Tag Archives: survival

Earth’s Descent by Rachel Meehan

Standard

earthsdescentcoverEarth’s Descent by Rachel Meehan, e-book, 217 pages, published in 2015 by Cherry House Publishing.

Nairne receives an unexpected letter that leads her to travel from Scotland all the way down to London. Ronnie accompanies her on the dangerous journey, the two of them leaving the safety of the community to face the unknown. They encounter mass death and disease, armed gangs and power hungry lunatics while they cross the vastly changed lands. Whole parts of the country are now under water, while the air swelters hotter than any summer before.

Earth’s Descent is the final installment of the Troubled Times series, which has highlighted the potential fall-out of climate change. Through increasingly erratic and extreme weather conditions, sections of land are now submerged, and whole towns destroyed. Masses of people have been displaced from their homes, have faced disease, starvation and thirst. And that’s aside from the threat of people who are making the most of the situation to exploit and control the weaker, the unarmed, the desperate. Meehan has created an highly viable and terrifying world where society no longer exists, where survival is uncertain because we, as inhabitants of Earth, failed to protect our environment and ignored climate change until it was too late to reverse the tide. I really hope we are not going to end up in Nairne’s world.

I actually put off reading Earth’s Descent for quite a while because I knew it would be the last of Nairne’s story, and I didn’t want it to end. Curiosity won out however, and I quickly dipped back into the devastated Scotland that is Nairne’s reality. I read the whole book over two, quick reading sessions, and I was sad to reach the end. It left me with a lot to think about afterwards too, mostly about what would happen to my family and friends if the climate deteriorated like that, and what will happen to Nairne, Ronnie, Paul and their community. What sort of future will they have? Would human society rebuild itself? Would the Earth recover? This series is extremely relevant to our current situation regarding climate change, and it affected me deeply. It will be a story that stays with me for a long time to come (and yes, it tempted me to stock up on long-life food and water!)

The plot is fast and full of action. This is the darkest of the three books, and reflects the desperation of the people that Nairne and Ronnie meet on their travels. There is violence and murder, intimidation and abuse. These are dark times for humanity and this comes through strongly in the story.

Nairne has been a wonderful character across all three books, and I liked her right from the start. She is strong, independent, smart and sassy. Ronnie grew on me, so that I liked him almost as much as Nairne. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of Paul, and how he was progressing from his injury, but I did enjoy meeting some of the new characters that were introduced in Earth’s Descent.

Troubled Times is a touching, exciting series suitable for high school students and adults. It reads like a cautionary tale, if only we would learn from it. If you haven’t already done so, you should read the previous two books, Water’s Edge and Power’s Out first.

 

*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

 

Advertisements

Immurement by Norma Hinkens

Standard

immurementcoverImmurement by Norma Hinkens, e-book, 247 pages, published by Dunecadia Publishing in 2015.

When the core of the Earth overheats and causes major volcanic activity, much of the world’s population is lost. The remaining survivors take shelter in underground bunkers in the less populous areas, and become known as Undergrounders. They are not the only survivor groups though, there are also roving bands of subversives that are happy to raid and kill for fun, known as Rogues. And from the sky, come the Sweepers, who snatch up people from the ground in their hoverships.  Derry Connolly, along with her Da and her brother, Owen, are Undergrounders living in the Sawtooth Mountains, just trying to survive. Then a nearby camp is attacked, and Owen is taken. Derry finds herself on the trail with her bunker mates, Big Ed and Mason. Despite her young age, Derry must rise to the task of rescuing her brother, facing Rogues and Sweepers, doing anything necessary to stay alive.

Immurement is the first book in The Undergrounders Series, a YA dystopian/sci-fi saga. It is a fast action packed ride of survival suitable for middle to upper high school students. This story is about survival, but there are also science fiction and futuristic themes, including cloning and artificial intelligence. There is also a lot of violence, weapon use and death. It all felt appropriate for this story though.

The flow of the story was pretty fast, with lots of action. It was well written and descriptive, though I am still a little murky on exactly what happened to cause the devastation of the core overheating. I also didn’t quite follow how the world went from individually run countries to a sovereign leader, or why. I could have done with a little more background to the situation at hand, but I ploughed on and still enjoyed the story. The ending wrapped up the story nicely, while setting the stage for the sequel.

