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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Average PA
As a slightly crazy obsessed fan of PA, I picked up Breakdown the moment I saw it. One thing often missing in post-apocalyptic novels is the `what happens after' effect - sure, the tension and action are high during a pandemic, but what is the emotional effect on those left behind, and how do they move on with their lives?

Starting with a prologue in January...
Published on 1 Dec 2011 by Kat

versus
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent but underwhelming
The description of the book is a little misleading. Whilst the world has been brought to its knees after the outbreak of a deadly flu virus, this fact takes a back seat for much of the story. It's not a typical post-apocalyptic novel that details the last stand of humanity, rather a story of a man coming to terms with the loss of his family.

Interestingly,...
Published on 5 Sep 2012 by C. Brown


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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Average PA, 1 Dec 2011
By 
Kat (Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Breakdown (Kindle Edition)
As a slightly crazy obsessed fan of PA, I picked up Breakdown the moment I saw it. One thing often missing in post-apocalyptic novels is the `what happens after' effect - sure, the tension and action are high during a pandemic, but what is the emotional effect on those left behind, and how do they move on with their lives?

Starting with a prologue in January 2000, a global pandemic smacks down the population of New York, changing the life of Chris in an instant. Estranged from his family and friends in the UK, Chris finds himself suddenly and unexpectedly alone in a world turned on its head.

Breakdown is the story of the fall-out of the epidemic, six years on. Life is fundamentally changed, trading and bartering is back in vogue and families stick together, living in the same house and working together to survive day-to-day life.

The unique side of Breakdown is in exploring the emotional toll of the epidemic that has changed the world and the dynamics of friendships and family relationships. Emotion is high, loyalties are radically changed and priorities have been re-assessed.

What I particularly loved about this book are the characters. They are damaged, changed and, against all odds, positive people - not only trying to survive but thrive. Family bonds are strong, love is more meaningful and the basic things in life are what the characters live and strive for.

Breakdown ends strongly, with high emotion, and although I'm too tough to cry (no tear ducts on zombies!), I couldn't put this book down. If you want a PA book that has heart and soul, Breakdown is the book for you.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 13 Jun 2011
By 
V. Cano - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Breakdown (Kindle Edition)
I have a weak spot for post-apocalyptic novels, so when I was offered a free review copy for this book, I jumped at it. I was not disappointed.
What makes this particular book work so well is the pacing. The readers are thrown into the remnant of a world we vaguely recognize, but we don't know all the facts. We know a plague caused all the damage, but we don't really know what that means. Slowly, through the main character's (Chris) recollections, we begin to get a sense of how wrong things actually became. That feeling of not quite having all the information creates a great unease that propels the reader to turn the pages.
More than the actual plague and everything that comes after it, what draws the reader is the character development and the very familiar relationships. We see Chris beginning as a haunted man, a shadow of a real human, and we see Pauline, a sensitive person who does her best to keep things together throughout the chaos, evolving and growing closer, healing each other.
The writing was spotless and engaging, the author's voice fresh yet with a bit of bite. I had a hard time putting the story down after I began to see all the connecting threads that guide us, and Chris, to the end.
Highly recommend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent but underwhelming, 5 Sep 2012
By 
C. Brown (Brizol) - See all my reviews
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The description of the book is a little misleading. Whilst the world has been brought to its knees after the outbreak of a deadly flu virus, this fact takes a back seat for much of the story. It's not a typical post-apocalyptic novel that details the last stand of humanity, rather a story of a man coming to terms with the loss of his family.

Interestingly, much of the story is set in the UK, namely Bath and its surrounding areas and a small town in Hampshire. I'm not quite sure why a US based author would base her story in these particular areas, especially when the story starts off in New York. That aside, she does an admirable job of describing the UK, and it's not massively important.
Throughout the story we read glimpses of the main character's background. Several years have passed since he left North America, and you might expect to hear a lot more about how he got to the UK, and ultimately look to find his remaining family. Only glimpses of his past do come up throughout the story, which is a shame as it would have been satisfying to read how the character was shaped throughout his travels; instead we have to make our own minds up which comes up a little short.

The world in which the story is set has a semblance of normality. Some towns have running water and electricity, some don't. There is a degree of law and order, but people live in constant fear of becoming infected as the contagion hasn't been eradicated. As the vast majority of the story is set in a couple of small villages, we don't get to hear about the larger cities, government/leadership, world events etc.

The story is restricted to what amounts to a small bubble in a vast decaying country. It succeeds in some areas and fails in others. It's difficult to know who to recommend the book to - fans of post-apocalyptic novels will feels a little short-changed Those who a looking for a more character driven novel may fair better, whilst it doesn't tick all of the boxes it is an interesting idea.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love in post-apocalyptic Britain, 18 Mar 2012
By 
PJ Preston "ppreston21" (Hythe, Hants, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Breakdown (Kindle Edition)
Others have explained the gist of the novel. I would never choose this genre - my husband downloaded by mistake to my Kindle! Once I'd started, I couldn't put it down - strong characters and a believable storyline of a world struggling to cope with a pandemic outbreak of plague.
Just one niggle - the author is clearly from the USA - her English characters often use Americanisms. I was prepared to let Chris get away with this, having come from the USA; but other characters' use of words such as 'pole' for fishing rod and 'slickers' for waterproofs (amongst others) did grate a little.

