Friday, 10 March 2017

Book Review: Dust to Dust by Rashad Freeman

Fourteen different people. Six different families. Four different stories. One terrible event. This is Deconstruction. When there is no one to call, when there's nowhere to run for help, who do you turn to? When the very fabric of our society is torn apart, how would you survive?

This installment follows Randall and his family through their harrowing struggle for survival. After a series of unexplainable and disastrous acts of nature, they find themselves cut off from the rest of the world. With food and water dwindling and young children to care for, they are faced with a decision that could mean life or death. Do they venture into the unknown or wait for help that may never come?


My Review: 
*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Randall and his family are at home together when the wild weather begins and try to ride it out. But when the military and other gangs of armed men start coming to the neighbourhood it is time to run-but where is it going to be safe to run to?

Lets start with the good stuff. We meet Randall and his family briefly then get right into the disaster starting. I like to see the start of the events instead of going to it months or years later. The family are concerned by the rain and lightning and soon discover that electrical equipment and cars have ceased to work. I liked the family dynamic and the fact that even the younger kids were well behaved enough to follow instructions in keeping quiet when needed. Alistair was a good character-a sensible boy who pays attention to the world around him and is an asset in the crisis instead of a liabilty. I liked Randall's whole family and Greg. I found the characters to be normal and realistic, acting mostly the way people would with a lack of information.

The first part of the book was concerned with what was happening with the power and the ill fated trip to the grocery store, all of which was nicely written. We then had a bit of confusion for the characters when the military moved in as it wasn't clear who they were. Greg kept calling them a militia and Randall wouldn't trust them so that gives the impression they were might not be legitimate, especially when people from the neighbourhood were vanishing at random. Later we hear that troops had been trying to evacuate the coast because of weather issues coming-so I guess those guys were real military then. Then the really bad guys with guns arrive to raid the area and the family flee to the woods, trying to avoid a rape gang and linking up with Koran. Randall and Greg witness a gang rape and have to face he decision of helping her or running to keep the family safe. I liked this whole part of the book and there was enough happening to keep the plot going. However it was around this point when I got fed up with Randall!

Steve and the other guys at work talk to Randall about the weather and tease him about his bug out bag and the end of the world arriving. Randall admits to being part prepper. What I don't get is that if Randall was scared by something on TV and started a bug out bag, why is he the only person on the street who scoffs at the idea of an EMP causing the power to go out? Surely he would be accepting this BEFORE other random neighbours? And why does he have so few supplies that he has to go out for food so quickly? That seems a little confused. He doesn't seem to have any supplies that can be eaten without cooking it or an alternative cooking source. And if he is thinking about leaving, why is everything not packed ready to go just in case and WHY has he not checked his gun? I wouldn't call this guy much of a prepper at all. But that is the way he is and it was kind of amusing. It didn't make me dislike him.

I liked Randall at the start because he was ordinary-out of shape, no gun knowledge, making some mistakes on prepping, not a great swimmer or sailor, just a family man who wanted to protect them even when it led to bad choices. But by the second half of the book Randall himself is the main problem because he thinks he knows better than all others and if you disagree with him he thinks you are just an idiot. A FEMA worker says it is an EMP but of course Randall knows better than him and thinks he's talking rubbish. As we get further into the book the navy man swims better than Randall so Randall sulks about it. Koran can sail the boat and knows weather, being in the navy, but Randall thinks this storm is bad and Koran must be talking rubbish about being in better conditions than the other side of the island. He is planning to dump Koran's family as soon as he works out how to sail the boat despite Koran saving him from the five men who planned to torture and kill him and his kids and rape his wife. Without Koran he wouldn't even BE on the boat and his family would be dead. He sulks because Koran thinks the trip to the base is a waste of time-it was and it put the women and Alistair in grave danger being left alone! "I guess he forgot this was my show and he didn't have to be here." He really is a whiny, immature and ungrateful man at times!

The other issue for me is that there is way too much going on. I would have prefferred in depth coverage of one natural disaster instead of three at the same time. EMPS, random earthquakes, superstorms, the kidnapping of the President's daughter, military men hunting down Koran, were all a bit much in 177 pages and made for too many sub plots. To be honest the sudden addition of the kidnapping did not fit in the overall plot, wasn't given any depth and explanation, and there just seemed no point to it at all. I just don't get why it was there. It seemed to be to justify Randall's decision that Koran wasn't to be trusted. Maybe it becomes clear in later books.

There were also too many unanswered questions by the end of the book which is so abrupt that it's not really an ending at all. Why did the military try to force random people out of their homes like that instead of ordering a sensible evacuation and telling people about the coming storm surge? If they were only taking people with certain skills why not tell everyone else and give them a chance to save themselves? Why did they leave some behind? Why did Randall, who didn't trust these men, then decide to take the family to the military base for answers? How did the raiders from Randall's group know anything about him or who he had with him when they fled? They were there for supplies so why follow one man for his stuff instead of staying to raid the street? When they caught Randall they seemed to know all about his wife and kids but none of the family went outside when these guys arrived-they were indoors and the gang only saw Greg! Why did Koran kidnap Ashley? How did he do it? Why did nobody recognise Ashley? How did the soldiers know Koran was coming there? What happened to Alistair? What is Mayflower? Gah! To be fair, answers on some of it like Mayflower will come in other books though I'm not sure which other questions get answered. Maybe I'm just over curious and need to chill a bit...

None of this was answered by the end of the book and with book 2, 3 and 4 being different characters it looks like only the Mayflower question might be answered and that just isn't good enough for me as a reader. I want to see a proper ending with questions answered before we run off to totally new characters in the next book. But that's just me!

It might sound like a lot of negatives but there are plenty positives to take from this book as well. The writer can obviously write well and there is no complicated language or complex descriptions, just basic solid storytelling. There is no waffle, he just gets straight to the point and starts the disaster plot which is a good thing as I hate longwinded and slow starts. It is a decent book to read in spite of a few issues I had with plot and character, and at no point was I going to DNF as I did want to see what happened. His characters other than the MC were good. There was plenty of action in the book and there were only a few minor spelling and punctuation issues. There was a good basis to a story but for me it just got too involved in side plots that detracted from the main story. People with more patience over Randall's character will probably enjoy the book.

I wouldn't be reading on with the series personally but others might well enjoy it. 
Read March 2017.
star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png

4 comments:

  1. Wow, that's a lot if info for a 177 page book. I think I'd be confused. I'm sure you'll find a better series to enjoy.

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    1. It was a bit much though not a bad piece of writing overall. Potential, I'd say. It's a pity the other series by the author has the type of MC that gets on my nerves so I can't try it! I hate any MC described as womanizing narcissist!!!

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    2. Wow, only 177 pages?! This doesn't sound like a book for me but I enjoyed reading about it via your review.

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  2. Ooh crazy nature. I like that. And I can't stand it when kids act dumb just because they're kids, so kudos to the kids for having it together in this one. :) Too bad Randall turns out o be a dink as the story goes on... still it sounds like this has potential! I need to read more prepper stuff.

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