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Review: Pickups and Pestilence by Larry Kollar

Pickups and Pestilence

Summary From Goodreads

War, locusts, vermin. The world continues adjusting to the Truckalypse, and to the sudden disappearance of billions of people, seeking a new balance. People in Laurel Hills and elsewhere survive and try to rebuild what they can.

When a dream reveals the nature of the trucks, it is young Cody Sifko who must become humanity’s champion. His friends—and the enigmatic Delphinia—will stand with him, but he must face his inner demons alone.

Pickups and Pestilence takes you on a ride from suburban Atlanta, to the heights of Heaven and the depths of Hell. Buckle up and hang on!

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I received an e-book copy of Pickups and Pestilence in exchange for an honest review.

It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! This is where I write a review in the time I have before I go to work or before I go to bed. Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

Allow me to plug in my last review which was of book 1 in the Truckalypse series, White Pickups, since I’m going to be continuing off of that just as Pickups and Pestilence does off of the previous story. Also, this book is being released tomorrow (May 9th) so make sure to get yourself a copy! Alright, are you all caught up? Great, now I can go to my review.

The elements of Pickups and Pestilence are very similar to those of White Pickups with some small changes. You remember all of the romantic tension caused by the love triangles and the frenzied amount of relationships that were rather quick to begin in White Pickups? Ya, you can toss those aside for Pickups and Pestilence. Unfortunately, while I wasn’t completely in love with those elements all the time (pardon the bad pun) they added some needed tension and drove the story along. While White Pickups had some discussions about the best course to take in certain situations, mostly it was just concerning whether to give into the truck (mob mentality) or not. In Pickups and Pestilence, however, there were many questions brought up that made the reader stop and think about society as it currently is and whether or not the current system is one we should keep, especially in the current capacity it is being carried out in. Questions such as whether we should rely on things like technology are asked here, or even more specifically should they use electricity when they are thus far sustaining themselves without it for the most part.

The weaknesses and the strengths that I mentioned in my last review are essentially the same as before. While there aren’t as many love triangles, there are some, but instead of creating tension that made the book more interesting and better paced they seem irrelevant and trivial. The characters from before are still very strong but the new group is not one I care much for. This story, like White Pickups, is filled with too much minutia for my taste. I think it could have been whittled down to a story with slightly less depth, but much better pacing and that would have helped to make the crazy times more impactful.

Overall I was hoping for steps in the right direction to take the good that White Pickups had and transform it into a more polished sequel. That didn’t happen and the issues I mentioned remained in Pickups and Pestilence. Yes book 2 brought up good philosophical questions, but I wanted more action, more tension, some kind of spark to go with all that depth and I didn’t get it. It’s still worth the read and it does come out tomorrow, so if you want to get it click the link above. Thanks as always for reading!

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #96/200

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Review: White Pickups by Larry Kollar

White Pickups

Summary From Goodreads

At summer’s end, mysterious white pickup trucks take to the roads and compel nearly everyone to “drive off.” Some of those who remain gather in a suburban Atlanta subdivision, and struggle to cope with a world whose infrastructure is rapidly crumbling. One of the few who are mentally and emotionally prepared for the end of the world is Cody Sifko, a youth who quickly becomes the inspiration for the others. When a strange homeless woman names him “Father of Nations,” is she seeing his future or her own delusions? As winter and a hate group try to destroy Laurel Hills, can Cody overcome personal tragedy and seize his destiny?

Love, hate, survival, and an apocalypse like no other—White Pickups is ready to take you on the ride of your life!

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I received an e-book copy of White Pickups in exchange for an honest review.

White Pickups, book one of the “Truckalypse” series, was very enjoyable for me and definitely has me excited for book two, Pickups and Pestilence. That doesn’t mean, however, that it wasn’t bizarre. As the series name in combination with the title would suggest, white pickups essentially are responsible for the end of humanity as we know it. The vast majority of the population goes into them and though the characters, and thus the reader as well, are not certain what exactly happens when someone enters these vehicles, they do not expect them to return to the remains of the world that they left behind.

I’m going to break down White Pickups into two sections, pros and cons, and then give a conclusion, sound good? Wonderful, somehow I knew you’d see it my way.

Cons: Love Triangles – They are very heavily used. Even when they are resolved rather quickly or the outcome seems rather obvious from the onset, Kollar uses them for tension and some fleshing out of characters. If they weren’t quite as obvious as to which way they were going to go I think this could have been a solid device, as it was the tool shone and the result fell somewhat flat.

Insta-love – You know my feelings on this if you follow my reviews at all. In this case I don’t think the love part was quite so instant in the main relationship as in many insta-love cases, despite iterations by some of the characters to the contrary. Lust? Certainly. Desire? Absolutely. Rapidly developed feelings? You betcha. But this was the best possible way it could have been incorporated and it felt very realistic. A small con at most but I had to mention it.

Slow Points In Development – There were parts in the book where I just wanted to skip ahead. I understand that Kollar wanted the reader to get an accurate portrayal of all of the work that would go into creating a post-apocalyptic community, something that is glossed over in many works and something I think is worthwhile to do. However, at some point you need to edit it down a bit so that the reader isn’t drowned in the minutia, there were areas where I certainly think that would have been possible. Had some parts been scaled down the book could have had a better pacing to it and been more exciting rather than just interesting.

Pros: Characters – There was a very large cast of characters that we actually heard from throughout the book which is a very challenging thing to attempt and Kollar did so very well. I felt like I knew them all and what they could potentially become and do in future books, that none of them seemed forced or unnecessary, and that there were strong emotional bonds with each of them. I can’t stress enough how difficult that is to accomplish and Kollar deserves major credit for them all having individual voices that stand out.

Originality – How the heck did Kollar come up with white pickup trucks ending the world? It was rapture-esque but not overly so (and without the typical religious overtones) but the idea for that was very creative and unique.

Believability – It’s an apocalypse book and it seemed possible. Read that again. Yes the premise is a bit weird (white pickup trucks calling out to you!) but the reasoning for people choosing to leave discovered by the characters certainly could apply to the vast majority of society. The characters as previously mentioned were believable, the way that the community went about creating a new life was broken down (even if a bit too much) into sections that actually felt like details weren’t skipped or glossed over and even the prophecies and magical qualities didn’t seem all that far-fetched.

Summary/Feelings: Did I enjoy White Pickups? Yes. Did I think there were parts I’d like to have been edited down? Yes. Were the characters strong enough for me to overlook the flaws and make me excited for Pickups and Pestilence? Heck ya. Do I recommend the book? Check it out, if for no other reason than it is a unique piece, you won’t find it’s double anywhere, and that is a rarity and very special. Worth the read for sure. Thanks as always for reading and come back tomorrow (you read that right!) for my next review!

Mount TBR Challenge #59/150+; 2013 TBR Pile #59/50; Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #95/200

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