(review by Catherine, not Phil!)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interlining, well written book, 9 Nov 2012
By 
B. Bello (Stourton) - See all my reviews
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This is a very well written book. Great characters very well developed and the inter relationships between characters were superb.

I loved the concept of the book, the end came and it wasn't the end. The idea of a combination of a super virus and an almost complete breakdown in computer systems is brilliant. Our society is so inter dependent that it is scary to think what this would me to us as individuals as well as to our Western civilisation.

The author explored this storyline using the UK and did a really excellent job.

Having said all that it was not the thriller I expected, don't get me wrong it had plenty of personal drama right to the end.

If you are looking to explore the partial collapse of our world and what it could mean to ou and your family this is a great read with lots of emotional exploration, but if you are looking for a thriller then this may not be what you are looking for.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rebuilding after the apocalypse, 16 Aug 2012
By 
Alison "runninggirlcycling" (Derbyshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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Breakdown is a different type of post-apocalyptic fiction. It is less about the breakdown of society during a catastrophic pandemic and more about the breakdown of the protagonist after the pandemic. He is living in the USA when the pandemic strikes and he loses his wife and child to the illness. Alone, he makes the arduous journey across to the UK as he tries to return to his brothers in the UK. I'm a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction and I did enjoy this book, but it does have some drawbacks that mean it's not quite a 5-star book for me.

The author is American and there are a few slip-ups when it comes to American English - i.e. all the UK houses have bedrooms with closets (mentioned repeatedly!), a British person refers to her 'butt' instead of her 'bum' and other such niggles. I'm surprised the editors/publishers have not been more careful with this kind of thing.

The characterisation feels a little thin and superficial at times. Most of the characters are supremely good people: unquestioning, patient, kind, giving and caring - against what can be a cruel and unforgiving world. I would have liked to have seen a few more flaws in more of the characters, the females seem nearly perfect!

At the end of each chapter there are 'excerpts' from fictional songs relating to the rock star character. I just didn't get why these were included. Maybe it was just too clever for me to appreciate.

Despite the drawbacks I did really like the book and I would read more from this author. The world the characters were living in was a very different world to the one we know and there was a lot to interest and keep the pages turning. The story between the main male and female characters was engaging and although it could be labeled a 'love story' it was more than that and this is no romance novel. For something a little different than the normal post-apocalyptic I would recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Post Apocalyptic fiction? Not really..., 26 July 2013
By 
Me read (UK) - See all my reviews
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I'm a big fan of apocalyptic fiction and the premise of this one sounded like exactly the sort of story I would lap up. Turns out I was wrong.

Couldn't really get into this one and most of my ambivalence was due to the lack of Apocalyptic stuff. The story starts with a bit of prologue where we find out a plague has decimated the population (so far, so good) and a survivor has returned home to the UK from the US to find that his brother has also survived. Now, it was at this point that the story lost me... It stopped being Apocalyptic and turned into a Romance. It's probably better billed as 'A man's spiritual journey to heal after loss.' I'm a reader of Romance too, I just like it billed as such. I feel let down to have expected the Apocalypse and received angst ridden tales of therapy on the road to true love.

It's really about a guy who is trying to recover from losing his wife and baby. That's pretty much all this story is about. If the Apocalyptic setting was removed I can't really see how the story would be any different.

I feel a bit cheated, actually...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Laborious start, got as far as 12% through and couldn't bring myself to read any more., 18 April 2013
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This review is from: Breakdown: A Love Story (Kindle Edition)
The basis for the story seemed very good and really appealed to me. Unfortunately I found the beginning to be laborious with little depth to the characters, which meant I was unable to feel any connection with their situation. I also felt there were far too many characters, too much speech and not enough description to help build the reader's interest. Admittedly I only paid 99p for the kindle download and this was the author's first attempt but I really didn't think the book warranted me wasting any more time trying to get to the end, when there are so many other more skilfully written books out there to be read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sci-fi relationship novel, bring it on, 17 April 2013
By 
PJ Rankine (Wallington, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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When I picked up this book I didn't realise it was going to be a relationship type story, I thought it was a sci-fi novel about a dystopian Britain ruined by plague. Well actually it is but the author cleverly tells the story through the medium of a broken man sent to stay with a former psychotherapist who through her treatment brings out his story and at the same time gives a vision of life as it is in the then and now.
Gentlemen this may not be your usual type of novel but I promise you it works very well and is beautifully written. The characters and settings are completely believable and for an American author she has a sharp perspective on our country life.
Ladies you'll just love it anyway whether you like sci-fi or not.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't finish it., 15 April 2013
By 
Zola fan "Nana" (Hants, UK) - See all my reviews
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The setting is six years after a lethal pandemic and survivors have had to band together for safety and security in desperate circumstances. Groups of people have managed to carve new lives for themselves. These lives are totally different to what they knew before and there are always those who would wish to take what little they have.

A former rock star, who was resident in the USA when the plague took hold, has lost his wife and daughter. Grief-stricken and numb, he sets off on the long journey home to England to find out if any of his family have survived.

I had thought that Breakdown would be a good read because I'm a big fan of post-apocalyptic novels. Unfortunately, I abandoned the book less than a third the way in. I found that the plot dragged and there were so many characters I found it hard to keep up with who was who. I also found that there was too much dialogue and I just lost interest in the end.
This was not an awful book, the writing is intelligent enough, it just didn't do it for me.
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