Book Review: The SHTF Series by LL Akers

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Looking for prepper fiction? It’s my favorite genre but man…not all of it is my cup of tea. Luckily for me, I found LL Akers’ SHTF series.

I read Fight Like a Man, the first book in the series, on an overseas flight and I didn’t get a wink of sleep – I was engaged by page one. Here’s the synopsis from Amazon.

As a prepper, Grayson Rowan was prepared for almost anything; anything other than being totally alone when the sh*t hits the fan.

While he sat back and watched the United States rattle swords with Korea, play chicken with Russia, and strong-arm China, he felt sure if the lights went out, that he and his family would be ready and safe–whether it was due to a natural disaster or a man-made event. They had everything they needed at their homestead.

What he wasn’t prepared for, was his family not being home if it ever happened.

Olivia Rowan is with her sisters, Gabby and Emma, on a girls-only trip to Myrtle Beach. When chaos erupts and there’s no gas, their journey home is a nightmare, filled with predators and danger–and apparently, Olivia hadn’t learned a thing her husband tried to teach her.

When your neighbors run out of water and turn on each other, what will you do?

Jake, a country boy mechanic, never believed in TEOTWAWKI, but he’d heard his brother-in-law preach about it many times. He knew what to do; but he didn’t prepare. He lazily left it all up to Grayson–he was the prepper after all. When catastrophe strikes, will he continue to keep his head stuck in the sand while his clueless neighbors destroy each other, and his wife is stuck out on the road; or will he stand up and fight like a man?

And if you’re alone? Bug in or Bug out?

Graysie Rowan, a freshman at University, just wants to go home. When no word comes from the government, and the state capital is overrun with looters, chaos and mayhem, the college administration puts the students on lock-down. But her dad, Grayson, had prepared her for this. Now, if she can only remember what it was he said to do…

If they want to survive this post-apocalyptic event, they’ll all have to learn to fight like a man.

The end came not with boots on the ground, nuclear weapons or an EMP. It snuck in with a quiet clatter at the back door and flipped the switch, covering the states in darkness and sending this family on three divergent paths that ultimately lead home. When they collide in this surreal and gripping family drama, it won’t be without bullets and bloodshed. (source)

Here’s what I thought of the book.

The characters are realistic

As the characters were introduced in the book, I found myself nodding in recognition. We all know a Grayson, a Gabby, and an Olivia, not to mention the other members of the cast. Nobody is so noble it makes you sick, and everyone makes errors in judgment – as would we all in a highly charged situation.

The dialogue, thank goodness, is realistic too. My pet peeve in disaster fiction is when the whole world is falling down around the characters and they say, “Oh my goodness” or “gosh” or “darn, I forgot that lifesaving thing at the last campsite, how silly of me.”

If we’re honest, I think we can all admit that an occasional swear word will be dropped when the SHTF, right? So if we want the rest of our dystopian fiction to be realistic, it’s kind of silly to have the hardened Marine say, “gee willikers.”

All this being said, the book is definitely not loaded with profanity – but there is an occasional swear word where it’s appropriate.

This is a book that will appeal to both men and women readers. There is plenty of tactical stuff and male protagonists who are focused on homestead security. At the same time, there’s a simultaneous story about women making their way home after an epic disaster, for a change.

You won’t find women in need of rescue here.

First, oh how I love books in which the women are not damsels in distress. Most of the women in this book were incredibly smart, brave, and skilled. These ladies didn’t wait around to be rescued. As would anyone who is prepared for difficult times, when things went wrong, they got things done.

These women 100% were not victims. The book was very realistic about what can happen to women alone in a situation without rule of law. Their skills and their savviness play a starring role in the plot.

Not every character is perfect.

In some fictional worlds, every member of the family or core group is, well, perfect. Everyone is on board, they all “get it” and they are all serious about preparedness.

But in real life, there’s always at least one family member who thinks you’re off your rocker. Raise your hand if you have a family member who loves you but thinks maybe you’re just a wee bit paranoid.

Well, thank goodness for LL Akers, who shares the good, bad, and ugly about groups. There’s a character I wanted to smack more than once despite that character’s redeeming qualities. And that is real.

Prepper skills are worked into the story

I love it when stories have some prepper information and I learned two things in particular from Fight Like a Man (no spoilers.) The author definitely knows her stuff and is the person you’d want to be making your way home with after an EMP.

At the same time, the information is worked into the plot in a way that isn’t preachy. It’s not “Survival Lesson Number One: do this thing when this happens.”  It’s just what the characters do in order to collect resources.

It touches on taboo topics

Without being graphic, the book touches on taboo topics – and they are truly essential. Things like rape and drug addiction and mental health issues are rarely included in the plot of prepper novels – and especially not all of these things.

But, if it really hit the fan, every one of us would be dealing with these problems. Maybe not in our own families, but for sure we would be exposed to victims of these things in some way unless we are someplace so secluded that we no longer have human contact outside the members of our household.

I recommend it.

The only problem is that it was over before my flight and I couldn’t add one to my Kindle from the plane. I grabbed the other two books in the series the moment I had WiFi and they’re just as awesome. Grab this book – I think you’ll enjoy it!

