Friday, 20 May 2016

Book Review: Survival Train by Steve Flowers

A small group of people in Texas leaves for a camping trip, only to find them caught up in the start of World War 3. Knowing their only hope of survival was to reach a safe haven in the mountains of North Carolina. Two members of the party work for the railroad and the decision is made to take a train and head east. Along the journey, the group encounters fellow survivors and rouge bands of marauders.

The story is that of average people thrust into ultimate battle of survival not only of good verses evil but also of the elements of nature. To survive the group combines talent from people from all ages, backgrounds and walks of life. 

My Review: 
A group of people about to leave on a camping trip execute their emergency plan when a military relative alerts them to an attack. They take refuge at a nearby empty school along with a police officer who tries to stop them, just in time for the nuclear blast hitting. Now it is a waiting game until it is safe to go back outside and see the damage.

I very much liked the idea of the story-a group of people prepared for disaster who jump into their plan and have a clear idea about what they want to do. But there were so many characters that it was hard to remember who was part of which couple, and more are added soon after. We start with our twelve preppers and the police officer that they save. Thirteen people in a bunker together doesn't really allow for any of them to shine or develop their own character. Basically, they are all the same, speaking with the same voice, sounding pretty much identical, so I didn't really connect with them much. To make this worse, the two weeks in the bunker are covered in only a few pages so there is no sense of time passing, or any kind of tension in their situation. It didn't really work for me.

The other huge problem is the way the book is written. The characters don't speak the way people do. They all say 'I will do this' instead of the more common 'I'll do this' so it makes the conversations very formal, when they are supposed to be close friends. It is impossible to tell which character is meant to be talking as there are no paragraphs or spacing, speech marks around descriptive text, no speech marks around the dialogue, dreadful spelling and grammar, no sentence structure and the wrong words in the wrong place. The end of one person talking and the next starting are BOTH in ONE sentence which is really tough to read.

I found myself ploughing through the text trying to work out what was text and what was dialogue, who was speaking and when they stopped speaking and what they were trying to say/what was being described. I found this to be one of the worst 'edited' books I've ever tried to read. It really was impossible to get into the story when understanding it was such hard work. I just couldn't get into it and didn't continue with it, which is a real shame as I liked the sound of the story. Lack of editing and attention destroyed this book for me.
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