by Henry Gene Foster and J.J. Holden
Society crumbles after an EMP attack, and the terrifying nightmare has only just begun…
Three people from different walks of life each experience the end of America. Cassy is a 33-year-old prepper and single mother, away on business. Ethan is a hacker and conspiracy nut living underground. Frank is a family man out camping with friends and family. When a devastating EMP attack in the middle of the night destroys America’s infrastructure, they are propelled on an unforgettable journey across an ocean of chaos to reach safety… Safety from an unknown invader and from once-fellow Americans now hungry and desperate. Dark New World is a prepper story of survival and the fight to retain humanity in the face of an apocalyptic event.
(I listened to the audiobook version of this title.)
Hm... I found myself rolling my eyes and scoffing far too often, while listening to this short novel. I can't do more than round it up to three stars, unfortunately.
The blurb describes this as a "prepper story of survival", and that's about right. The heroes/heroines are preppers, and the whole thing feels like it's very strongly aimed at preppers-- which is fine. I mean, if you're writing a book for preppers, I suppose this is what you get. It does feel a little cartoonish at times, though... It's like someone took a long list of things a prepper might think about when planning for a disaster scenario, then went down it and checked them off, one by one. (...And yet this book doesn't go into great detail about how to be a prepper. In my opinion, that doesn't really belong in a work of fiction, anyway. This is more of a prepper-themed adventure.)
At first, it's refreshing to have characters who are prepared (for once) for the disaster at hand. I enjoy the "planning and taking calculated action" portions of post-apocalypse/doomsday stories, myself, and this has a lot of that. However, planning can get dull after a while-- and to keep the drama high, our primary heroine, Cassy, has to find herself in some bad situations, some of which she (as a prepper/survivalist) should probably have been able to avoid.
Cassy-- well, pretty much all of the characters, to be honest, started to get on my nerves after a while. Too many of them were stereotyped, for one thing. Yes, sometimes stereotypes exist for a reason, but I can only handle so many of them in one dose. (Oh my gosh, that teenage girl! So annoying!)
There were times when I felt I was almost being lectured or preached at-- or at least bombarded with heavy-handed "lessons", which is unpalatable.
I also have some issues with the timeline and pacing.
First: Maybe it's naive, but I don't think that society would break down quite so quickly as it seems to do in this book-- or at least not so completely in such a short space of time. I do think it would/could happen at some point, but friendly next-door neighbors threatening to shoot one another in only one or two days? ...I find it doubtful.
Second: (Spoilers to follow!) The story sped up at the end to the point that I had a hard time keeping track of what was happening to whom, because the perspective shifted so frequently. I'm still not entirely sure what happened to injure Cassy and how she ended up in the bunker. Of course, part of the problem is that I was doing yard work while I listened and may have been distracted for a few moments-- but I still think the pacing was a bit off in the last section of the book.
Readers may be disappointed that there's not a completely satisfying conclusion at the end of this first installment of the series. At least all the main characters have come together, but there's still a long way to go before they reach relative safety-- and you have to continue with the next book to see if/how they make it to Cassy's farm. Based on a little peeking, the series will have at least four books-- maybe more-- and it sounds like each one leads directly into the next. Very serialized. At the moment, I doubt I'll bother with the second book. The premise of the series still interests me, but I found too many of the characters too annoying to want to spend much more time listening to or about them...