I liked, but didn’t love this book.
In general, the fact that most dystopian books seems to feature teens as the main protagonists is annoying. I’m a 42-year old woman and frankly, I want to read about my age group. Or at least something closer to it.
Adam, our main character, is 16. Though he acts like no 16-year old I’ve ever encountered. He thinks and acts like a grown man and I had trouble reconciling his supposed age with his behavior. The other main character in this book is the 70-something Herb. A “former government worker” who pretty much pulls all of their asses out of the fire repeatedly.
What attracts me to dystopian fiction is the way characters develop and interact during the types of high level disasters portrayed in the the end of the world as we know it circumstances. Character dynamics are important to me and I was glad to see changes and development in Adam and, to a lesser degree, Herb throughout the book.
Adam’s mother was the police chief but she was portrayed as a figurehead, most of the planning and playbook was developed by Herb. It was disappointing not to see her have a more active role outside of being a uniformed mouthpiece.
There was a slight bit of romance between Adam and classmate Lori that was okay though I could have done without.
The entire concept of creating this secure community of over 1600 people seemed far-fetched to me. Herb’s original plan of taking a few hundred people to a farm on the outskirts of town made more sense. I believe that there was not enough attention paid to the conflict and strife there would have been in trying to organize 1600 people, keep them on the same page and prevent infighting. In fact, there was very little focus on the actual hardships caused by the global blackout. The chaos hardly ever reached the community or the individuals that were featured in the book. While I’m all for outside sources providing most of the conflict it was unrealistic that nearly all the conflict in this scenario was from without and not from within.
It ended on a major cliffhanger which annoyed me and while there are more books in the series I won’t be moving forward. Like I said, I liked it but I didn’t love it.
I’ll continue on my quest for a dystopian tale that hits all my hot buttons.
Or I’ll write it myself.