Facing the Storm

The Storm Series Book 2

Fiction - Dystopia
220 Pages
Reviewed on 05/15/2017
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Jennifer Brooks was born in a small town outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She was still very young when her grandfather took her brother and her to the local Bookmobile to get library cards, starting them both down the path of a lifelong love of reading. Along with reading came her joy of writing. She started with poems at first, working her way up to short stories and finally novel-length ones. Her first published novel, Braving the Storm, was a finalist for The Authors' Zone Awards. Her second novel, Facing the Storm, has earned the Five Stars Seal from Readers' Favorite.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite

Facing the Storm by Jennifer Brooks is the second book in The Storm Series. It has been 78 days since the Blackout. Ration cards have been implemented, the New White House is now located in Portland. Gangs have taken over many areas; many people are fleeing and seeking refuge from the aftermath of Super Storm Nicole. Remnants of what was, now torn and tattered, create a battered and scattered society. The entire country is at a loss. The majority of people are in survival mode, hoping to outlast winter. Nestled in the woods near Slippery Rock, PA, a small group of residents is living in a cabin. Among their group are a chef, and a much needed doctor. Learning to live in close quarters, they share responsibilities and celebrate small victories. The cabin dwellers are a part of the local community which has formed a militia for protection and a bartering system of goods and service with other local residents. However, as winter approaches, fear raises up its ugly head. One man voices reason, another man creates strife. As they prepare to endure the storm ahead of them, will the citizens remain united and work together, or will the overwhelming need to survive cause them turn on each other? Only time will tell.

Jennifer Brooks’ Facing the Storm reveals the heart of a disemboweled society. When all has been lost, what will one do to survive? Impending bad weather sets the tone; the feeling of living on borrowed time prevails. Survival breeds mistrust and self reliance. The novel has an extensive cast of characters; personal stories of survival from all the Blackout Zones overlap one another. But the core of the narrative focuses on those living in Pennsylvania. The conflict is layered; each character endures their own personal dilemma, while enduring the effects of the storm and battling the will of mankind. The barbaric versus the civilized method to survive shapes the plot. Brooks masterfully portrays the desire for socialization, “human interaction,” against the need to take care of me and mine. Every page reflects the intentions of the heart of humanity - to give or take, to rise above circumstances or surrender, to protect or destroy, to embrace or turn away, to seek out good or be overcome by evil. Rebuilding a new civilization is no easy task when “Facing the Storm.”

Samantha Dewitt (Rivera)

What would happen if the world as we know it ceased to exist? What if the world were to end, not with a nuclear strike, but with one storm that was able to knock out power lines and flood entire states? That’s what’s happened to the world in Facing the Storm by Jennifer Brooks. Everyone is just trying to survive in a world where electricity has been off for months, and lawlessness is taking over the country. For everyone at The Cabin and everyone in the town nearby, it’s been a hard few months, and with winter approaching, no one is sure what might happen next. But will a group of newcomers with knowledge of a nearby food distribution center be a help or do they have something else up their sleeves?

The characters in this book are all just what you would expect. When the world ends, no one knows what they will do. Facing the Storm by Jennifer Brooks is full of characters who represent the best and the worst of all of us. You’ll definitely find someone that you can relate to and you’ll be left turning the pages and trying to figure out just what is going to happen next. It was an interesting book and I will be looking for the next one to find out what’s going to happen to everyone, from Taylor and the rest of the cabin members to Clint and everyone at the distribution center. There’s no way to tell what they all might encounter if the blackout continues.

Benjamin Ookami

For the Americans in Facing the Storm, a dystopian fiction novel by Jennifer Brooks and the second offering in The Storm Series, Superstorm Nicole changed everything. Then the Blackout happened. A man with a family living in a cabin in one of the Blackout zones, Harry, like everyone else who lives there, has to make sure that they have enough food and other means to survive the coming winter. A new American dollar is slowly making its return, so it will be a while before the country gets back to normal. There is a distribution center that Harry's community implements a trade agreement with that is mutually beneficial, but one man and his own selfish desire to be in charge of the center threatens to destroy it all.

