Black Friday is over and I am finally getting some much needed rest. I also am finally getting up a review for a book I was sent back in September. Author R.P. Ruggiero contacted me during the middle of my National Preparedness Month contest and asked if I wanted to review his new book Brushfire Plague. From reading the snippets about the book I knew it was something I wanted to read. However I read slow and slammed with the contest. Once I got to about the midpoint though I couldn’t put the book down. So let’s get down to this long overdue review of the societal collapse novel Brushfire Plague.
The book follows protagonist Cooper Anderson as the world descends into chaos from the effects of the deadly brushfire plague. The brushfire plague like it’s name suggest spreads like a brushfire. It began in the Seattle area but was worldwide quickly. For those that become infected, which is portrayed higher than the 27% of the Spanish Flu of 1918, death occurs within 48 hours or a full recovery. Most who become infected do not make it. With systems failing violence breaks out and lawlessness becomes the normal. Cooper, his son and friend Dranko must work with their neighbors and keep each other safe.
Story not Manual
Ruggiero does not attempt, unlike others, to force feed you a survival manual disguised as a novel. Do not expect to pick up this novel and learn everything you need to survive a societal collapse. There are other, purpose built books, on the topic. This book is character driven and explores the effects of the break down on a few who survive the plague. Some elements of survival planning and mistakes are covered through the character Dranko. Dranko was a survivalist and it ended up paying off for his friends and neighbors. Something I really liked was that the characters all had very distinct personalities. It was not a book full of everyone that thought the same. All of the characters brought unique experiences and views. There was no judgmental leanings that only certain people deserved to live. I enjoyed that I was not lectured to in this book. They also acted like humans! They experienced a wide range of emotions: fear, sorrow, lust, anger, like real people would.
Things done right
This book did many things right in my opinion. Like previously mentioned, I enjoyed reading realistic characters. I like how the Coopers neighbors came together to fortify and protect each other. Many of the survival fiction genre focus on Bugging out or having fortified retreats. Whereas in most situations staying in place where you have what you need and a strong community is much wiser. Most the characters in the book were not preppers, did not have firearms experience and had to adapt. Adapting is something we humans do very well and one thing that quickly happened was anti-gun characters turned pro quickly. Not that I really have any problems with those that think that was but gun are tools and have a purpose. You can be anti hammer but nails wont drive themselves. The power stayed on a fairly long time, most the book. I think until things come the the end people will follow routines and keep on working and doing what they normally do. Something I mostly liked was the cheesy humor. This book has a lot of very witty banter. It almost reminded me of some of the 1980’s cartoons and how they all ended every episode with some cheesy line and everyone broke out in laughter. At times I thought it was maybe inappropriate and over done. I can really see humor being used in a stressful situation to hold onto some resemblance of normalcy.
No work of fiction is perfect and this one had a few issues. One of the big ones that bugged me was some of the gun fights. Which were maybe too numerous for one. I would have preferred less shooting scenes and some more practical survival scenes. The big issue was how people responded to being hit with bullets. Some of the impacts are described by the bodies being thrown around. Which is simply not what happens and is Hollywood movie magic. As a method in kick the action up a notch I guess it does the trick but prefer more realism. Though I liked most characters there were a few I felt were irrelevant. The mailman and his gangster cousin. In fact the entire gang scene was pointless and should have been edited out. Global warming came up and since I don’t believe in it the reason it came up and why I didn’t care for. Though I can see some lunatics thinking the same thing as the “main bad guy”.
Grab this one
Though I had some issues with this series I am eager to continue reading more in this series. I felt it did more good than wrong. Did a great job of pulling me into the universe created by the author. I was satisfied with the ending and left wanting more. I can say I’m especially interested in equals that deal with more of the aftermath and rebuilding of society. What is Cooper going to do for food? Will they start farming?If your looking to grab a gift for a prepper friend for Christmas this is one I can fully recommend.
What do you like about apocalyptic fiction? Dislikes? Lemme know in the comments.