> TEOTWAWKI Blog: TEOTWAWKI Wife: Survivors Review



TEOTWAWKI Wife: Survivors Review

Editor's Note: I will have a review up on Survivors in the next couple days, but thought it would be smart to give you my wife's opinion for a change of pace and a different perspective. She read Survivors with me, has not read Patriots and is not the dystopian fiction junkie that I am. Now, on with the review...

First off, I have to confess that my husband and I had just finished reading the Hunger Games trilogy before reading this book. If you haven’t read Hunger Games, it’s a fantastically written series--great characters, dialog, exciting plot--all the stuff you look for in a novel. And honestly, going from those books to Survivors was a big shift in overall quality. With that in mind. I tried to be as fair and honest in this review without letting our previous reading taint my feelings towards this book.

Survivors is considered a sequel to James Wesley, Rawles' first novel, Patriots. Instead of the usual sequel format, Rawles sets Survivors time line events contemporaneously with Patriots time line. I am assuming his intent was to make it flow better for readers and make it easier for readers to just pick one up without the need to read the other first. I have not read Patriots, but I didn't find any confusing, crossover details--Survivors is self-contained. However, despite the fact that Survivors is self contained, it can still be confusing at times. It jumps back and forth between different years after the collapse with different characters and it doesn’t work that well…

It’s hard to briefly summarize Survivors because, frankly, it’s all over the place. There are at least 10 different characters and some just get a page and a half-long chapter and then we never hear from them again. This for me was totally bizarre. Several of these characters are completely disconnected from the main plot line and we're left confused about their purpose.

I know Rawles intent for writing this novel was to detail different strategies for protecting and preparing themselves in the case of a TEOTWAWKI situation, but truthfully Rawles never engages you with the characters. There's no attachment--if a character gets killed you could care less. And when characters do die, Rawles' characters barely react--there's one sentence given and then character isn’t mentioned again. 

Maybe Rawles' assumes his readers don’t care about character attachment, likability and some semblance of emotional reaction? There's little of that in Survivors, which makes it a tough read. 

My husband and I read this book together, which was good and bad. It became the "putting you to sleep book," mostly because of the lack of dialogue and the long paragraphs of details, never-translated foreign languages or morse code conversations. To keep ourselves entertained, we added fun accents and voices to the the less interesting parts.

I found the Crunch scenario a little unrealistic at times and thought the collapse was a too quick in its time line. The U.S. basically goes from some economic troubles to the end of the world after a few weeks of hyperinflation.

Rawles hits on precious metals again and again throughout the book. He definitely gets a little preachy here--it made me feel like I was watching a Glenn Beck “Buy Gold” commercial at times. 

Also, if you’re not religious you may get annoyed at times--Rawles' characters are all good Christians and quote scriptures throughout. For us, it was nice to read a novel that talked so candidly about God, prayer and had many scriptural references. We even used some of the scriptural references for our morning study. 

All that aside, Rawles does try hard to keep the plot moving with one story line (Andy Laine's) and we do get to see the story line (mostly) finish by the end of the book. A few of the character's story lines come together towards the end of the book, which I was expecting and was happy to see. However, the book's ending leaves a lot of loose threads and it is unclear if these will be resolved in Rawles' next book.

Rawles does take a lot of time explaining different survival techniques, weapons and simple things one could potentially do in this situation. I’m pretty sure this is why Rawles writes these novels, to get useful information to readers without writing non-fiction. It’s also easier to write about illegal weapons in a fictional novel than a non-fiction novel where people would be more apt to be curious why you know so much J Also, maybe it was all the gun talk in the book but I actually agreed to go gun shopping with my husband. I may even get a gun in the near future, which is a big deal for me.

My husband thinks Patriots is better, so maybe I’ll pick that up one day, but for now I need a break from James Wesley, Rawles. I don’t want to be too harsh because we have authors in our family that deal with mean critiques, but seriously, Rawles' editor did him a disservice by not helping with the overall quality of the writing.

Survivors: A Novel of the Coming Collapse >