Title: Nero's Fiddle
Genre: Fantasy/ survival / military
Series: stand alone
Rating: 4 stars
Every day millions of people use their cars, cell phones, and computers.
They commute to work by bus or train.
Hospitals run efficiently. Food is delivered round the clock.
Imagine all of that . . . gone.
June 23, 2017: The United States is crippled by an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) attack, leaving every citizen in the dark, helpless and alone. It will happen again. Every thirty days another country will be attacked until the entire world is plunged into darkness.
Captain Beverly Mossberg is assigned the task of reaching Washington, DC to assassinate the terrorist before he strikes again. She doesn’t count on being accompanied by her two children, Michael, age 9 and Jazmine, age 12. Not to mention Sedona Armstrong, a complete stranger, is determined to join the party.
They traverse a now lawless land, scrounging for food and water, blowing up propane gas tanks, narrowly avoiding being raped and being held prisoners in a cannibal commune – a possible side-effect of massive disaster-related incidents.
Upon arriving in DC, Bev learns that she has been misled – again. Only this time, she has the weight of saving the world on her shoulders.
Well, when I first picked up Nero's Fiddle, I didn't totally know what to expect. I don't often find myself reading stories featuring a heavy military influence, especially not feminine military influence but I found that I really enjoyed it, possibly even more so for this recognition of female soldiers.
I really liked the characters, particularly Bev. I thought all the characters had traits and struggles that could be relatable to a large range of different people, making the book more welcoming and helping one get attached to the characters.
A character I found harder to empathise with and who confused my brain somewhat was Michael. I myself have an 8 year old brother who is fairly sophisticated for his age, yet to me, I thought Michael seemed at times a little advanced for a 9 year old. This made it a little confusing and harder to grasp. Don't get me wrong, I believe that an experience such as one that Michael goes through of course ages a person, but from the beginning he seemed to use vocabulary and express ideas more suitable for a teenager.
I thought Jaz was expressed extraordinarily well. I was only 12 myself 3 years ago now and I have to say, the representation of a 12 year olds relationship with her family, particularly her mother was spot on and really showed how under all the attitude and bravado, at 12 we are all still children.
There were lots of good plot hooks and twists which really kept me gripped. I kept pondering over what would happen next and I sped my way through! I loved how there was plenty of action at just the right times. As soon as you began to recover from the last event, you were shocked back into the situation by another occurrence. This kept you guessing and this is a feature I find vital for the success of any book.
I enjoyed the writing style. I thought it was fitting for the genre and there was a good balance of description and dialogue, which was a feature that made reading easier.
I really liked the recognition of female soldiers and military figures in the book, as well as the power and strength in the female characters. The foreword was excellent and I thought that there needs to be more writing like this in literature (although it's becoming more common, which is a delight!) I realise that I'm saying this as a feminist and not everyone shares these views but for me it made the book the true gem that it is.
My criticism would be that I didn't enjoy the introduction. I thought it wasn't very gripping and the beginning is a crucial hook point. I thought although it related to the story that it wasn't apparent how until so far on in the book that I'd forgotten about it, making it slightly irrelevant. However, this element of history was interesting.
Overall, I thought this book was really great and a good steady read. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys dystopian writing and military books!