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Fail State

An Audible Original: End of Days, Book 2
Narrated by: Rupert Degas
Series: End of Days, Book 2
Length: 9 hrs and 28 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (42 ratings)

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Summary

On Zero Day of the first and last cyberwar in human history the internet went dark, transport and power grids collapsed and cities began to starve. Ten days later millions have died from thirst and starvation, from violence and from the simple failure of the world’s machines to keep them alive.   

This second installment of John Birmingham’s End of Days trilogy finds James O’Donnell and his friends Rick, Michelle and Melissa hunkered down in the wilderness, where they know a horde of starving, desperate exiles from the graveyard of the US East Coast is heading their way.  

On the far side of the continent, in the Pacific Northwest, Jonas Murdoch helps lead the good folk of Silverton in defending themselves from waves of starving and desperate refugees pouring out of Seattle.   

And slowly, cautiously navigating the inland waterways of California, Jodi Sarjanan and Ellie Jabbarah negotiate an apocalyptic landscape of burning skyscrapers and marauding gangs.   

All of them are seeking sanctuary. A safe place where the madness hasn’t penetrated. But does such a place exist?  

And what if they need to sacrifice their very humanity in the struggle to reach it?

©2019 John Birmingham (P)2019 Audible Australia Pty Ltd.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Great read....highly recommended

Read the first two books in the series in succession and loved them both. This is an horrific and thought provoking story, because it's absolutely plausible and so well researched. Everything gels here.The writing is taut and doesn't meander too far way from the story arc. Event narrative is full but there's no padding. The characters are all credible. The story doesn't depend on coincidence or ridiculous implausibilities to move it along. Full credit to the narrator, who acts the parts rather than just reads the words. His sense of timing and interpretation are a marvel. He's also very good at accents (although a couple of the female characters are a bit exaggerated... they stand out because all the others accents are just so good). If you like this post apocalyptic genre you will love these books. PS ....this series should be required reading for any British government minister thinking of handing a contract for the provision of essential infrastructure to a certain foreign power because they put in a very attractively priced tender (they couldn't possibly have an ulterior motive could they).

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Surprisingly good!

I wasn’t sure whether I’d had enough of apocalypse novels having ready many over the years, but this series is really good and just different enough to make you keep guessing; especially the very well though out way the Chinese did over the internet to cause chaos (the story starts by telling you this so it’s hardly a spoiler). Birmingham’s style is easy but sophisticated and his descriptions are vivid. The narrator was also excellent.

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Fabulous!

I’m really loving this series. The second book was even better than the first which did a lot of scene setting. Great characters & lots of action with top notch narration from Rupert Degas. What sets this apocalyptic story apart from most is the fact that this is wholly believable, in fact it seemed scarily prophetic! The ‘interlude’ chapters were great for giving the reader a real sense of the scale of what was happening around the globe. My only criticism is the jarring end to the first book & the jarring start to the second. There was no wrapping up or conclusion to the first book, it just ended very suddenly. Likewise with Fail State, there was no reminder of each character nor any sort of recap on the events at the end of book one. It did not in any way spoil my enjoyment of reading at all but spent the first few chapters thinking “who are they again? What just happened to them...?”. Overall though, great book & highly recommended.

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  • Howard Wetsman MD
  • 16-12-19

Two Down and I Can't Wait for Number Three

John Birmingham does it again, taking us believably to a time and place we hope never comes. From the disturbing insights into the mind of a sociopath to the anguish of parents made helpless by events, Birmingham sends us on an emotional rollercoaster that few will want to stop. Some of his past work has been nearly prophetic; let's hope he's just writing fiction this time. A must read.

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  • Jonathan
  • 23-01-20

Great reader

Someone who does proper accents and actually pronounce the english language properly. Really a pleasure to listen too.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • TD
  • 19-01-20

Hope it picks up

I have read most of JB's works of fiction. I am probably not his demographic but his writing is highly entertaining, and I think he generally works hard for his fan base. I enjoy most of the characters, even the antiheroes, and the premises are often clever and intriguing. The current series started out great, but the second installment feels formulaic and full of filler. There, I've said it. I began fast forwarding through chapters because it became all too apparent what the reveal was going to be and I didn't need to listen to 15 minutes of minutiae to get there.

Have listened to both titles in the series now and the story line is only scant weeks out from the index event. I'm in no hurry, plus there is a ton of potential material here, and would thoroughly enjoy the exploration. But not if I have to slog through 4 minutes of descriptive prose dedicated to the state of someone's bladder, or be reminded repeatedly of some character's quirks, or have to hear for the umpteenth time about this or that. One of the author's gifts is that you really do experience the setting, what it feels like to be in the characters' shoes, etc. But it feels like this is being done at the expense of moving the plot line along. I am not as keen to listen to book 3.

Rupert Degas is a gifted narrator but the production could have used a decent edit. It is set in the US, so giving non-standard pronunciation of certain words, and even some place names, was jarring. And if one is going to attempt regional accents they should be accurate/appropriate to the setting and refrain from caricature. But in fairness, the sheer number of characters, especially in certain settings like Silverton, must have been immensely challenging. Mr. Degas' overall delivery is deft and a great example of the fine art of audio narration.

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  • Nicholas J Meservier
  • 16-01-20

Too short

Excellent storytelling. I just wish this was released in 20hr blocks. It seems like not enough happens in the larger story since we get up close and personal with several groups, but in each one you feel like you’re there trying to survive.

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  • Eddie Muñoz
  • 06-01-20

Good Books

It’s a very good book and was generally enjoyed. I would recommend John Birmingham’s books and Rupert Degas was good and he did a good but every time he used that English accent it reminded me of that Geico lizard .. lol.

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  • Phoenician
  • 30-12-19

Only One Thing Wrong

Honestly, the only thing wrong with Fail State is that we will need to wait another 6 months for the conclusion to this gripping series. This is by far Birmo's best series since Axis of Time.

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  • Vallon Davis
  • 21-12-19

Outstanding

Great followup, picks up right where it left off. looking forwars to the next one.

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  • David
  • 17-12-19

Another page turner from John Birmingham

Finished in one sitting. Picks up where book one left off a great middle book. Can't wait for finale. I am sure The Lord of Content will not disappoint.

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