Book Review – The Decay: A Post-Apocalyptical Tale of Survival by Roger Hayden

Book Review – The Decay: A Post-Apocalyptical Tale of Survival by Roger Hayden

What starts as a terrorist attack on Wall Street in New York City quickly turns into nuclear attacks on multiple cities throughout the US, which seem to be on the East Coast.

The story revolves around Paul, who seems to work for a shady character who owns a computer store, his step-daughter Samantha, and his wife who was away at a convention in Colorado at the time of the attack.  Paul is followed and attacked by people who seem intent on finding his boss.

Julie opened the door and jumped into the passenger’s seat.  She slammed it shut as if upset.  Paul prepared to apologize for his lateness, but Julie beat him to the punch.  His tardiness was the last thing on her mind.

“Turn on the radio, now,” she ordered.

Paul was taken by surprise.  “Huh? Why?”

Julie ignored him and turned the radio on herself.  She flipped through several channels to a reporter’s voice discussing a terrorist attack,

Paul pulled back onto the road, trying to pay attention to what the reporter was saying.

“Multiple casualties… massive injuries… the worst terrorist attack since September 11, 2001.”

“What happened?” he asked Julie.

“Terrorists blew up Wall Street,” Julie said.  “It just happened like thirty minutes ago.”

It also follows the storyline of Sacha, a Polish immigrant in New York City who seems to be key to the terrorist attacks or at the very least, knows something behind him.

I did feel the book covered on the nuclear attacks aspect of it too lightly.  No one seemed concerned about radiation poisoning despite seeing mushroom clouds – even the “bad guys” chasing Paul seemed unconcerned about it and didn’t abandon their “job” despite knowing it was a nuclear attack.  The author could have really benefited – as could have readers – from learning more about what people should do in a nuclear attack, rather than carrying on business as usual, as seemed to happen in this book.  True, maybe there isn’t much one can do, but some concern about it would have been good!

I did feel the illustrations added nothing to the book, if anything, they were a distraction.  However, the illustrator is only cited as a contributor to the first two books in the series.  There were also numerous typos and grammatical errors in the book, if that bothers you to read.

Since I read the first book, the author seems to have made the series available in a single book “The Decay Omnibus”.

Book Review – The Blackout by Stephanie Erickson

Book Review – The Blackout by Stephanie Erickson

This book follows two characters, Molly and Gary, who are separated by almost the entire country when the power goes off.  Molly is an English professor while Gary is a pilot jetting around clients in a corporate jet.

After about two days, Molly really started to worry.  None of her neighbors knew anything.  There was no word.  Nothing.  No communication from emergency relief teams.  No inkling that help was on the way.

While Gary wasn’t in the air when the power goes out, he does see the aftermath of the situation at the airport.

I also liked how there was a lot of indecision and denial when the power goes out.  Even though the electronics is toast on the airplane, Gary and his partner are reluctant to leave it because they have clients who they need to fly somewhere.

He came to the conclusion that they needed to move on from the airport before Clint did.  His co-pilot was very duty-oriented and thought they should stay where people knew where they were.  Gary just wanted to get back to his family.  He wasn’t planning on walking the entire way, but he thought maybe they could walk to the closest city that had power.

This book is uplifting in a way – some books in this genre can be so bleak and full of despair.  Molly in particular is a strong character and not the “damsel in distress” that some novels cast the wife as being home alone waiting for her husband to come home and save her from the crisis.

While Molly doesn’t lead the community, she has a strong voice that people listen to.  I did like that she waffled with the thought of infidelity, as so many times the wife is just “so sure” her husband is going to get home, yet the reality would be that most of the husbands wouldn’t.

The thought filled Molly with a sense of dread.  If The Blackout was more widespread, we may have to learn to live with this for an extended period.  Maybe even a few weeks, she thought.  Luckily, their area was used to being without power due to the hurricanes that regularly pummeled the area, so most of the neighborhood wasn’t without food or basic supplies.  However, no one had enough to last over a week.  Well, almost no one.

Jimmy Jean was a nut.  At least everyone in the nighborhood thought so.  A retired military man, he was one of those extremists, telling anyone who would listen what would happen during a catastrophic event.  He was convinced a government attack was inevitable; the only question was when.  He had enough food stores in his basement to last for months, and had even given Molly and Gary a tour once, trying to educate them on the importance of preparedness.  Gary had been annoyed, but Molly thought he was sweet and harmless.

One of my favorite characters in this book is Jimmy Jean, and he is one of my favorite characters in this entire genre, which says a lot of the power of the author’s secondary characters.  Stephanie Erickson has also created a short story / novella with more about Jimmy Jean with more about his backstory than the main novel goes into, called “Jimmy Jean: A Blackout Story“, which can either be read with The Blackout or independently.  I haven’t read this one yet, but I will pick it up at some point, however I can’t imagine it not being great!

Some of the community events hit me as slightly farfetched – such as how the community had enough supplies, even stolen ones, to make a huge wall surrounding the entire community.  I did enjoy how you did see all facets of what would be in any community – lazy people, those who argue against ideas such as safety, etc.

This will be one of those books that will keep you up reading.  I felt the ending was a bit abrupt (similar to how 77 Days in September ended somewhat abruptly as well, but lead into a sequel), I would have loved an extra chapter or two to resolve the story.  However, it is possibly done as a set up for an upcoming sequel, although none has been announced.

Book Review – 77 Days in September by Ray Gorham

Book Review – 77 Days in September by Ray Gorham

This novel opens in a big way – with a EMP striking right as the main character’s plane has taken off.  While many apocalyptic novels talk about plane crashes as a result of an EMP, this was interesting to see the author tackle this scenario first hand.

The story follows Kyle as he struggles to travel 2,000 miles back home to his family, while we also follow his wife Jennifer’s struggle to survive in her community.  Both characters face situations such as flirting with the thought of infidelity when neither of them knows if the other is still alive.

“My fellow citizens,” the broadcast began.  “This is Vice President Brent Hamilton.  On Friday, Sept 2, at approximately 4:08 P.M. Eastern Time, our country was attacked by enemies we have not yet identified.  President Stewart was traveling at the time of the attack and is currently en-route to Washington.  The target of the attack was the continental United States, and by extension, the entire North American continent.  A nuclear missile was detonated approximately three hundred miles above our country.  The result of this detonation was an electrical storm that appears to have crippled our electrical infrastructure.  This type of attack is referred to as an EMP, or Electromagnetic Pulse.”

This is another novel that also teaches the reader how to survive and plan in these types of scenarios.  However the main character seems to be always making the wrong decision – was this a case of the author trying to teach the reader even more by showing how to recover from these really bad decisions?  Maybe, but some of the time I wanted to be like “Kyle, REALLY, you didn’t learn?”  And some of the things would likely be downright dangerous in a real SHTF situation – such as Kyle’s desire to travel on main roads and highways rather than sticking to smaller routes where it would be less likely he would run into unsavory characters.

I did enjoy that part of the story was told through a female character.  So many of the books in this genre (aside from many of the young adult dystopian novels) feature mostly male characters that the story is told through.   I do wish her character was stronger and independent, rather than the damsel in distress role she took most of the time.

Aside from that, it is a very enjoyable and thought-provoking book.  Like One Second After, this will really help people think about prepping and go over survival scenarios in their heads about what they would do in Kyle or Jennifer’s shoes.

Earlier versions of the ebook had numerous grammatical errors and typos, but the book was rereleased in 2014 and presumably was edited.