4 out of 4 stars
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Shield Down by William de Berg is a story about the eruption of a magnetar called SGR 0245+05 which is within close proximity of Earth. As Earth happens to be in a period of magnetic reversal where its magnetic shield can no longer protect it, this leads to an increase in radiation, the gradual societal collapse, and an extinction event on Earth. Ridiculed for his theory about the potential destruction that can be caused by the eruption of the magnetar, Professor James Templeton is surprised to discover that his warning is heeded by the very people who went against it, and that preparations were made to ensure the survival of the human species by building vast and numerous underground cities. With the initial confusion faced by the knocking out of most power grids by the first wave from the magnetar, Templeton is forced to travel back to his home while evading trouble makers along the way.
What I liked about this novel is that the flow of the story is gradual and smooth, with extra details being used to thoroughly explain certain astronomical concepts and theories. For instance, the eruption of the magnetar is linked with Earth’s magnetic reversal stage which causes it to lose its magnetic shield that acts as a barrier, protecting Earth from harmful rays and eruptions. While the novel was slow-paced, the second half of the story was really compelling and engaging, with a realistic portrayal of societal collapse and the subsequent events that take place.
There was not much that I disliked about the book. The beginning was a little too slow for me, for the extra background information on the main characters like Templeton and Bazany helped add depth to the characters.
I would rate Shield Down 4 out of 4 stars. The novel was professionally edited with no grammatical errors. The story was very intriguing with unique characters and an appropriate amount of information and explanation about the concepts behind the exploding magnetar and its detrimental effects on humanity, and life on Earth in general.
Overall, this novel is spectacular. As someone interested in astronomy and apocalyptic scenarios, Shield Down was the perfect novel to read. I would recommend this novel to people who love slow-paced storylines as the first half of the novel is more focused on providing the background information on the main characters.
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