Review: Ember

In the not-too-distant future of Brock Adam's Ember, the sun is fading, losing its light and heat. To rescue the earth from a slow freeze, world leaders hatch a plan to reignite the dying star. They let loose the world's arsenal of nuclear weapons toward the sun, then sit back and wait, as it will take three years for the missiles to reach their destination. Meanwhile, the earth grows ever colder, with temperatures below freezing the new norm in the southern states of the U.S. Regions farther north are encased in snow and ice year-round.

As the fateful, sun-rejuvenation day arrives, unhappily married couple Lisa and Guy and their faithful dog, Jemi, watch from a hillside, expecting to see a vast explosion and a resurgence of light and heat from the setting sun. But something goes awry and the earth is plunged into near darkness and chaos. In the days shortly after the nuclear fiasco, bald-headed militants violently take control, forcing millions, including Lisa and Guy, to become refugees as everyone searches for food, shelter, heat, guns and protection from the elements.

Winner of the 2016 South Carolina First Novel Competition, Adams takes a far future scenario of the sun's demise and brings it nearer, crafting a good guys-versus-bad guys apocalyptic maelstrom in which strangers must trust strangers to survive. Adams divides the world into the violent Minutemen--who exude a neo-Nazi, survivalist vibe--and the others like Lisa and Guy, who just want to keep living peacefully. Numerous violent and bloody mishaps provide contrast to bittersweet memories of life before the sun began to die.

Adams has adeptly put trust, love and faith to the test. In a believable yet unsurprising chain of events, Lisa, Guy and the source of their unhappiness, Heather, are forced to rely upon one another as they struggle to make sense of the New America that is unfolding around them. They must draw on hidden resources and strengths they didn't know they had as the mayhem unfolds. Although evil and cruelty are prevalent, the goodness inherent in most people also plays a major role, adding a nice, balanced quality to the storyline. With climate change a frequent theme in media, Ember offers a chilling scenario--and a quick, summer read for a hot day at the beach. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer

Shelf Talker: When the sun begins to die and the Earth starts to freeze, chaos unfolds as militants seize control in the United States.

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