What was terrifying about this book, and had me actually scared, wasn't the virus, but the people and their subsequent actions when society crumbled and survival of the fittest incurred. And, how all of that encroached on the protagonist's neighborhood. There are those that plan ahead, and those that wish to take from those who have. Konkoly created some terrifying interlopers in to this former bedroom community that had me pulling my covers up to my chin. Looking forward to his next book. Also, the narration was excellent.
Yes. It was the reactions of the neighbors to each other, and the disintegration of society and civil behavior.
I love me some audiobooks
From the reviews I read I thought this was going to be an intelligent EOTW survival novel centered on family facing the real threat of a pandemic. In my opinion it only made my blood pressure go up without offering much else.
The good: This book tackles the subject of a pandemic with a fair degree of accuracy. It portrays a virus that originates overseas and quickly spreads to all nations, including the USA. The book centers around one family that apparently expected such a scenario and stocked up appropriately. As the pandemic worsens so does the behavior of the neighbors that surround this family. The tensions between families and neighbors is realistic.
The bad: The main character, Alex, is described as a former marine who saw combat, but approaches situations in this book like a naive idiot at times. The author tells the reader/listener about the chaos and societal breakdown going on all around the main characters, yet they seem to sleep soundly and play games like they're living through a trivial snow storm and the roads are just temporarily closed. They seem to have every provision necessary to cope with this chaos and don't need to rely on anyone but themselves. The publisher must have forced the author to cut back on the "conservatives are idiots, and liberal progressives are smarter" banter, knowing that this would alienate most of the readers/listeners to this type of novel. However, this northeastern mentality still creeps out and is scattered throughout the story. Did it matter to the story that family hates Fox news, is PC in their conversation, does not mention faith and is disgusted at the thought of eating red meat? I'm no neo-con but It made me relate that much less to the main characters. I felt an undertone that the author is somewhat satisfied writing about the world's mass population dying off and leaving the "intellectuals" remaining.
This isn't a terrible book but I wouldn't listen to it again. I wasn't left thinking that I got anything substantially useful from having spent the time listening to it.
The author takes what could otherwise have been a great plot and destroys it with awkwardly applied liberal talking points. It's like the author tried to hide his views, but couldn't help himself when it came to certain topics. Some highlights of liberal idiocy include:
The protagonist is ex-military, so of course he has PTSD and his wife is worried he may go crazy on them.
The only other guy in the neighborhood who is reasonably prepared for a long term food shortage and has firearms is a "rabid Republican" and owns "entirely too many guns". (Which is odd, considering the protagonist has plenty).
The protagonist, who is a combat-veteran Marine, is afraid to carry a loaded shotgun, preferring to "load it if he must". Uh-huh---sure--cause there is always plenty of time to stop and load a pump action shotgun in face-to-face altercations.
The protagonist (did I mention he is supposedly a combat-veteran?) calls his AR-15 an "assault rifle".
Fox News is trashed as unreliable, but NBC has cutting edge information that undermines the official federal position on the pandemic.
The protagonist refuses to share his own food and supplies (reasonable under the circumstances) and is generally against any 'share the wealth' programs early on, but has no problem sanctioning squatters' liberation of his neighbor's homes. (Don't take my stuff, take theirs!)
The end result is a very frustratingly unbelievable story. I don't mind listening to a survival story written by liberal or anti-gun author, heck, Stephen King writes quite a few good ones. But this author does a poor job of separating his thoughts from the thoughts of his characters.
Second complaint is the useless minutia of description. We have to suffer through the exact color and type of clothes the character dons, along with the clothes he failed to choose, multiple times for no apparent reason. Also, a long dissertation on how the neighborhood has a high rate of anorexia early on in the book is a precursor to us discovering... nothing. Its like the author had a minimum word count he had to fulfill and decided to do it by adding trivial nonsense.
Lastly, the narrator was mind-numbing. I've listened to 4th graders with better reading skills. It sounds like he is reading the phone book. It is terribly annoying when you cannot tell whether a narrator is reading dialogue. This guy's voice remains completely unchanged from dialogue to non-dialogue, making it hard to figure out when the character stopped talking.
I could not put this story down. It was well-written, with many insights and details, and the narration was very strong, especially the narrator's lowered voice rendering of the protagonist's private thoughts.
