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Posted: 2/17/2020 9:16:34 PM EDT
Bracken's Enemies trilogy

Steven Smith's The Reversion / stonemont series

JK Franks Downward Cycle

I'm going to kind of combine all these into one review.   Collectively, they were all entertaining, and I'd generally recommend them if you are in the mood for TEOTWAWKI fiction.  I can't believe I have to say this, but after reading some other works in the genre, these authors at least had grammar, punctuation and spelling sorted out, and solid composition skills.  All were very logical thinkers and it showed in their writing (sometimes to their detriment when unable to realistically portray illogical masses post SHTF)

Enemies and Cycle, both spent reasonable time developing characters, had decent dialog, and were able to use normal literary devices and the characters to develop and describe the SHTF world without just saying it, so the readers' view of the world comes from the perspective of the characters and their activities.  Enemies was best at this.   However, these authors' plots all involved characters from other cultures, and they generally come across as having only a passing familiarity of other cultures based on stereotypes you'd hear at a KKK rally.

The Reversion is much worse though, as almost no pages are devoted to getting to know the characters, and worse, all the characters talk like Dr Spock, regardless of their background or culture.   In my experience, Marine Snipers and Judges and youth and farmers etc all sound very different, but not in the Reversion.

Enemies and Cycle both delve deeply into the stereotypical  ethical conundrum "i'm a good guy/Christian, but now that SHTF i'm having to do things clearly at odds with my former values".   Though it gets cliche (maybe just cause I've read 6 SHTF books in the past two weeks) it obviously seems necessary part of char dev.   The Revision, however comes across quite differently.  First, most of the book reads like a "I told you so" manifesto where the main two chars expound non-stop on how they're right and everyone else is wrong, and of course, all the chars in the book who don't bow before them are killed.   I get that it's fantasy, but the author seems pretty keen on authoritarianism.

On the positive side, the Reversion is better on tech detail than the other two regarding guns, but Bracken is clearly the only one with any military experience.  But it's soooo preachy and frankly, the values on display by the main chars, one of whom is named Christian, are anything but.  Kinda shocking if the author thinks that.  They love dispensing justice.

If you love sailing and boats, read Enemies, which spends more time talking about boats than bad guys.   Ditto for bicycles and Cycle.  Mercifully, none of the books are non-stop run n gun scenes.   The characters in Enemies don't win every battle but survive a lot of bad stuff.  The Reversion reads like the Steelers taking on a pee-wee league where they've perfectly prepped and every action scene is executed flawlessly.  Oh wait, there was the time the main char got shot once but kept on like john wayne and it was never mentioned again after that sentence.  Cycle is a good mix but the chars are portrayed as mostly lucky, not incredibly competent.

All of the books make you think a bit about what it would really be like, but none are super realistic.  But hey, it's fiction.
Link Posted: 2/21/2020 12:23:45 AM EDT
I enjoyed Matt's stuff alot,  I've read, I think, 3 of Franks series and he's doing a decent job with the genre.

If you have not tried Franklin Horton's Borrowed World series, and "Angry American's" (Chris Weatherman) Going Home series,  I HIGHLY recommend them.   Excellent work.

Too many authors in the genre disappoint me when the books start to sound like a A Gun's an Ammo article or gear ads.  But maybe that's just me

"He drew his Wilson Custom Combat limited edition "Death Dealer" 1911 from his hand tooled giraffe hide holster...etc...etc...etc..."  ugh
Link Posted: 2/21/2020 3:50:00 PM EDT
Thanks for the tips. I will try them next.  I just managed to push myself through the first 50 pages of Molon Labe by Boston t party.

I can see why he didn’t want to put his own name on it.
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