. The stubborn stalwart, the prepper, the one who readily helps anyone & everyone. Beth loses a lot in this book, materialistic, emotionally and physically but she battles on for those around her. I also worry for what's ahead for Jodi, especially when her pain medication totally runs out, how will she cope living in a world where it's literally become an 'every person for themselves' & 'survival of the fittest' scenario.

Sadly, two central, great characters die in this book, one under highly suspicious circumstances and the other who has already been through so much in their life, dies whilst saving the life of another character.

I also felt like reaching into the book and shaking Owen when he was moping about because he was looking after his daughter rather doing hard physical work, whilst his wife worked on certain projects. Having said that I could also kind of see his point of view that he was sort of being “wasted” on babysitting duties when perhaps there were others that could have cared for his daughter. I did love how Jodi handled the situation though as she is right of course that it is important for him to spend time with his child too and realise that caring for a child is also “work” and important.

It's difficult to say much more without giving away major plot lines. I will say that though this started slowly, it’s to set the scene and foundation for what is coming. Once the action begins things happen really quickly.

Summing up, initially I admit to being really irritated at figuring who was who and thinking back to the different family and community dynamics. However, once I got back into the world and society within the book, I slowly began to be pulled back in and the ending of Burned World had me wanting to scream why is there no more!! So yes, I am certainly looking forward to reading more in this series, especially as I had thought that bk3 New World was the last book!! So great surprise that there are actually at least another 2 books to come and they’re being release this year!! 

No comments:

Post a Comment