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Old 10-06-2013, 07:17 PM
Scored: 10
Views: 3,758
CyberStorm (novel)

Reviewer: Dave
Review Date: October 5, 2013

Released by: Amazon Digital Services
Release date: 3/15/2013
MSRP: Various
Kindle, Paperback

Confession time: I love books. I love books more than I love movies. There's a mood for each. Sometimes you need eye candy. I get it. Most of the time, I would rather read. For someone that has limited time, I find it easier to read. I can pull out my Kindle during my lunch break, or while I'm waiting in line somewhere (I do it). I can read my Kindle while I have a baby in one arm. I set my Goodreads book reading goal to 30 this year, which I hit in early September. It would be nice to think I'm going to blow the goal away, but I get pretty busy at work the rest of the year. I will likely end up at 40 books for the year.

Confession 2: I love the Kindle. It's easier, convenient, and while I occasionally revisit books, I typically read most books a single time. I don't have the space for a vast library and that has made me a big fan of digital books and even comics. While I love physical media for my blu-rays, that's mostly because I enjoy supplements and I don't want the loss in quality you get when streaming. That just isn't the case with digital books and comics. I know some people like to hold the book in their hand. That just isn't me.

When I went Kindle crazy a few years back, an up and coming author by the name of Hugh Howey introduced me to my now love of indepedent publishing. While I have tried indie publishing in the past, I was quickly turned off by poor grammar, typos, and often subpar stories. I believe that's all changing now. While there are some many subpar indie authors out there, there's also a batch of extremely high quality indie authors emerging. It takes some research to find the right ones, but there are countless places on the web to get quality book reviews. I use Kindleboards myself.

When self published author Matthew Mather's CyberStorm landed on the Kindle daily deals page, I quickly read over some reviews and purchased it. Any end of world or collapse of society books are often immediate purchases for me. I love the genre. Mather is definitely an indie publisher, with only a handful of self published books under his belt. Lets take a look at CyberStorm and see if it's a hit or miss.

The Story

Mike Mitchell lives in Manhattan with his wife Lauren and infant son Luke. The two wouldn't have what you call a perfect marriage. There is lot of tension, mostly from Lauren's upper class family that has never truly accepted their son-in-law. Luke was an unplanned surprise, forcing the two to grow up quicker than anticipated. Mike's best friend and neighbor, Chuck, is a survivalist and outdoorsman.

It's winter in New York when a cyber attack cripples the Internet and knocks out power to the city and cripples the infrastructure of much of the country. This is followed my some massive snow storms and a rumored outbreak of the Bird Flu. When the days of waiting for the government to restore power and services turn into weeks, society in the city collapses. Looters and criminals prowl the streets and Mike and Chuck are forced to fight for their very survival as they try to protect their families from the chaos engulfing them.

If Stephen King's The Stand is an epic post-appocaliptic novel, Matthew Mather's is a mini post-appocaliptic story. Clocking in a 353 pages, it manages to tell the story of one family fighting for survival in every isolated scenario. King's book, on the other hand, has dozens of main characters and focuses on the entire country. That isn't to say that Mather's book isn't as enjoyable; it's just not as grand in scope. Mather may be a relative newcomer to writing but he manages to wield an impressive and enjoyable yarn. He has solid character development and once you nail that and get the reader to care about them, the rest is just giving us an entertaining story.

While the whole 'crippled Internet bringing down country's infrastructure' isn't all that believable, I think Mather presented it in such a way that is as believable as possible. The combination of the attack coupled with the winter storms crippling the city made me almost believe it was plausible. Honestly, though, that isn't too important for me. We are horror fans. We watch movies that are based purely on unbelievable scenarios. I can look past believability for the right story and I believe Mather's is just that. It's not so much of how society collapsed that I enjoy. It's how the characters deal with it in the story. That is where Mather succeeds unconditionally. He paints dark and bleak picture of humanity once the city's residents realize they are on their own and a government rescue isn't going to happen. It quickly becomes every person for themselves as resources for basic survival begin to dwindle. That is what's believable. In a world where our trash is picked up weekly and our supermarket shelves are stocked daily, I have always believe the modern society of today would quickly crumble if those luxuries disappeared for an extended period. I became engrossed in the book as Mike and Chuck struggle to provide for their families and search for a way out of the city. There is a dark, eerie, claustrophobic feel to a city in the dark and surrounded by snow as million of residents fight for survival.

Can such a story have a happy ending? Usually not, but you are on your own to find out. Authors like Matthew Mather and Hugh Howey have opened my eyes to the world of quality independent publishing. Don't judge a book by its cover and don't judge a book as lower quality just because it isn't sitting on the shelf at Barnes & Noble (if you can find one). If this review gets one additional person to read the book and fall in love with Mather's story, I consider my mission accomplished. A sequel is in the works, so be on the lookout and don't pass by Mattew Mather's CyberStorm. I highly recommend it.

Final Thoughts

It's a grand idea but the story itself is one family's tale of survival as society collapses. The reason for the collapse isn't all that believable but the aftermath and the characters struggles are. If you're a sucker for post-apocalyptic fiction and can get past a few of the faults, you're bound to enjoy Matthew Mather's CyberStorm. I loved it enough to write this review and to thank the author for an enjoyable, well told story. He was kind enough to reply, too. That's just another reason to love independent publishing. They are grateful for their fans.


Story - B-



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