Review: Penitence by Mark Campbell

43083591._SY475_Penitence by Mark Campbell

Published July 10, 2018 by Darkest Hour Publishing

Buy this book at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

Synopsis: 

A deadly influenza pandemic.

An escaped convict.

A single mother desperate to protect her only child.

As the insidious virus cripples society, providence brings two survivors together in an unlikely partnership to survive in a world fraught with chaos.

In a small poultry farm located in Delaney, Georgia an antigenic shift causes the H7N9 bird flu virus to jump species. The contagion burns through everything in its path despite the federal government’s ham-handed efforts to mask the mutated virus’ true nature. Its unprecedented mortality rate paralyzes the nation and paves the way for FEMA’s martial law to be established across the country.

At a maximum security federal penitentiary south of Tucson, Arizona, Inmate Teddy Sanders’ world of structure and routine crumbles to dust, as the virus starts spreading within the confines of the prison. As the virus callously strikes down guards and inmates alike, the administration loses control and Teddy finds himself fighting enemies both old and new. Circumstances force him to form precarious new alliances in order to escape what has effectively become a concrete tomb.

Meanwhile, fifty miles away from the penitentiary, a young woman named Jane risks it all to keep her young son Danny safe in a residential tower in the heart of downtown Tucson. Surrounded by armed looters and desperate survivors, Jane ventures out on her own to forage for supplies. Not only does she have to contend with those left behind, but she also faces an increasingly hostile military presence.

As their paths cross and inalterable choices are made, will the unwitting pair find salvation?

Rating: 4 star

Review:

***I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. Thank you NetGalley and Darkest Hour Publishing!***

I am a sucker for an apocalypse novel, especially if there are killer viruses afoot. One of my favorite mobile games is about trying to develop a disease that wipes out the population of the planet, so this is something I have a dark fascination about. I am always willing to pick up a novel with that theme. Often times they disappoint, this did not.

We start the book with Teddy. He is our main character and I expected him to be more of an anti-hero. You don’t want to be rooting for him because he was in federal prison for doing bad things to people, but the world is ending and he’s one of few who survived so go Teddy! He was a bit of what I expected, but also came across as a really big boy scout. I mean, come on, we all know the things you did. We all know because you told us fairly quickly and bluntly. So can we please stop acting like he’s a good ole boy who just got caught in an unfortunate circumstance? I really didn’t like that about him. You don’t end up with a life sentence in federal prison because you had a bad day. But, regardless, the plot was enough to move me along despite my irritations with Teddy. In the end I just had to disregard what I thought his character should be and accept what he was and then we got along just fine.

Jane and Danny were fantastic. Jane is a woman after my own heart and I would like to think that in similar circumstances I could show the same resilience. I enjoyed them both immensely and I sincerely wanted to see the three of them ride off into the sunset together. They made me laugh, they made me cry, and I love it when that happens.

The plot was not quite what I expected but I liked how it worked out, which is always a nice surprise. I didn’t expect so much of the story to take place in the prison. But despite not expecting it, I loved it. A completely contained environment that gets infiltrated by a virus that kills nearly everyone it infects. How do you keep order and at the same time try to keep people healthy too? You’re still dealing with bad people who are violent and unpredictable in nature, add in the threat of death and things can spiral out of control very quickly. And spiral out of control they did. It was deliciously devilish.

I liked how the book ended. I understand that the book is expected to be a series, so it makes sense in that aspect. But if I never read the second book I would also be satisfied with how it ended. Teddy is still looking for redemption, trying to be the man that he might have become if not for the prison stint, and being put into a situation that is at once completely alien but oddly familiar. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Review: The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

the here and now The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Published April 8th, 2014 by Delacorte Press

Buy this book at: B&N / Amazon / Book Depository / Books a Million

 

Synopsis:

An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.

From Ann Brashares, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now is thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking—and a must-read novel of the year.

 

Rating: 2 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Delacorte!

 

This book was a bit boring and not exactly that I expected. Overall, I enjoyed parts of it but a large portion of it made me scratch my head with the WTF. Warning, from here on there will be spoilers.

Characters: I did not like Prenna. She was so boring! She did not do anything really. She acknowledged over and over again “I really shouldn’t do this” only to do it a paragraph later. She was incapable of doing anything for herself and had to be bailed out by people through the entire book. Ethan was okay but he was really just a plot device to save Prenna from her TSTL. The other characters really made no impression on me because they were so pointless.

Plot: This thing had plot holes the size of the Grand Canyon. The premise of it was not bad. Horrible things happen to the world in the future and a plague wipes out most of the world and the survivors go back in time to prevent the bad things from happening….except what they are really doing is just hiding out and doing not much of anything. Boring. Prenna and Ethan also spend most of the book doing nothing. They are on a mission to save the future but then they sit around on the beach and play cards for the majority of the book. Also boring. Now for the plot holes:

– Prenna says that in the future they have no technology to speak of. They don’t use computers, they use paper and pencils. But then…how exactly did they figure out time travel?

– Prenna says that there is no new manufacturing so things like clothes are scavenged from the current time period. Except she says that the downfall of society didn’t happen until twenty years or so before they traveled back in time, which was like 90 years before the current time. So what happened in that 50 years exactly? Were there no new clothes for 90 years even though sciety only fell apart for the last 20 of it?

– This plague is described as dengue fever. The mortality rate for dengue fever is actually pretty low, by catching it early enough and getting proper treatment then you will most likely pull through just fine. It still isn’t pleasant but it is uncommon for it to be deadly. Now, Prenna explains this as the virus mutating into something more deadly. Okay, fine, but isn’t 100 years a bit to quick for that drastic of a mutation. I almost feel like the author spent most of their research time reading stuff like this: http://greenbugallnatural.com/wordpress/infected-mosquitoes-become-more-effective-carriers-of-disease/ Which has a definite “OMG MOSQUITOES ARE COMING!” feel to it.

– Prenna goes on loooooooong rants about how this was all caused by global warming. And I do mean long and boring rants. But then when they actually figure out the answer, it had nothing to do with global warming at all, it was someone from a third alternate future that carried a virus back with him and infected humans…who then infected the mosquitoes, who in turn started the plague. So what the hell did all that global warming garbage have to do with anything at all? Answer, I have no fucking clue and I don’t think the author does either.

This story was not well thought out. For an author as acclaimed as this one, I expected a lot better.