I liked being escorted through the condition America was in at the very beginning. The American Radio Relay League takes up full chapters every now and then to keep readers informed of the progress the powers that be are making. The author offers short and interesting interludes from the main storyline in the form of shorter stories which feature different characters. Taylor, Harry's daughter, has something going on with a character named Bobby that I couldn't help but admire. Bobby is a man with a good soul in a world where survival sometimes trumps the right thing. Filling this second book in The Storm Series up with extensive backstories for different characters, Jennifer Brooks builds to one super showdown at the end. Any doomsday prepper out there will love it.

Rabia Tanveer

Facing the Storm - The Storm Series Book 2 by Jennifer Brooks is the story of the families that left Pittsburgh behind in order to stay alive and wait out the power outage, looking for a way out of this predicament. The four lucky families who were living together to survive were very lucky indeed when they found a place to stay. Now they are trying to adjust to life without electricity and trying to stay strong enough to survive the harsh winter safely. These four families are prepared for winter, but what about the rest of the community?

The rest of the people are struggling with this new life and many of them are not ready for winter. Some people are doing whatever they can to gather the necessities for their families so that they can soldier through the winter, but there are some people who will do anything to survive. There is a hunger and desperation to live through these hard times, but this is also the time when you get to see the true nature of the people around you. What will happen now when some have a lot while the others don’t even have enough?

Facing the Storm is a very deep and very well-constructed novel. Jennifer Brooks showed the true nature of what happens when people are desperate enough. Since people were living in an environment where there was no nobility, they lost the essence of their humanity and became just as barbaric as the people in our history. Brooks showed the barbaric nature of people and how desperate they become to do whatever they can to survive. It was a very intense novel, yet at the same time it was very interesting. Really entertaining, plus I love the cover.

Marta Tandori

Facing the Storm is the second captivating book in the dystopian Storm series by author Jennifer Brooks. There are underlying questions that Brooks asks of her readers and those questions are, “What if it was you in this position? What would you do?” There are no easy answers, to be sure. Facing the Storm starts 78 days after Superstorm Nicole has hit the east coast of the United States, downing power lines which starts a chain reaction, resulting in the eventual shutdown of the Eastern power grid, leaving half of the country without power. The dollar has tanked, banks collapsed about a month into the Blackout, bringing with it the Second Great Depression. For those devastated by these events, life has become a nightmare of Blackout Zones, Storm Zones and Ration Stations. Rioting and pillaging have become the norm. Some have refused to leave their homes in order to defend them from being pillaged. Others, like Steve and his girlfriend, Meghan, have escaped to the rural areas, hoping to stay safe and live off the land until life goes back to normal. Steve inherited the cabin with him and Meghan sharing the small space with their friends, Bryan, Susan and Harry and their three kids, Taylor, Jared and Ian, as well as with another married couple, Tori and Chloe. They have formed an unofficial family and everyone contributes to their survival by fishing and hunting rabbits, growing vegetables and picking nuts. What they don’t have, they barter at Old Bill’s Trading Post. Without conventional law enforcement, several in their group, along with other members in their immediate area, have banded together to form a Militia in order to keep their area safe from marauders. Although life today is nothing like it used to be, everyone is determined to make the best of it – until things take an ugly turn for the worse…

Facing the Storm is a story that, unfortunately, hits a little too close to home. In this day and age, we’re no strangers to violent storms pounding our islands and coastlines, sometimes devastating entire areas and communities. And for many, the blackout of 2003 that devastated the northeastern and Midwestern U.S. as well as the province of Ontario, leaving many without power for several days or more, is a grim reminder that a blackout can happen at any time and without warning. What Facing the Storm really brings home is that one disaster can have startling implications and a domino effect, where one thing happens that impacts another and, before people realize it, civilized life has come to a halt. All disasters seem to bring out the best in some like Meghan, Steve, Susan, Taylor and their unofficial family. However, for some, reality is starker, making survival a lot more ugly and violent.

The subject matter in Facing the Storm is already compelling. Brooks has an engaging writing style that immediately makes the reader comfortable as they quickly get sucked into the story. What was somewhat distracting about the book was that the author would introduce some characters once and we’d never hear from them again. While it’s assumed that these characters are added to show the wide dichotomy of individuals this disaster has affected, it nevertheless does not add to the story line. Ultimately, though, the author spins a convincing yarn about survival in Facing the Storm and the lengths to which people will go to survive and to protect those they care about most in the world. So back to the questions asked earlier. “What if it was you in this position? What would you do?” If only there were simple answers to these questions…