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This is an impressive follow-uo to continue R.E. McDermott’s Disruption series and I shall definitely be looking forwards to the concluding book. The premise here is not some fantastic supernatural event causing disaster but something relatively credible coupled with the inherent fragility of modern civilisation where infrastructure is designed primarily for profit motives rather than sensible levels of resilience. The scope is wide too as the book covers multiple groups of characters as they explore McDermott’s stark, powerless US landscape. The size of the cast and the depth many of the characters are given is impressive and brought to mind the epic scale of books like The Stand by Stephen King.
One thing that does stand out is that this is an author who has thought much more about the logistics and realities of an apocalyptic future than most. Lots of practical problems and logical solutions, some of which work and others that aren’t as successful. He doesn’t make it easy for his characters, they can’t just go adventuring! Rather they must work out the practicalities first which he represents with authenticity and detailed knowledge. Perhaps on occasion this is a little overdone, one or two too many conversations about fuel and distances but given this is a self-publishing author a little over-exhuberance here not tempered by editing is more than forgivable. This logical side does add a different angle to the books which can be quite fascinating and I suspect one or two other authors may be squirming a little over McDermott’s precision compared to the liberties they permit their characters!
Don’t let that observation fool you into thinking this is some dull plod across rough terrain though. This book is full of action including individual combat and a couple of quite titanic battles. The mayhem is impressive and the author pulls no punches in terms of the depths to which people can sink including the use of human shields and all manner of weapons and violence. There is some fairly impressive innovation in the combat too, just how deadly can a coke can be?
In summary this is a near-epic scale adventure with lots of action and a love of problem solving characters. It is set in a country whose terrain the author clearly has a deep knowledge and affection for. He tells us to expect the final instalment some time next year, something to look forwards to!
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This, the second book in R.E.McDermott's excellent Disruption series, is even better than the first. Set in America following a solar f!aring which has destroyed most of the world's electrical systems and with them, much of the basis of our means to preserve our elaborate civilization, it is the story of people trying to survive. This is a post apocalyptic tale terrifying in it's reality. No zombies, and without the usual vicious cannibalistic roaming gangs, it presents ordinary people trying to save lives and restore some semblance of normality and hope where so much has been taken away. And also those who see the potential to gain from other's losses.
There are a lot of people in this book. Many, but not all, were introduced in volume one, and all are three dimensional characters, living, breathing actors we come to care about.. They plan both to build safe havens and protect the many homeless, desperate others - or to grab wealth or power for themselves. And the two disparate types of groups cannot coexist.
There is action aplenty, much of it in very realistic ambush and murder, small group fighting or gigantic violent confrontation of small army size. But there is also action of the more peaceful type with later found survivors recruited to help and assist, problems overcome and survival information tried and tested. It could become tedious but, instead, it is riveting drama. As the author mentions in a short note at the end, he writes and rewrites until the 'polished scenes' emerge. And it shows.
The whole is enhanced by the narrator's reading of this encompassing book - and reading it is, not a dramatisation. In a clear, steady voice, Kevin Pierce recounts the story with a perfect pace, allowing the individuals to speak out on whichever side they fall as well as furthering the ongoing action.
The characters are real, in a plausible, even likely, scenario. I feel that I know them. I have feared for them. I learnt a lot from them. I will miss them - until the.next book.
Having really enjoyed book 1 of this, I was so looking forward to listening to this one. Well the author didn't disappoint!! This one was much better than the first and even though it was over 13 hrs long, I devoured it in a day.
This starts straight after the ending of book 1 so the story flows really well and we are immediately drawn into the story. I absolutely loved seeing the characters again and seeing them grow and develop. Their lives don't get any easier and their struggle to survive, not only the lack of essentials, but also the gangs, gets so much harder. Plus they end up meeting others and some of their groups grow. The overall plot is complex and engaging. The author has put layers in place and is slowly starting to unravel them and we are finally seeing glimpses of where it's going.
This was so much better than the first and had much more action, plot development and intrigue and I can not wait to see where the characters and plot leads us! It's a series that I have no problem in recommending and one that I know I will re-read.
Kevin Pierce seems to be the go to narrator for books of this type and it's easy to see why. He is easy to listen to and knows how to tell a great story. He is always clear and concise and has a range of tones and cadences that bring the story to life.
*I received a free copy of this but voluntarily reviewed it. This in no way affected nor influenced my thoughts.*
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
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I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series "Under a Tell-Tale Sky" and was very excited with the release of book two.
"Push Back" picked right up where book one left off and it wasn't long before I found myself immersed in a smooth continuation of the story. All of the elements I enjoyed with the first book were present and accounted for: an original story in a genre filled with stereotypes, a satisfying balance of big picture vs individual and group perspective, writing that pulled me back and forth between gripping action and emotion...all topped off with another 5-star Kevin Pierce narration. I was late for work more than once as I sat in the parking lot waiting for the end of a scene or chapter!
Some of the same issues I had with book one still exist but they are minor enough to merely make the story a 4 star rather than a 5 star. Representation of inner city gang culture, the way they speak, and the constant referral to them as "gang-bangers" by absolutely every non-gang character in the book got annoying. I've never referred to gang members as "gang-bangers" myself but apparently every other person in the country does. There were a couple, minor editing issues, something I can't help but pay attention to. Again, minor is the key word here and let's be honest, as far as finding flaws, this is definitely digging.
Much of the confusion I felt moving around in book one started resolving as the story progressed. There are some open ends I see getting neatly tied together in book three and I predict a very satisfying conclusion to the series. In McDermott's notes after the epilogue he will have you believe that he has very little knack for outlining the story and knowing where he's heading; this is not at all evident in the story so far.
I did receive this book from the author in return for an honest, unbiased review. I don't ever play favorites though, free book or not, as I don't appreciate reading dishonest reviews myself. This is not a problem with "Push Back", it was a pleasure to listen to and I'm grateful to the author for the gift. I look forward to the completion of Book 3 although it might be a while since McDermott will only go as far as predicting "sometime in 2017". It's going to be a long wait!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful