on February 16th 2014
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange honest review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Malcolm King is a journalist living in trendy Hove on the south coast of England. His days are taken up with video meetings and research on the internet while he writes articles for magazines around the world.
When a solar flare of unprecedented magnitude hits the Earth, effectively hurling us back to the stone age in a matter of hours, Malc is thrust into a terrifying new world as he travels the length of the country to find his young daughter.
Society, a fragile construct at best, shatters as the survivors fight each other for food and water, neighbour killing neighbour as fires rage through the cities, destroying much of what's left.
Faced with difficult choices at every turn, Malc draws his strength from those around him; Emily, a tough, no-nonsense soldier with a soft spot for lost causes and Jerry, a disgraced astrophysicist who may be the only person left who understands what's happening with the sun.
With their help, he must struggle to answer the ultimate question.
What won't he do to get his daughter back?
The premise sounded good: crazy, powerful solar flares knock out all but the most rudimentary technology. Chaos ensues. Apocalypse.
However, this book did not go well.
I found Malcolm (“Malc”) to be inept and irritating as a main character. There was a superficial (and as usual, wholly unnecessary) love story fabricated for… for… what? The chats and moments between Emily and Malc concerning their ‘relationship’ seemed stunted and incredibly awkward.
However all that could have been forgiven (or at least bumped this read up to a three star) if the tone of the book had been more appropriate. There aren’t enough tragic deaths of characters that you’re supposed to care about. Honestly, things work out way too well considering it’s supposed to be the end of society as we know it. Apocalyptic books, by their very nature should be dark. Maybe that’s just me?
There are flashes of brilliance – getting picked up and put into a military work camp could have been a very interesting piece of the novel, but it just wasn’t fleshed out enough to really give any real sense of the horror.
Flare, might have worked with some tweaks and editing as a YA apocalypse novel, considering the tone of the book, but as an adult novel it falls completely on its face. I can’t imagine that I’ll pick up the (inevitable) sequel.
Perhaps I didn’t read the same book as the other reviewers on Goodreads (though there aren’t many). Perhaps I just expect too much from apocalypse novels.
I don’t relish in writing bad reviews. Talk to me, Reader.