Most of the characters were quite complex. As the story progresses, we get to know the characters and their backgrounds, and watch them develop. In particular Derry grows quite a lot during the story, from a dreamy kid into a leader, a transformation that is not without its bumps. She had some tough decisions to make, but she did her best. I liked her. I also liked most of the other characters. Mason was a very interesting character; he seemed so cold and tough at the start, but a gentler side appeared later on. And Big Ed was a tough old cookie, though discovering his past surprised and saddened me. Blade and Rummy were suitably despicable as Rogues, cut-throat, violent and very very scary! The leader of the Sweepers was a hideous person inside and out. Him and his work gave me shivers! He reminds us why the responsibility of scientific development should not be given carte blanche to a single person. The bodyguard clones were blood-chilling too, but I also felt bad for them as they were made to be like that, with no life of their own.

Overall, this was a complex read with lots happening. At times it was sad, but it was always exciting and engaging. Immurement is set to be released on the 16th December 2015, with the second installment scheduled for January 2016. I hope the next book is as exciting as the first!

 

*I received this book as a digital advanced reader copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

Power’s Out by Rachel Meehan

Standard

Water's EdgePower’s Out by Rachel Meehan, e-book, 223 pages, published by Cherry House Publishing in 2013.

Two years on from when Paul and Nairne leave the Grear farm behind in Water’s Edge, sees them traveling the countryside with Dog, staying away from the towns and trying to survive. Civilisation is crumbling, bandits control the roadways and the city streets, and there is a dwindling number of people to trust. When they stumble across a self-sufficient community residing in an abandoned convent, they are taken in and given shelter in exchange for Nairne’s assistance with their wind turbines. The community consists of about thirty people working together to survive, including some young people similar in age to Paul and Nairne. This could become home for the pair, ending their wanderings. Nothing is that simple though. Danger is present as they set out to help the community acquire much needed parts and supplies, which means venturing far beyond the safety of the convent’s walls. Their past is also creeping closer, but will it catch them at last?

The second book of the Troubled Times series, Power’s Out, was fast-paced and exciting. With lots of action, it is an exhilarating ride of survival. There was much more explicit violence in this story than its predecessor, which helps to illustrate how civilisation has fallen back to more instinctual behaviours as the world around it falls apart. When the constraints of society fall away and there are no longer any policing bodies to enforce laws, there is violence for gain, and violence for enjoyment. This is a terrifying insight into base human nature, but one which I think is rather accurate. There are plenty of unscrupulous people taking advantage of others in stable communities, but when there is no one to enforce the law, or those enforcers are corrupt, there arises the opportunity for these behaviours to increase. And that’s what we see in Power’s Out. The scenes of violence are vivid and scary, but the people behind the violence are even scarier!

It is easy to step into the Scottish landscape portrayed in this book, and follow along with Nairne and Paul, experiencing what they experience. All of the characters are richly described and developed, allowing the reader to get to know them. With the introduction of more characters from the community, different aspects of Nairne’s and Paul’s characters become evident. Paul and Nairne have become extremely close during their traveling and it is hard to let others in, though they are each tempted by a young member of the community. There are a lot more characters to get to know too. Suddenly Nairne and Paul don’t just have each other to rely on and interact with, they have to cope with others, most of whom do not realise how dire their situation really is. I liked Ronnie a lot. He’s a bit of a clown, but he is also loyal and caring. Iain, I didn’t like as much, he was a prig, but I think most of that came from being jealous of Paul and Isobel. She seemed a bit oblivious to how Iain felt about her, but perhaps she just didn’t want to acknowledge his feelings. She certainly took to Paul, and was likable as a character. I particularly liked Isobel’s father, Jack. He was sensible, kind, intelligent, and fair. He was also very accepting of Paul and Nairne, and was ready to learn from them and to be assisted by them, an attitude that not everyone in the community shared. The older members of the community, including their leader, Arthur, for the most part, were a bit naive, believing that things could continue as they were indefinitely, that they would be left untouched by the outside world.

The end of Power’s Out was very intense. I felt quite anxious as I read the last few chapters, wondering if Nairne and Paul would make it through, if the community would survive, and how things would play out. It left me feeling rather desperate to read the final installment of this wonderful trilogy!

Power’s Out is suitable for high school students through to adults. It contains violence and some bad language. The themes of societal breakdown and environmental disaster could be frightening for less mature readers.

 

*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.