Friday, 26 August 2016

Book Review: Stone Age by ML Banner

Our Earth is fighting a daily battle, shielding us and our life-giving technology from the electromagnetic ravages of the sun. Every 100 years or so, we are hit by an epic solar storm which could devastate our world’s electrical-based society were it to strike today.

It happened last in 1859, when we had little technology… over 150 years ago. We are past due!

A vacationing family is separated;
A friend readies them for a catastrophe;
A young love blossoms;
A prophet's fame rises;
A prepper waits for the violence to come;

All are unprepared for the apocalypse about to strike the Earth, one so great and unprecedented, it will bring humanity into a new Stone Age.

My Review:
I've given this book three stars but I'm still not really sure if I actually liked it or not. I really liked bits of it but other parts of the book I really disliked.

Lets start with what I liked. I liked Max the prepper, who has his home on a Mexican beach, but is fully prepared for the disasters he believes are coming. His neighbours are Lisa and Bill, who are in their Mexican holiday home with daughter Sally on vacation and Max is ready to look after them when trouble hits. The other kids Darla and Danny are stuck in Chicago after missing their flight to join the others in Mexico. Another prepper called Wilbur lives on a rural ranch and he is about to get an unexpected visit from Steve and his dad. I liked these people and Darla's grandparents so I was certainly interested in what is going to happen to them during the disaster.

But the problem with this book is that there are other story threads running through it that I just don't like or don't get. Steve and his dad are trying to solve an online computer puzzle which gives us a whole chapter full of hacking, algorithms, prime numbers, open source programs, cryptology and digital steganography and so on that I didn't understand a word of, cared little for, and was bored to tears by> I nearly quit the book at that point. They are on somwe kind of quests which will lead them to some kind of secret society or something and this plotline bored me. I also don't get what is going on with Gord. It is not clear who he is, what he is doing or when his story is set in relation to the others we are following. That part was just plain weird.

What I really want to do is just follow the groups of people I like through the solar flare disaster story but it just gets over-complicated by too many other things going on. We get a full back story on Max and his drug cartel contacts but I can't keep track of who is in what drug gang and who hates who or who Max does favours for. The whole 'what is Cicada' side story is also confusing and it isn't helped by the jumping POV and timeline, leaving you unsure at times what is going on.

There are some good elements and good writing in this book but it feels like the author wasn't sure exactly what genre it was to be and kept adding other random stuff he found interesting. It makes the plot too cluttered and confusing. As much as I'd like to know what happens to Max and the others, I don't really want to read about the other things, so I won't be continuing with the series.

2.5 stars 

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