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Book Reviews: Novels by Jacqueline Druga

November 15, 2011

Book Reviews

Book review of Druga books

I’ve been in an “apocolypse” phase in my reading lately.  Although I have interspersed some things on natural healing, plant identification, essential oils, and a story about making it through the Depression, I’ve mostly been drawn to survivalist themes.  Not long ago, I read Surviving the Fog by Stan Morris, which was interesting, and then the second in the Desperate Times trilogy, which I also enjoyed.

Nearly back to back, I read three novels by Jacqueline Druga, two of which were flu scenarios and the other was post-nuclear war.  I found Ms. Druga’s stories to be very suspenseful and the nuclear war one to be somewhat instructive, too.  The characters were interesting and there was plenty of conflict to heighten the interest.

H5N1 Code Name:  Greed

This story was told from the point of view of a doctor who was at the center of a flu epidemic, but personally unafflicted.  There is some government conspiracy, coercion for the greater good, and there are zombies to boot.

Dust

Dust by DrugaThis novel is about a group of retreat members who all try to assemble at the rendezvous point in the weeks after a nuclear war.  The cast of characters seems like they would be unlikely members of the same group, but there is room for lots of interesting conflict because of the volatile and diverse temperaments.  The leaders have some hard choices to make and there are lots of radiation illnesses to address.  This is also one of the few apocalyptic novels I ever remember reading which included a small child and all the considerations that have to be made.  Caring for children in major disaster would be a serious issue and I think she did a good job incorporating that.  In addition, the characters voice aloud to each other tips that could be helpful to the reader-  like how long to stay underground, excavating garden dirt down to a certain number of inches before planting again, etc.

The Flu

This was probably the most compelling story of the three to me.  It was an entirely different scenario than the previous flu novel, though I’m not sure the order in which she wrote them.  In this story, one small town in Ohio is somehow unaffected by the pandemic which is sweeping the world.  They take drastic steps to try to keep it out.  Saying any more would spoil the story, but it was a page-turner.

The Overall Reviews

One the one hand, I appreciated the storylines in each case and found them worth reading from the standpoint of giving me things to think about and plan for.

On the other hand, I am hesitant to “recommend” them to anyone for a couple reasons.  I may just be more sensitive than the average reader and these things may not bother you, but I feel I ought to mention them in the name of full disclosure.

  1. The language is atrocious, especially in the second two I listed.  There was hardly any dialogue that was not laced with gratuitous expletives, and often in front of the children characters.
  2. It seemed to me that someone along the way told Ms. Druga that you can’t sell novels without smut.  The Flu especially has completely unnecessary (and unwanted, in my case) plot elements of pornography, adultery, and other sexual sin.  In one case, there is an abrupt switch from one group of characters to a pair of men in the midst of practicing homosexuality.  To my mind, it was graphic and done for political correctness or shock value, I’m not sure which.  It had no relevance to the story.  I think all the stories would have been better if not tainted with these extraneous elements.
To wrap up, I would consider reading additional novels by Jacqueline Druga, but I would hope she’d rely on her strength in plot writing rather than resorting to “primetime drama” tactics in hopes of drawing a larger audience.  Those of us who enjoy this genre are sophisticated enough readers to enjoy a book without those elements, I think.

Any other novels I should put on my list to read?  Please mention them in the comments section.  I am always looking for good reads.

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13 Comments on “Book Reviews: Novels by Jacqueline Druga”

  1. Stan Morris Says:

    Jacqueline, if you like the older novels you might read The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne, and on a side trip, Oath of Fealty by Niven and Pournelle is a nice read. It is sort of a urban survival story in a dystopian Los Angeles. A huge building called Todos Santos houses a community that is big on surveillance.

    Reply

    • Laura Says:

      Thanks for the suggestions! I will add them to my list.

      Reply

    • Jame Says:

      This is my first visit here. I just finished rediang the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers and also a few other of her books. What would you most highly recommend to start rediang?

      Reply

      • Laura Says:

        That’s a hard one. There are lots of good ones out there now. Maybe Light’s Out or World Made by Hand? They both give you lots to think about with regards to all the conveniences/necessities of life that could be difficult to learn to live without. Once I began to view things through that lens, I found it easier to shift my thinking with regards to all the related topics.

        Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

        Reply

  2. Jacqueline Druga Says:

    Hi there! I am flattered that you picked up my novels. And truly appreciate your opinion. You bring up very valid points about the sex and language, and if you read my new works, you’ll notice there isn’t any sex at all and language is much tamer. The FLU was the earlier of the novels, DUST, was next, the H5N1. And as you could tell looking at that order, the sex and language was less with each book.

    Lessons that I have learned. As of now, DUST is going through a major edit, I will toss your suggestions to the editor to see what she thinks.

    In my Zombie battles books, my characters barely swear they are newer. And I believe right now, of all my books, The Flyu is the only one with sexual content.

    Again, thank you so very much for the write up. It means a lot to hear feedback.

    Jacqueline Druga

    Reply

    • Laura Says:

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. I hate to be critical of anyone’s work since I know it is in some ways a piece of them, like a child. (Maybe that is part of the reason I have yet to type a single word of the novel I’ve been formulating in my mind for a couple years now! I fear criticism. 🙂 ). I really did enjoy all three very much- I must have, since I read them back to back!

      With the order of the novels you listed, I can see you are correct about the lessening of the elements I did not enjoy. Most people may not take any issue with them since, to be sure, they are part of “real life.” But as a Christian, I would not have felt comfortable recommending others read the books without mentioning them.

      One other thing you may want to mention to your editor- I read your novels on Kindle and that version contained spelling and other proofreading mistakes. One that gave me a chuckle every time I read it was the “Untied States” of America.

      I appreciate your comment. I will be looking for your other books. They sound very interesting also.

      Reply

      • Jacqueline Druga Says:

        Untied States? Oh, that just made me laugh. In no way would I say what you wrote was critical. Oh, wow, quite the contrary. I was very flattered that you would choose me and my work. Really, I am and critical? Nah, many of my beta readers will tell you I am open to critique.

        As I mentioned, H5N1 was recently, very recently edited and as was The Flu, that had a major overhaul. The vew version of Dust I believe will be ready in a couple weeks.

        After reading your write up I decided to do a ‘find’ and see how many ‘F’ bombs I dropped per book. Not surpising, H5N1 was nearly nil. And after the edit, Flu faired better than Dust.

        But on the brightside, my newest work which i just completed writing has only 2 incidents of language and no sexual content. I am fixing this, I actually cheered myself when i saw the low vulgarity in my new work. LOL.

        I am still chipping away at trying to get a foot hold in this business and your write up has truly made a difference. I found your blog because I had a weird spike in sales for Dust one day, so I did a google search and found that the day I had the spike was the exact day you posted this. So thank you!!!!

        And thank you again for your kind words and support.

        Reply

        • Stan Morris Says:

          It’s not easy to find a balance. I had the kids in Surviving the Fog curse a lot (without using the F word) and the reason was to show how far they were from the influences of adults, but I when I reread the book, I still wonder if I went a little too far.

          Reply

          • Jacqueline Druga Says:

            Agreed Stan.

            My entire thing is characterization. Having been married to a military man, and constantly being around infantry men, I know for a fact, that a lot of military men use swearing as advectives, nouns, verbs, etc … So with that in mind, I tend to stereotype and have my military men be the main culprits for the swearing. But like you, you reread and wonder … did I go too far?

            It’s a tough call. You’re right … balance. Gonna look up your book.

            Reply

  3. Jacqueline Druga Says:

    Just download your book, Stan. Look forward to it.

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Book Review: Apocalypse Law | PreppingToSurvive.com - December 20, 2011

    […] Novels by Jacqueline Druga […]

  2. Book Review: The Nuclear Catastrophe | PreppingToSurvive.com - March 9, 2012

    […] For example, I’m realizing that I was mentally thinking that I could check radiation concerns off my list with potassium iodate in our preps.  Now I’m thinking that I need to read more.  Will KIO3 just protect us from thyroid cancer in the future but do nothing for us in the short term with regards to skin damage, etc?  What could we purchase or do that would sufficiently protect our skin, eyesight, lungs, etc?   Would our root cellar offer protection if we rode out the worst of it in there?  And so on.  I’ve been thinking about some of these things since reading Jacqueline Druga’s book Dust. […]

  3. Book Review: Dust by Jackie Druga | PreppingToSurvive.com - April 10, 2012

    […] Book Reviews: Novels by Jacqueline Druga […]

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