The series consists of:

You can find LL Akers (and many more amazing survival fiction authors) in this Facebook group.

About Daisy

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, voluntaryism, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. She is widely republished across alternative media and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, Daisy is the best-selling author of 4 books and runs a small digital publishing company.  She lives in the mountains of Virginia with her family. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter.

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • Thanks, Daisy! You nailed it. Love it when a blogger reads my work and so perfectly ‘gets’ my story/characters. 5 stars on this review!

  • You need to read “Following the Strandline” by Linda L. Zern….good story and interesting women leaders.

  • Will add this one to my wish list.
    Yeah, read more than a few stinkers where the protagonist, a young 20-something, says,
    “You dont have a BOB at the ready?”
    in the first page.
    Then there are the hyper-taticool, shooting on the run, over their shoulder or behind their back and makes hits on the bad guy every time.
    Or lists. Joe-bob was driving down the road in his Ford F250, with blah-blah-blah tires, blah-blah-blah off road kit . . .
    Jim-Bob was cleaning his blah-blah-blah AR15, with blah-blah trigger, blah-blah scope . . .
    Yeah, put that one back on the shelf.

    • “Then there are the hyper-taticool, shooting on the run, over their shoulder or behind their back and makes hits on the bad guy every time”

      yeah, but a story where the “bad guys” hit their targets at all is pretty short.

      • You actually have a point there.

        However, the hyper-taticool, shooting on the run, over their shoulder or behind their back, book I was referencing, the bad guys do make a hit. Somehow everyone on the good guys side knows how to use a tampon to patch him up and he is back on his feet by the end of the paragraph.

  • I just finished the book and enjoyed it too. There were a couple of dumb people I wanted to slap.
    The part I liked was that although they knew they should get their S together they procrastinated like real people. You gotta know from the get go that Jenny is a donkey or a horse. It really held my interest but in some places the people were stupid. Still it would be an interesting topic for a book club type of discussion at the forum. It was a story in itself but still left a few things hanging to complete what happened to….
    I will be buying and reading the next book. Thanks Daisy for the review.

  • Love your review Daisy! Spot on with your review. I’ve read all three of those books and am a member of their group. You should read her psychological thrillers that she wrote about the 3 sisters. You learn even more about those ladies and what makes them strong!

  • Sorry: I wanted to like this book (bought the first book), but it was absurd. Biker gang members who are not armed, a “prepper” who hands the well bucket rope to a retarded boy who promptly drops it down the well (maybe tie a stick to the end of the rope first?), the same “prepper” disarms one of three teenage thugs because “the safety was on” (that old trope; surprisingly the other two thugs Don’t beat the S out of him) not to mention going out to tour the neighborhood unarmed after the SHTF, another of the male characters leaves a quad with his gun (which is not loaded because he is afraid of guns), his bug-out bag, and (presumably) the key to the quad (yes, they require a key) only to have it all stolen so that he needs to be rescued by two with-it, gun toting women (rare as unicorns in my experience). It goes beyond failing to be prepared: characters act with such abandon of common sense that it borders on suicidal.The result is a story that departs from the realm of the plausible. I guess if you like feminist apocalyptic fantasy you will like this, but I prefer something more believable.

  • Absolutely my next read, I’ll start it tonight. What’s better than a new book on Friday night, a whiskey on the most interesting topic. Thanks Daisy

  • “mental health issues are rarely included in the plot of prepper novels”

    heh. for a good reason. shoting a deranged person really doesn’t cater to the sheep/sheepdog narrative.

    1 in 100 americans are on ssri’s. going cold turkey off of ssri’s results in homicidal mania in 1 out of 10. thus, in any area you live, divide that by 1000 and that’s how many brand new fully functional homicidal maniacs are going to be in the streets.

    and that’s just ssri’s. lots of meth/fentanyl/whatever addicts out there, not to mention plain old ordinary coffee/alcohol withdrawals.

  • Sounds like a good read! Love a good prepper book (and love a series even more). One I don’t think has gotten a ton of lip service is “the shade of the moon” which I think is 4 books, if I remember right. More in the young adult category, which I also tend to really enjoy, but kind of nice from an accessibility standpoint for a lot of ages. Get those kids prepping! Lol.

    I don’t know why this article made me think of this but I recently read two of the more ridiculous thoughts about preppers by non preppers… one called out a guy for saying “I don’t want to be able to say I told you so but…” comment was “even a broken clock is right twice in a day” and I just though “yes, you GD idiot, that is the whole point!”. I’m sure he or she thought it was so clever without even a hint of irony. Lol. The second, and this may be why I thought of it, was basically someone writing about how they don’t think preppers are crazy (anymore) but that they think everyone should be focused on working as a community rather than watching out for their family and self. Again, I just couldn’t help but laugh. Not because I don’t agree with helping others, but the flip side of being prepared is that you may actually able to be helpful to others because you are in a better situation. Not to mention being one less person waiting in line for uncle Sam or whoever to bail you out leaving more for those that didn’t prepare. Hello! Put on your own mask first dummy. Anyway, I’m glad prospective has shifted somewhat but I’m sure it will be one of those things that a lot of people “keep meaning to do” but never quite get around to. Sigh.

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