Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review: One Man's Island by Thomas Wolfenden

Author: Thomas Wolfenden
Genre: Post Apocalyptic, Contemporary
Publisher: Permuted Press
Publication Date: March 12, 2014



Be very careful about what you wish for…Sergeant Major Tim Flannery’s personal life is in shambles. Just home from his sixth combat tour in Afghanistan, His wife has left him, his house is in foreclosure, and he feels like his entire world has disintegrated. With almost thirty years’ military and civilian police experience, he’s always been able to make the right decisions in tight spots, but waking to find he’s the sole survivor, after the entire Earth’s population is dead from an unknown calamity from the cosmos, he’s at a loss. Or is he? Follow him across a Continent, and then an Ocean, to find his fate, to see if one man can change the world, make a difference, make the hardest decision of his life, and save humanity once and for all…
Review
"Life is never fair. 
We just have to take what we can get out of it, 
and try to make every day just a little bit better.”

One Man's Island follows the story of a man named Tim who returns from abroad to find his wife has left him, his house in foreclosure and his bank account emptied of everything save his last paycheck from the Army. Life couldn't get much worse for poor Tim or so he thought. When an unknown calamity wipes out 99% of the Earth's population, Tim does what he must to survive but what happens when just surviving isn't good enough?

One of the best parts about this story is that we really get to see how quickly life can change when nobody is left to tend to it. If you've ever watched the show Life After People you'll know that Mother Nature doesn't wait very long to reclaim what is rightfully hers and that is true in this story as well.  In a lot of ways, this story reminded me of The Stand by Stephen King except in this story it's something uncontrollable that kills everyone not just science run amok. Both stories however deal with the moments after devastation hits and explores the question of How do you live in a world that is mostly dead?

Another thing I really enjoyed was how Tim made use of his time considering he really had everything he could desire within grasp should he need it. It's kind of great reading a Post Apocalyptic story without Zombies, Cannibals or roving gangs just looting and trashing everything because nobody is around to stop them. Sure, I do wish Tim had branched out more into his city (maybe visiting Independence Park or The Zoo and releasing any animals that had survived) but since it was winter when the story started I can understand him not wanting to be stranded out in the snow.  

Lastly, I loved Robyn. Her growth from backwoods bumpkin to a smart, sophisticated young woman was great to see. I also liked that she was still a teenage girl with teenage wants and needs under her gruff outer exterior. Yes, it did show her naivety but it was also understandable considering how little contact she had with others after The Event happened. 

Now even though I did enjoy One Man's Island, I did find a few faults with the overall story and here's why:

First off, I absolutely hated Tim calling Robyn baby all the time. You do not call a pre-pubescent girl that you have a Father/Daughter relationship with baby as a pet name. I found it icky and it made me wonder almost the entire book if when she matured he'd have a more adult relationship with her. Thankfully that wasn't the case but how it was written I kept expecting it to happen. 

Secondly, while I did enjoy the book, I think it was much too long for its own good and would've been so much better if it had been scaled back 100 pages or more. Yes, the relationship between Robyn and Tim was important but all the person to person dialogue without anything else going on really dragged the narrative down for me. 

Lastly, I didn't really like the ending. I know the Author mentions taking liberties with the science of things but 3 miles just doesn't seem an appropriate distance to be at to survive as unscathed as they did. Plus don't even get me started on the convenient arrival of Flipper the friendly dolphin. I would of much preferred them heading back to Oahu and or maybe showing all the survivors forming a small community in Arizona or of course even staying in HI. Plus it's sort of sad that nobody thought of the innocent enslaved men, women and children trapped aboard the ship when they decided to pull the final trigger. 

Final Thoughts
One Man's Island might not of hit it out of the ballpark for me but it still was a game worth watching. Would I recommend this title? Yes. Would I read a sequel if one was written? You bet. I think this Author shows great promise and I can't wait to see what the future may hold for him. With that being said, I'll be rating One Man's Island by Thomas Wolfenden ★★★.

 *Copy provided by Publisher.  All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in an which way  for providing them.

About the Author
Thomas Wolfenden was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is an honorably discharged veteran of the US Army. He's worked in several different jobs throughout his life, spending fifteen years in law enforcement and the private security field. He has worked as an automotive detailer, ambulance driver, a nuclear medicine delivery courier, a dairy barn cleaner, and most recently has worked as a ballast regulator operator, a switchman, conductor and a locomotive engineer on the railroad. He's traveled extensively, through the United States and abroad, and lived in several States. Pennsylvania, Arizona, West Virginia, Kentucky, Idaho and Florida being a few places. He has written several OP-ED pieces for various local newspapers, and had up until recently, kept a political humor blog. He's a Life/Endowment member of the National Rifle Association, Libertarian, American Patriot and a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment. He now spends his time between the United States and Australia, with his life partner, Catherine.

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