Note: I’ve stopped accepting books for review. However, Matt Pike is one of my favorite authors, so when he told me he had released a new book, I couldn’t help but read and review it (I did end up purchasing a copy). If you’re into post-apocalyptic stories, then I highly recommend this series.
Diary of a Survivor 2 picks up shortly after where it left off at the end of the first book, which was a heartbreaking ending. Jack has learned a bitter lesson, and it’s clear that he’s done a lot of growing up. He’s grittier, and more cautious, though just as smart as ever.
Matt Pike does a beautiful job of conveying Jack’s emotions, and I felt almost as heartbroken as him whenever he thinks of Fi. Yet, in order to survive, he must continue to be resourceful and brave and move on. Not easy, though Jack’s pain seems to lessen a bit over time, and he takes some steps when he can to work through his grief (over what he lost even just after the apocalyptic event).
His world has expanded, out of necessity. Jack knows he can’t keep living in the house he grew up in—too many people are poking around, and the food in the area won’t last forever. Plus after his tragedy, Jack feels the need to connect with people he knew in his old life.
He has far fewer light moments, and he doesn’t play games as much, but he still manages to be a teenager. He even gets to role play a bit, when he tries to find out what happened to his family friends. (Maybe his games have moved into the real world?) And he keeps coming up with great ideas (though some are risky) that in the long run could improve his life.
The author manages to deftly weave together the intense survival moments with the mundane moments that come with living in a post-apocalyptic world (fighting over food, but having no easy entertainment). There are also a few bittersweet moments, such as when Jack looks through old photos of his family, remembering both the good and bad moments.
Through it all Jack emerges as a leader. He learns the importance of alliances, and how to think strategically. Still, life is all about change, and situations can change very quickly in a post-apocalyptic world. Jack learns another hard lesson. I love this quote, which sums up Jack’s world beautifully:
“This world never fails to surprise. Just when you settle on a path forward, something new gets thrown in to the mix to make you question everything, or shove you in a totally different direction, or just plan mess with you.”
Matt Pike is a wonderful writer, able to take his readers on very emotional journeys with complex characters. He’s one of my favorite writers, and I can’t wait to read whatever he writes next.