I just finished the second book in the 299 Days series and have already moved onto the third. For those that don’t know 299 Days is an epic book series written by Glen Tate about a collapse of the United States. Glen and the character Grant in the book both have an inside track into government corruption and wrong doings. The first book was back-story on Grant and his realization that things could and would go wrong. With his knowledge of a probable collapse he takes steps to ensure that his family is taken care of by becoming a survivalist in secret. Things are starting to break down at the end of the first book. The second is where the shit really starts hitting the fan and where this review will pick up for 299 days: The Collapse.
I liked the first book, a lot, but thought it was slow paced. Some of the childhood flashback I thought could have been eddited out. I just wanted to get to the meat and ‘tatters of the book. By the end the speed was racing towards the inevitable cliff until I hit the back cover. The second book, The Collapse, was a bit on the small side, but jam packed with page turning excitement. Glen kicked things up a notch in this volume. I felt that I basically knew the characters in the first one. I knew some facts and background on the characters. I had not yet really emotionally bought into the series though. Midway through the second book I was really starting to care about what happened to them. I became invested in their welfare. Just like when people yell at the TV I found myself, mentally, yelling at characters in the book. Glen’s wife becomes even more stubborn in her normalcy bias, a fact I felt to be impossible. At one point a character gets hurt and I almost threw the book down at rage towards the character that did it. This book is an emotional roller coaster that will tug at your heart and send you into fits of anger. That’s a sign of a great writer, pulling in the audience and getting them to become emotionally invested in the characters.
There were a few things I liked about the collapse in this book. It was not an overnight thing. The collapse was slow and drawn out. For anyone watching and preparing there was plenty of time to finish getting last minute items. Things slowly got more expensive, scarce and violent. Most still did not even know anything was going on. With ever growing evidence that things were on a downward spiral normalcy bias was keeping the realization at bay. During the collapse terrorist acts started occurring. I feel this is one thing missed on in other survivalist novels. In a weakened state America would be an irresistible target for domestic and foreign attacks. Not a full on invasion but strategic attacks. During the collapse an interesting political terrorist group began making attacks. I felt this group was an interesting twist and hope to see them show up again. There were no roving bands of biker gangs looting and destroying whole cities, thankfully, but riots were spreading. When you take what people think the are “entitled” to, whom are wholly unprepared and their normalcy bias is stripped away suddenly and forcefully they WILL riot.
This book really drives home a few points. Normalcy Bias is stronger than I felt. After review the first book I thought that Grants wife was being unrealistic. In comments and from Glen himself on the 299 Days blog I found out that is was not and that it is not unusual. I’ve just never encountered anyone with that level of normalcy bias. Maybe just because I’m surrounded by people of a similar train of thought, or I’m just lucky. Which brings me to my second point, community. Do not underestimate the need for friends to help you through a tough situation. During a collapse you will not make it through alone. Screw your lone wolf bull shit. I was also made aware of my lack in tactical movement. I need to get some practice in with moving and covering team mates.
I said before that this is the best series ever in the prepper genre and that was after only the first book. After tearing through the second I feel more strongly than before. If you are a prepper/ survivalist and are not reading this series then you are wrong.
What were your thoughts on the collapse detailed in the book? Have you experienced extreme normalcy bias? Let me know what you think in the comments!
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