Number of Pages: 368
Publication Date: January 22, 2017
Rating: out of 5
OBC Rating: 2 out of 4 stars
Story Perspective: Alternating Third-Person
*This was part of the OnlineBookClub.org Book of the Day Program and is part of the Blogger Review Program*
Lars decides to leave the city life and live in the countryside as the world begins to fall apart around him. As he gets himself settled, he has made friends nearby – sharing crops, materials, and meat with each other. Eventually, Eileen joins Lars and they form a quick bond.
The world continues to crumble, and now the group has to worry about intruders, especially the non-peaceful ones. Can they band together and keep their families and friends safe?
This book was extremely different from the Dystopian reads I am used to, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In this particular book, though, I don’t feel worked too well, at least for me. But, let’s start with the positives.
Most of the characters in this read are likable, reliable, and realistic. Of the three sets of couples (then eventually four) that make up the community where Lars and Eileen live, they all have a common goal – to survive. They willingly share and trade certain supplies in order to help each other in surviving. Whenever someone needs help building or repairing something, they are there for each other. Also, when holidays or special occasions come up, they try their best to make a feast while getting together to keep some sense of normalcy. Even an intruder doesn’t stop the bond they have for one another.
It is clear from the content of this book that the author does have experience in surviving without modern-day conveniences. With talk about a smokehouse, a garden, the use of salt, storing food, hunting, etc., it seems like the author has thought of everything one needs to consider when going off grid. This adds a lot to the story.
The two downsides, and there are pretty big, are the writing style and the plot. I’m afraid that the writing here is rather dull and repetitive. Many sentences start with a person’s name and therefore it seemed like I was just reading a list rather than experiencing what these people are experiencing. With this, emotions are lacking here as well. There is a pretty dramatic thing that happens at the end, along with people being murdered, but I didn’t really feel anything, which isn’t a very positive thing. I like to feel the emotions the characters are going through, not just read words.
Alongside the writing style, the plot lacked in action. First and foremost, as the reader, we don’t learn what causes the world to crumble, which was a bit annoying. On top of this, even when murder happened, it was stated so mundanely that I questioned the point of including the murders. Then, when the men went to steal from an abandoned Walmart, I thought for sure something was going to happen…nope. Everything turned out just fine. I kept expecting something to happen, but not much does except toward the end, but even that lacked excitement or feeling. Part of the problem I feel is how even the most ordinary task is mentioned several times and that brings my enjoyment down – making/drinking tea, cooking dinner, going to the bathroom, showering, making the guest room, etc. I mean it’s fine mentioning these things, but when it’s mentioned so often, I start to think ‘okay, let’s move on to something else.’
Lastly, as a personal preference, I was not a fan of the intimate relationships in this book. Yes, Eileen and Lars are cute, but when Lars’ son loses his wife, then in a few days jumps to another woman, that left me a bit upset. He literally just lost his wife, maybe a few days ago, and now he is attracted and wants to live with another woman he just met? Also, I could have done without so much sexual details and with the really messed up and twisted ending (I won’t spoil it, but I wasn’t a fan).
Overall, I’m sure there are those who would enjoy reading about the amount of planning that happens when you live off the land. However, it lacks in excitement and the writing style could use more emotion.