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.”