Review of Dark Days: The Long Road Home

Book Cover

Purchase from Amazon Dark Days: The Long Road Home

Dark Days: The Long Road Home by L M May

Book Description

How long would you survive?

Gemma thought she’d seen the last of Christopher Daley. She was wrong. When she ends up trapped in the city after an event that devastates society, Gemma has to trust the man who broke her heart as they set out on the long journey back home in a world that will never be the same again.

GEMMA: before her best friend died, Gemma made her a promise. Leaving four-year-old CJ with his grandmother, she catches the train to a law firm in the city to fulfill it.

CHRISTOPHER: scarred by a disastrous marriage, and the secret weighing him down, Christopher steers clear of women looking for a commitment. Then Gemma turns up at his office, and drops a bombshell that will have him questioning everything he believed.They have no idea what is about to happen …THE PULSE: while Gemma is still in Christopher’s office, the country is devastated by an event that wipes out electricity, communication, and most forms of transport. By the end of the night, the city is in chaos.THE JOURNEY: Over three hundred miles from home, Gemma’s only concern is getting back to young CJ, and his grandmother.
Christopher is worried about his own family, and there was no way in good conscience he could let Gemma travel so far alone in a world that had suddenly changed.
Together they set out for home, terrified of what the future holds.A story of love, survival, desperation, compassion, and loss: a story of never-ending hopePlease note: This book is part of an intended series, but it is a stand-alone novel (no cliffhanger).

Book Review

“An electromagnetic pulse, also known as an EMP will bring about the end of the world as we know it. EMPs can be caused by solar storms or by nuclear weapons detonated high in the atmosphere. When it happens the power grids will fail. There will be no electricity, water, heating, gas or sanitation. The EMP will burn out computer circuits. Airplanes, cars, computers, phones, pacemakers and anything with computer chips will stop working. In the first few minutes in America, between 250,000 and 500,000 people will be dead.”   –                         –Dark Days

Wow! Could this really happen?  Am I prepared? What would I do?  L M May will have you asking yourself these questions as you read Dark Days, a post-apocalyptic story combining romance and suspense in the aftermath of an EMP attack.

EMP sign

The story centers on Gemma and Christopher who struggle to survive a week-long journey to reunite with their families.  A promise to her recently deceased best friend, Caroline, has forced Gemma Rockwell to travel 300 miles from her hometown to see her old love, Christopher Daley. She is going to inform him that he has a four-year-old son that he unknowingly conceived with Caroline. Learning the true identity of CJs father after Caroline’s death has left  Gemma feeling shocked and betrayed, but she is determined to fulfill her promise.

Christopher Daley, now an attorney in a larger city, has never forgotten Gemma and the love they once shared in high school.  Although it’s been years since they’ve seen each other, he realizes he’s never completely gotten over her when she unexpectedly arrives at his office to meet with him.

As the point of view switches smoothly back and forth between Gemma and Christopher, readers are able to understand that there are still unresolved feelings between them that begin to resurface during the discussion over CJ.  Believing that he is sterile, but refusing to admit it to Gemma, Christopher denies that he is CJs father.  Before this conflict is resolved, however, the attack occurs without any forewarning. Everything…just…stops.

pulse hitting citydark city

What is EMP

To Get a Better understanding of the magnitude of an EMP attack, watch this YouTube video:

Once everyone in Christopher’s office begins to understand that what has happened is more than a mere black-out, they make plans for escape to the safety of their homes. Christopher  and Gemma are determined to work together to make the longer journey back to their hometown. They rely on bicycles, a trailer full of supplies, and the goodness of others as they embark on their quest.
bicycles
The heart of the story focuses readers on the physical and emotional obstacles that Christopher and Gemma must overcome if they are to succeed.  Along the way, they encounter others who are dazed, confused, and uncertain about what to do. Many are just patiently waiting for the government to step in and provide assistance. What they have yet to understand is that no one is coming to help them.

“What about the government?…They’ll help.”

 “It’s every man for himself now. Survival of the fittest. It won’t be long before people will be killing each other for a can of food or a bottle of water.” 

your own your own

I can empathize with those characters that are clueless about how to proceed. We are so used to living in a world where modern conveniences, governmental assistance, and laws provide the illusion that we will be safe and cared for in times of trouble. The reality of this attack provides us with a wake-up call to realize that we are inexplicably bound together, and in order to survive, we have to cooperate and collaborate with one another for the common good. Yet, as Christopher and Gemma’s challenges illustrate, we must also be knowledgeable and skilled in surviving on our own if necessary.
tumblr_mfsvdfs4Cf1rh2rvzo1_500_large go back to when things were simple

As Gemma and Christopher exit a chaotic metropolitan area and head toward suburbs and smaller towns, readers begin to see more organized efforts to help each other by banding together to share their resources and provide some semblance of law and order to keep each other safe.  It is heartening to see that people will turn to each other for support.

Gemma and Christopher are pushed to their physical limits as they travel the harsh terrain and battle the weather. Along the way, they encounter dangerous individuals determined to take advantage of others through violence.  I had expected more antagonistic situations with others than actually occurred in the story, but I also took into consideration that the attack is so recent, the majority of people are still trying to process their new reality. The conflicts that do occur throughout the story provide suspense and motivation to keep turning the pages to find out what will happen next.

Besides the physical barriers, the author makes us consider the emotional challenges as well in a fallen society. Christopher and Gemma are conflicted as they realize that they cannot stop to help everyone they encounter. Is hardening ourselves to the plight of others moving us a step away from our humanity?

On a more personal level, the EMP attack is the catalyst for rekindling Christopher and Gemma’s  relationship. At first they are awkward and tense with each other, but as they spend more time together, they find the long-lost comfort that they once had. Their desire and longing for each other emerge stronger than ever, even though they both try to fight these feelings.

tumblr_mlmajddcWi1r6rk4uo1_500 forehead

Through each character’s point of view, readers are given sprinkles of clues about the mystery behind what ended their relationship. I was able to piece together that they were once in love and planned to spend their lives together until something traumatic happened that wedged them apart. Revealing bits and pieces of their past over the course of the story was effective in keeping my interest. However, I was disappointed that, by the end of the book, their full history was never revealed.

questionsconept

I expected the author to unify the plot by tying together all aspects of the story.

What I most enjoyed about the book  is the creative story angle, the unpredictability of the plot, and the suspense found throughout the story. Will Christopher and Gemma make it home unharmed?  Can they revive their romantic relationship?  Can Christopher accept CJ as his son? How will their lives change as a result of the EMP attack?

I do want to point out that after the story ends, the author kindly provides a sneak peek of the next book in the series. When I read the excerpt, I realized that Christopher and Gemma’s story will continue, and more pieces of their past are revealed, so their entire story, hopefully, will emerge as the series continues.

Although there are some minor grammatical errors, and I felt the story could have been more fully fleshed out, Dark Days is a worthwhile read because it will no doubt make readers consider the reality of such an attack occurring in the future.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Rating

Good-Read-icon

music blue black round 50

Songs to Complement Dark Days

The significance of this song is obvious:

R.E.M. “Its the End of the World”

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I found this song to encapsulate the depth of Christopher and Gemma’s relationship:

Hurt: “Assurance”


(Thanks to SoulMusik69 for this music recommendation)

Soundgarden: “Fell on Black Days” (This song just kept popping up in my mind as I read the book)

 

 

extra icon

L M May recommends watching this video on how an EMP works

*****

Related Links

Read Chaos from the Sky: Why The EMP Threat is Real

 

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