State of Emergency (Collapse Series #1) by Summer Lane
Published: 18 January 2013
Pages: 228 (paperback)
Genre/s: New Adult, Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian
Source: Own library
Find it: Goodreads ~ Amazon
What would you do if the world as you know it ended in an instant?
How far would you go to survive?
Cassidy Hart is your typical High School graduate: A little shy, a little sarcastic, and a little naive. But when an electromagnetic pulse takes down the United States, she's forced to kick into full survival mode when she gets separated from her father.
Yeah. Things suck.
But with the help of a handsome soldier named Chris, she just might find her dad without getting into serious trouble.
Emphasis on might.
Oh. And there's the matter of avoiding getting killed in a world that's quickly turned into an active war zone.
It's going to change Cassidy's life.
It's going to be a major pain in the butt.
State of Emergency is a new adult romance post-apocalyptic dystopian. That's a whole bunch of very specific genres, and it's also one of the rare post-apocalyptic books that also fit the dystopian bill (under my very specific definition), as the world goes to shit when a crazy bunch of dictator types take over the world after an EMP.
However, the characters are so inconsistent that I found it a struggle not to roll my eyes pretty much all the way through the story.
Cassidy is an isolated, directionless young woman, trying to find a job after not going to university, when an EMP strands her in the middle of the city. Upon arriving home, she jumps in her EMP-proof car and starts the drive to her father's cabin in the country. Now, Cassidy and her father are preppers which is fine and consistent with the EMP-proof car. However, Cassidy has never shot a gun in her life, and in fact later in the story refuses to, only to later on pick one up and be a great shooter. Inconsistency aside, what kind of hard-core prepper that has a cabin in the woods DOESN'T have experience or at least an understanding of guns?
OK so she's a little confused when it comes to firearms. However, when the romance kicks in after she picks up an ex Navy Seal on the road, she is apparently so dazzling and beguiling that he throws out his years of training and experience and pretty much trots around after Cassidy, even when she has the most ridiculous ideas (yeah! let's go to a refugee camp, because as all preppers know, nothing bad EVER happens in refugee camps!).
Probably my favourite part of the story was Cassidy and Chris trying to survive on the road, in bad weather and encountering some crazy travellers, but even those interactions just seemed off - EVERY SINGLE PERSON goes ape-shit crazy within 24 hours of the EMP. Now I can imagine that there'd be looting, some panic buying and some megalomaniacs trying to take control when the authorities are helpless, but would everyone REALLY go all cut-throat-bandit-survivalist within 24 hours? I really hope not, and it did get a little tiring that pretty much every person they met had robbing and murder on the brain. And that Cassidy continued to walk into ridiculous situations.
Personality wise, she's also quite irritating - mentioning several times how she had no friends before the EMP, which I understood the first time she mentioned it - the more often it was mentioned the more I felt like it was just a way to make me feel sorry for her as a reader. And I didn't.
State of Emergency has an intriguing premise, a lot of potential to be a true post-apocalyptic-dystopian series which is rarer than you would think, and combining romance with such a desolate backdrop could have been a great juxtaposition, but in the end the inconsistency of the main character stopped me from truly enjoying it.