While I may mix it up from time to time, most nights my before-bed routine includes reading whatever book I’ve got going on at the moment. I generally have a few books in progress at any given time (not counting the audiobooks for the car) just because my mood changes or something looks really interesting. I also enjoy reading series because I get to spend more time in the same world, with the same characters that I enjoy.
Like, for instance, the Life After War books by Angela White.
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I originally read the first few books several years ago when I stumbled upon them as free Kindle offerings. The basic premise is that the world goes ass over teakettle in 2012 when the US releases nuclear weapons on itself. The whys and wherefores are mostly inconsequential–it’s just a backdrop upon which the lives of a handful of survivors unfold, evolve, and come together. They all have secrets, flaws, and insecurities. No one is perfect, but most of them are doing what they can to survive with some sort of eye towards the future. They face both human and natural enemies as they cross the country in search of a spot to settle the growing refugee camp known as Safe Haven, and not without their fair share of setbacks.
And to say more than that would, I think, give away too much of the story in case you enjoy survivalist stories with a bit of the supernatural thrown in for good measure.
If I were to sum it up, the overall feel and vibe of the series, I’d call it a post-apocalyptic version of the Jean M Auel Earth’s Children books (you know, theÂ Clan of the Cave Bear books?) that I read back in my teen years. Not that I feel like the author copies Auel, just that it has a similar scope. Read them both and you can tell me if you agree or not 😛
The one thing that makes me side-eye the series is that the main female character–the powerful witch that all men seem to want in one way or another and women want to be like or in her good graces? Yeah… her name is Angela White.
Self-insertion is hardly the worst thing an author could do. In fact, it’s pretty common in one form or another. Most authors will cop to feeling like part of themselves went into creating their leading men and women and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s part write what you know and part human nature. No big thing.
But when your main character bears your own name and it isn’t a memoir? Too far, in my opinion.
Now, because I read the first few books in quick succession (Kindle makes that so easy with their links at the end of each book), it wasn’t until I had to go in search of Book 4 that I realized the whole name thing. And, yes, it cast a bit of something over the story for me, at least at first, but obviously not too much of one since I just started book 6, Where We Stand, last night.
Would I still recommend this series, even with the massive self-insertion faux pas? Yes, I would. It’s a good story, the characters are engaging, there is enough action to keep the story moving but also time for character development and small moments. It’s brutal, but not gratuitous, but that makes sense for the type of story it is.