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Saturday, March 4, 2017

THE FINAL DAY (audiobook) by William R. Forstchen

A Review of the Audiobook

Published in January of 2017 by Blackstone Audio
Read by Bronson Pinchot
Duration: 12 hours, 11 minutes

The conclusion of the John Matherson trilogy does not bring a fairy tale ending to his story of post-EMP America, but it does answer an important question from both of the previous novels - just who has taken over the reins of what remains of the Federal Government?

For those who don't know, an EMP is short for Electro-Magnetic Pulse. Nuclear weapons generate this pulse when they explode and these weapons can be fine-tuned to generate an pulse that will cover a large part of North America. The pulse completely fries modern electronics and in this book series the United States is thrown 100 years back into the past in terms of technology.

John Matherson continues to lead his North Carolina community and they are having some success in re-establishing some of the technology that existed before the attack. They are slowly adding new communities into the fold and are now calling themselves the State of Carolina.

But, this is interrupted by the arrival of a message from Matherson's old commanding officer from his Army days. The Federal government has not forgiven Matherson's community for their attack on a poorly-trained Federal army made up of draftees last year and they are demanding that his community submit to their authority or be invaded by regular Army troops with tons of air support. Matherson is torn - he wants to trust his old friend and mentor but he knows he cannot trust this group that claims to be the reconstituted Federal government...

Unfortunately, this book continues in the trend of the second book in this series instead of the first.  There are plot holes, forgotten characters and lots and lots of repetitive long lectures from characters. So many characters don't have conversations - they deliver speeches. And, some don't just deliver them once, they deliver them again and again. This audiobook could have been edited down by 2 or 3 hours and it would have been a much better experience.

Forstchen has a lot of cursing which does not bother me - soldiers curse, people curse when they get shot at. I grew up in a family that brought cursing up to the level of art. The cursing in this book oftentimes sounds so inauthentic that it was like it was inserted to butch up the story some. Bronson Pinchot's attempt to read the curses and the random yelling like the book described just served to reinforce how clunky so much of this dialogue really is (how many times can you look out the window and curse the people that attacked America in just one book? How many characters can make the same curse in the same book?)  I was reminded of Harrison Ford's comment about George Lucas's dialogue in Star Wars: "George, you can type this $%@&@, but you sure can't say it!"

Also, while I was glad to finally see who was behind this re-constituted Federal government, I did not buy the backstory. It was a let-down.

I rate this audiobook 3 stars out of 5.

This audiobook can be found on Amazon.com here: The Final Day by William R. Forstchen.

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