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First, let me say that I'm going to assume this book is targeted at YA. Maybe it isn't, but if I go in with that assumption, it makes it easier to accept a lot of things and smooth over some rough edges.
The story is told from two perspectives: a girl at college with her friends and a grandmother in a small town waiting for said kids to make their way back home (while dealing with her own problems on her end).
The author opens up the book with an intro that sort of puts down other similar works as "prepper porn". Perhaps there are degrees to it, but I'd personally classify this story as the same. For the kids at college, less time is spent on their actual adventure getting home than on all the "prep" work that went into it. These kids already had maps printed and emergency bags packed for something like this, and we spend a LOT of time talking about it.
The characters also spend a lot of time discussing and inner-monologuing the psychology and behaviors of other "survivors". Because of this, I'd say this was less of a story and more of a social commentary mixed with, well, "prepper porn". Softcore, probably, but porn nonetheless.
I do wish the author had spent more time developing the characters. Most of them were interchangeable, and it was hard to follow who was who for a good portion of the listen. In fact, Cory, the grandson of the grandmother the kids are making their way back home to, seemed only to exist for that reason. He was often shoehorned into a scene, and because the author did not do much to set scenes up, a character would suddenly speak or be said to perform an action and you'd be left wondering if you missed the fact that they were there all along. Sadly, that character was often Cory.
I also wish more had been done to explain their physical characteristics. It was a while before I was able to form a mental picture of them all, and even then, I wasn't too sure I had it right. What made matters worse, is that there are a number of scenes where race plays a part in things, and it's only then that you realize "oh, they're black?". Even then, you can't be sure though. Marco is spanish, that's clear. At least 2 of the kids are black, I think? There's a gas station attendent with a name you can't gleam much from who has racial epiteths thrown his way, and I still don't know what he is. When you're going to throw racial drama into the mix, it would be extremely helpful to know the races of the characters.
I found the grandmother to be the most interesting character of them all. She was fleshed out well and acted in a consistent manner throughout. The 4 college kids however seemed to be all over the place. Their personalities, points of view and priorities seemed to switch up depending on what the author needed for that situation.
This made her story far more interesting to follow. While she fell into the same traps of analyzing the psychology and behaviors of others while preparing for a long-lasting state of emergency, it was done far more naturally. The grandmother used what she had at her disposal (brains, connections and physical property) to prepare herself for the disaster. I wish the story with the college kids was written in a similar vein.
The story ends fairly abruptly with no resolution to the conflicts the book spent a good portion of its 10 hours setting up. Disappointing, but sadly expected.
Overall, it's not a BAD book at all, and I often found myself getting lost in the small town half of the story, but it plodded along far too much without a commensurate payoff for the time invested. I don't think I'll be picking up book 2 to possibly be treated to more of the same.
Both narrators did an excellent job, top notch performances.
18 of 18 people found this review helpful
Not the typical SHTF story. The characters are fairly original and the storyline is fairly fresh and not filled with technical jargon or filler to make the story longer and boring. Decent pace and quite interesting! Looking forward to the next book!
16 of 16 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to Journey the most enjoyable?
Two separate stories, of college students struggling to get home and their grandmother at home. I've read a lot of post-disaster stories and this is absolutely one of the best. A gripping account of how real people, not especially well prepared, only gradually come to terms with a suddenly changed world. The female protagonists make it especially vivid and fresh. I don't want to give away the story, but the episode in the warehouse, and the epilogue to the second book, are two scenes I'll never forget.