Book Review: Town on Fire – 25 Bombs Fell: Season 2 by A.K. Meek

Book Title: Town on Fire: A Post-Apocalyptic EMP Survival Series, 25 Bombs Fell – Season 2

AuthorA.K. Meek

EditorEllen Campbell

Publication Date: February 5, 2019

Available OnAmazon as an eBook

Indie Athenaeum Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars


Two brothers with a long history together live in the small Georgia town of Bartel, where everyone knows everyone. Different ethnicities, different demographics and differences of opinion all mixed together into one bucolic place. But when bombs from an unknown enemy start dropping, the entire town is thrown into chaos, everything electronic stops working and civilization starts to break down.

As they learn the entire scope of this attack across the entire country, we meet the town sheriff, Kurt, with his wife and a picture-perfect family. He’s working with the mayor, Aubrey, to maintain order amidst this new age. On the other side of the equation is Kurt’s younger brother Johnny, an alcoholic absentee father akm-25 bombswith two young daughters and a tragic past. Along with other eccentric and dangerous characters that populate this town, we wonder whether order or chaos will reign over Bartel and whether everyone will survive the experience.

The larger aspects of the story explore how to maintain order for a small town after the bombs fell and how to protect its citizens. The struggle to figure out whether they should be helpful to others needing assistance or whether to be isolationist is deftly explored here. Helping strangers or pushing them away is a difficult decision and the consequences of that reverberate throughout the entire novel in a realistic and powerful way. Their reactions to these decisions inform the plot of law and order and how the overall public responds to that.

As polar opposites of each other, Kurt and Johnny are the two lynchpins of the story, switching from one point of view to the other to help the reader see both sides of the brewing conflict. Each one represents one side of this larger conflict and how they change, grow, grieve and deteriorate is the most enticing aspect of this book. As they both adjust to their new world, how they adjust and cope with it was fascinating for me to read, as I shook my head at some of the bad decisions they made and cheered when they made good ones.

rrp1Those two characters are so well written, I felt like I inhabited them as well as understood them inside and out. I could see why they acted the way they did, how they were flawed and human in their own ways and were fully realized. This is one of the authors many strengths that I’ve seen him use in previous stories and I was fully fascinated with their roles and invested in their fates.

The other characters we meet, like Mayor Aubrey, Kurt’s deputies and reverend Farrah, are also well developed. They’re all filled with eccentricities and a shared history together that all weave together to form a much fuller tapestry of the town.

On a smaller level, this novel successfully captures the atmosphere of a small Georgia town and the details of its local environment. From the shrubs and thorny brambles to the different kinds of trees to the rivers and the clouds in the sky, it’s a very immersive feeling. I almost felt the bugs bite my neck and the sweat rolling down my back under a sweltering sun.

As a result, during tense situations, every loud noise a broken stick makes in the dark when someone steps on it feel very sinister and threatening. It takes on a life of its own, making the hair on my neck electrified thinking akm-revolutiona potential threat is lying in wait. The tension levels are raised dramatically as a result and paint an extensive picture of the world around them.

The enemy is very enigmatic and they appropriately feel like a stranger in a strange land while invading it. They have some deadly weapons and some strange, magic-like machines as well. Their mystery is slowly revealed and adds a lot to the story without overpowering it. Their role in the finale of the novel is also utilized well while still leaving a lot of questions about them and their motivations.

As polar opposites of each other, Kurt and Johnny are the two lynchpins of the story, switching from one point of view to the other to help the reader see both sides of the brewing conflict. Each one represents one side of this larger conflict and how they change, grow, grieve and deteriorate is the most enticing aspect of this book. As they both adjust to their new world, how they adjust and cope with it was fascinating for me to read, as I shook my head at some of the bad decisions they made and cheered when they made good ones.

Those two characters are so well written, I felt like I inhabited them as well as understood them inside and out. I could see why they acted the way they did, how they akm-automaticwere flawed and human in their own ways and were fully realized. This is one of the authors many strengths that I’ve seen him use in previous stories and I was fully fascinated with their roles and invested in their fates.

The other characters we meet, like Mayor Aubrey, Kurt’s deputies and Reverend Farrah, are also well developed. They’re all filled with eccentricities and a shared history that all weave together to form a much fuller tapestry of the town and its people.

There is one subplot about one particular faction in Bartel that really added some spice and danger, being woven into the overall story very well and it builds up to a suspenseful head. But then it just fizzles and fades into the background during the grand finale, stepped on by the larger plot and never achieving its full potential. I feel like so much more could’ve been done with that idea but it got lost in the shuffle.

I read the first season in the “25 Bombs Fell” series by this author and highly enjoyed that one as well. While you don’t have to have read that one to understand the second season of this universe, there are shared story elements, bad guys and situations that indicate how this is all a shared world. But it still stands closetapart on its own as a standalone story different from the first one.

This is an excellent and engaging novel that illustrates how one small town deals with a post-apocalyptic scenario and a frightening, powerful enemy through unique viewpoints of two brothers. There are genuine moments that made me gasp in sadness at the horror people inflict on one another and others where it made me applaud. The building of tension simmering over the course of the whole novel commanded my attention and when it exploded, it became a frenetic scene of ultimate chaos. It always maintained my interest in turning the pages to see what would happen next. I also look forward to the third season of this book series!

If you found this review to be helpful to you, please click here to go to the review on Amazon. Then navigate to the bottom of this review and click on the “helpful” button.

Previous Indie Athenaeum book reviews about stories by A.K. Meek include “Red Rabbit Presents #1: Science Fiction for the People!

 

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