Top positive review
But is Jerry Jones okay?
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 24, 2018
In a perfect world, should society's critical infrastructure break down, our government will step in and do its part. Bobby Akart posits a more disturbing scenario. The Blackout series is only the latest to present his dour perspective. But I'm not mad. His books make for compulsive reading.
The hook for me, in The Blackout series, is that our protagonists don't start out as preppers. The Ryman family start out like most of us, that is, either unconcerned or apathetic or oblivious. The Rymans aren't omniscient preppers, nor do they have a Special Ops background. This author has a knack for right away making his characters incredibly sympathetic. I appreciate that the parents just don't brush off their daughter's concerns in knee-jerk fashion. Let me backtrack.
TEOTWAWKI comes around not because of zombies or space aliens or an attack from an enemy nation. This time, it's mother nature what's got it in for us, in the shape of monster solar flares. I'm not a sciency person, and yet Akart explains the science behind the solar Armageddon well enough - and enough in layman's terms - that even I got it. To break it down, solar flares are rated as class B, C, N, or X, with the X-class being the most potent. In this story, the Earth is menaced by solar flares classified on an unprecedented X-58 scale.
36 hours is the countdown to how long it'll be before the doomsday flares strike. 15-year-old Alexis Ryman is the first in her suburban family to get clued in. Then, again, Alex isn't your typical gorgeous teen. She's got smarts, keeps a level head. She harbors a keen interest in science and in golf. And it probably wasn't a coincidence that her astronomy teacher strays off his prepared subject matter to talk about solar flares. Alex takes it all in.
And when she voices her concerns to her parents, like I said, it's nice that they don't dismiss her out of hand. Is 36 hours enough time to get ready for TEOTWAWKI? The sense of jeopardy is amped up because much of the book is about the mom and daughter left to themselves and having to learn a crash course on prepping while the dad is far away on business, a media talent executive hobnobbing with Dallas Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones. Even as Colton Ryman frantically hurries home, Madison and Alex Ryman go thru some harrowing sh--, even with their one advantage of having had some hours' head start over everyone else in their community of Belle Meade, Tennessee. Thankfully, the Ryman girls are quick studies. They shine in this first book. I even thought of making a list of the stuff they picked up, just in case...
Heck, I even thought it was inspired of Madison who, fretting over their lack of enough firearms, thought of painting an arsenal of realistic-looking water pistols black to pass as real weapons.
This series tests the characters' dependence on anything electronic. Duh. If society ever breaks down, we're in for a rude awakening. It's to be hoped that, when the fit hits the shan, the community will pull together like they did in that John Wayne western, Rio Bravo. Odds are, it'll go down more like High Noon, the western in which no citizen wanted to stick his neck out to help the sheriff. I do suspect civilization is held together only by the thinnest veneer, and we seem to be getting l ess polite every day. Thing is, Akart introduces controversial themes in his doomsday scenario. If the nation's power grid collapses, and you're not sure if it'll ever get fixed and the government is ineffective, how far would you go to help out your neighbor? Will you share your limited supply of sustenance with strangers, knowing it means there'd be less for your family? Would you put yourself in harm's way to help out a stranger, knowing that your getting incapacitated because of your noble actions may deprive your loved ones of their protector? I'm not sure what I'd do. Anyway, this is a sobering read, but also a fun What If? read. And it's only the start of another gripping series by Akart. 36 Hours keeps it toned down with offensive language and unnecessary violence, thus making it okay for young adults to crack it open. It doesn't always stay like so as the series progresses. For example, the third entry, Turning Point, has some brutal stuff go down for a character that's introduced in that book.
By the way, I wonder how Jerry Jones is doing in the post-apocalypse?