The protagonist in this story, Alex, takes his family through the harrowing experience of surviving a pandemic. Alex is more level-headed, observant and wise than everyone else except his loving CPA wife, and certainly more than the neighborhood neanderthals, those who came after the pandemic and those who were already there. The problem is that Alex is ahead of everyone else simply because in his role as a sales agent for a money-hungry pharmaceutical, he is more attuned to the need to prepare for the pandemic. His family is provisioned for over a year with food and supplies and guns locked up in the basement. In that sense, we get to see Alex as he is without facing the survival struggles of the hooligans around him. But the hooligans are reduced in their humanity simply because - they don't have what Alex has. It is a cheap contrast. We sympathize with Alex and can't stand the hooligans, but the truth is that the hooligans could be just as sympathetic as Alex if their families were protected from the pandemic and had plenty to eat, and Alex could be just as contemptible if he was not. It's not so much that the writer wants us to want the good guys to win, but that we want the "people who had more advance warning and chance to prepare" to win. But it is easy to confuse the two in this book.
The book was filled with political statements. Alex goes around in his camouflage outfits and peppers his thoughts with his war recollections, has an impressive knowledge of guns, and an impressive collection of guns. But it turns out that all but one are unregistered. He also, even preceding the pandemic, has built an impressive survivalist complex in his basement, replete with different drug samples he has squirreled away illegally in order to keep his family as healthy as possible. Against this backdrop, the story reminds us that Alex can drop tired canards on conservatives, republicans, and Fox news with the best of the polarized left.
The above are not necessarily complaints, just "mild crititiques".
This was not the formulaic survival story some reviewers claim. It is a great read/listen, a truly engrossing story.
If you always have a book with you...
A realistic approach to what might happen in a pandemic event. Although not a gripping story, it kept you captivated because of how believable the situations were.
Constant jabs at Fox News. For instance, in a phone conversation the protagonist questions his brother's getting his information from Fox News. This is ridiculous because the brother in question was unquestioning in his acceptance of government assurances the the pandemic is not as bad as some people were saying. Furthermore, the NPR watching leftist protagonist is the prepper? Seems to me that the author has reversed the roles here. Yes we get it, the author has a political point of view, but give it a rest at some point.
I know this is nitpicking but it is the details that paint a picture.
Beyond this, the story could have been better fleshed out with more realistic (less stiff) dialogue and better imagery (similes and metaphors). It does not help that the narrator barely has a pulse.
The plot premise was OK and even timely (pandemic, etc. but the story development was too slow and plodded along with endless detail and scene description that was not remotely germane to the plot.
The book would work with a rewrite because the story premise was sound. This book was on "bargain" and I've learned that there is a reason books are placed on "bargain." I'll be cautious buying there again.
The narrator was solid - he was not the problem with this audio
I was disappointed in this purchase; the description was appealing.
The author needs to work on moving the story along and avoid getting bogged down in mundane conversations and scene descriptions in the name of attaching realism to the story. It gets boring.
The author is horribly unrealistic in his end of the world views. Guns are ok ad long as they have trigger locks on them and are locked up in the basement in a vault so you have them when you need them, lol. When people break into your house you should talk to them and beg them to stop then spend half an hour getting to your locked up shotgun but then make sure its unloaded and don't point it at them and politely ask them to leave, are you serious? This author tries to be as politically correct as possible and obviously voted for obama, don't waste your time and money on this book, go with authors like A American, mark goodwin or james wesly rawls and you will be much more satisfied than you will with this wishful thinking author!
Anything thats not written by this author.
The narrator was ok but not versatile with other character voices.
The democrat survival guide, just trust the government everything will be ok.....
I am an avid fan of audio books!
Characters with some human emotion. After listening to this book I downloaded, "The Stand", by Stephen King. I know that these are two very different books, but the similarities are that both books are about a flu that sweeps the nation and kills many people. As I was listening to The Stand, I was thinking about what an artist King is. His character development is second to none. The Jakarta Pandemic is very bad. Sorry Mr. Konkoly. If King gets a 5 and then it is only fair that you get a 1. No comparison.
Where is the character development and true emotion? By the way this is my first review that I have ever written and I have purchased many books. After comparing his book to others, I had to write one.
I would not have cut any scenes. I would have made the characters REAL!
The story was extremely plausible (which I can't always say with this genre). The people were your next door neighbors (or yourself). It just shows how quickly the craziness can start (and how stupid/risky people can be) when there's a one-two punch of pandemic and food shortages.
The night they had the shootout with the crazed "neighbors" (people who had broken in and taken over a home). Loved the slow, tense build up.
Also, if you liked the movie/TV show "The Office," you'll love it when this guy's obnoxious boss gets his just desserts.
I liked his narration so much, I want to hear more from him. Just smooth and wonderful.
Pandemic Survival Tips!
Where can I buy some Tamiflu???