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Review: Flashpoint: The Complete Series

I just finished listening to Flashpoint: The Complete Series on Audible written by Tara Ellis and Mike Kraus and narrated by Tom Taylorson. Here’s the gist: An all-too-realistic, but unlikely gamma ray burst plunges the world into an electronics-free apocalyptic setting.



This six-book, twenty-hour audible compendium begins with a cataclysmic event that wipes out half of Earth's population. They’re basically microwaved by the radiation from a star exploding with energy focused in our direction. This disaster is both a wonderful plot device and a well-researched, scientifically plausible scenario that adds a thick layer of intensity to the story.


Note: The odds of this happening in the next hundred generations is small, so don’t stay up late at night worrying about it.



CHARACTERS

The characters, who start all over the western region of the US are taken on winding journeys, each having ties to the small town of Mercy. The characters express a wide range of human emotions caused by a bunch of challenging ethical and moral dilemmas. This is one of the reasons I love to read (and write) apocalyptic novels. Most of the characters are robust and relatable.


Some of the most realistic survivors that thrive in the aftermath are too dark and disturbed to relate to, but that makes sense. Insanity comes in many flavors insanity after all (and my brand of insanity wasn’t like theirs).


The story goes into some unique aspects of survival in this post-apocalyptic world, but always brings it back to the psychological impact of the disaster, and the first steps of rebuilding society, which resonates well with fans of more grounded, realistic post-apocalyptic stories.


Similarities: This series has some similarities with One Second After by William R. Forstchen. (My review of OSA)



THE NARRATION

The audiobook benefits from Tom Taylorson’s excellent and varied voice acting skills. Interestingly, I found his general reading voice merely okay, but his character voices were fantastic. He can do deep resonating voices, high pitched, rugged male, elderly female, drawling, gruff, and sweet better than most narrators.



VIOLENCE

Flashpoint has violence, which is standard in post-apocalyptic novels, but doesn’t go into gratuitous detail. Fights ensue. Wounds abound. Lives are lost. Most of the attention to brutality focuses on the emotional aspects of surviving, not brutality for brutality’s sake.



MINOR DOWNER

There was a touch on character inconsistency and some of the main characters could have used more depth. For instance, the transformation of Chloe, a teenager with significant anger issues, seems overly rapid and somewhat glossed over. Moreover, the narrative involves a lot of peripheral characters who feel like loose threads, dangling out there without resolution or meaning.



VERDICT

Flashpoint is a great entry point into the post-apocalyptic genre or a great stopping point along a longer path through the various end-of-worlds. It offers a mix of intense survival scenarios, deep character studies, and thoughtful commentary on human nature and societal structures. While it navigates some clichés and misses a few opportunities, it was a captivating listen. I recommend that you pick it up.


Rating:

  • Story: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

  • Writing Style: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

  • Overall: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


 

As always, I appreciate your support of self-publishing and indie authors. In the name of putting myself out there, here are a few of my works.



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