Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Book Review: The World Burns by Boyd Craven III (World Burns #1)


Tension grips the country as the nuclear talks with Iran starts to go poorly. This is largely ignored by the populace and the threat of war goes unheeded.

Blake has lived his life through hard work and his blog- Back Country J. He's an off grid homesteader, blogger and author. He has the life that preppers dream of, and he never knows it. As an on again off again handyman he learns how to fix everything in his life except loneliness, until he meets Sandra. Sandra is a Army veteran who has caught his attention, and also the preacher's daughter. Sparks fly the first time they meet and the shy hermit asks her out on a date.

Follow the couple as they try to survive raiders, hunger, and human nature when the balloon goes up after an EMP is set off.


My Review: 
I read this series in February 2016 and have really enjoyed it so far, but I'm just getting round to getting them reviewed. I have quite a backlog of reviews to deal with!

Blake lives the life of a hermit and prepper on his ranch outside town, avoiding people other than Duncan the local preacher who he does odd jobs for. He is self sufficient and has his own popular prepper blog. Things look up for him with a mutual attraction to Duncan's daughter Sandra, but on their first date, the EMP hits. As the town falls apart, Blake and Sandra have to secure the ranch and prepare to defend it while hoping that Duncan can find his way to them from a town that is a distance from them.

Since I stumbled across prepper fiction, I have been a happy chuckles! What I love in these books is the human story of trying to survive against the odds. You get the characters-sometimes military, sometimes civilian getting ready for a disaster and then trying to survive through the breakdown of society, attacks by bad guys and dealing with day to day shortages and problems. I love the drama of it and these books are generally fast paced. This book was no exception.

Blake is a guy who just wants to live in peace, relying on feeding himself from the land, producing his own resources and having limited contact with people or government interference. He is happy with his life and shares his self sufficiency tips online for others to learn. His only real friend is Pastor Duncan, who is also a prepper, and Blake uses his handyman skills to help with church repairs. Blake is a nice guy-ordinary, self taught skills, resourceful but able to look after himself. I like his friendship with Duncan. Duncan is a bit more kickass than you would generally expect in a preacher. His prepping skills in theory might go against his religious morality but Duncan is not prepared to stand by and let bad things happen to good people on his watch.

The romance in the story comes in the form of Sandra. She is a follower of Blake's website and is delighted to find out who he is on their date. She fixed military vehicles for a living and is capable and strong, which I like to see from the female MC. She is a good pairing for Blake and you do want them to be happy. The romance between them is not the focus for the story-it is more of a background theme, but it does feel right and belongs there. I'm not a romance fan as followers know, but I liked the pairing and the development of their relationship set against an apocalypse.

When the EMP hits, things fall apart quickly as people begin to panic and criminals start to take advantage of the lawless situation. Planes are falling from the sky, cars are coming to a halt, the power grid is down and those in prison are freed to cause carnage and threaten the surviving citizens in the town. Blake and Sandra might want to lie low and avoid trouble but it won't be long before the thugs move out of town and onto nearby property, threatening their new life. Do you risk your safety to help other people against the criminals? How far should you go to defend yourself? Is it wrong to kill people in the aftermath of a disaster if they want to take what is yours? These are all questions that Blake is going to have to answer.

This is the first in a series of novellas about the aftermath of the EMP disaster and it does not take long to get into the story. There is plenty of action to keep the reader interested, and the character development is central to my enjoyment of the series. You do care about the main characters and what might be in store for them, which I find vital in books. The plot is good and the story flows nicely, with a mixture of tension, action and emotion. It also has an educational quality as we see the projects that Blake is undertaking at the ranch.

I certainly recommend this to fans of apocalypse and prepper fiction.


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