Survive review

A compelling tale of survival against the odds and redemption…

Survive-alex-morel

Survive by Alex Morel

February 2013, Electric Monkey (Egmont)

Book jacket blurb:

When Jane steps on to the plane her plan is clear –

Go to the bathroom. Take the pills. End it all.

The plane crash changes all that.

Jane wakes in the mountains, surrounded by wreckage, with just one other survivor. Together, they must fight their way through the blizzards, and back to civilization.

Now, more than anything, she wants to live.

Review:

With the powdery March snow swirling outside the window, I definitely feel in the mood for writing this review today! But our little British snowfall has got nothing on the harsh wintry landscape that protagonist Jane Solis finds herself stranded in when the plane she is on crashes in a remote mountain wilderness during a storm.

This book is written with such immediacy and urgency that I found it hard to put down. Seeing the story unfold through the eyes of such a single-minded narrator made it pretty compelling stuff. When the book opens Jane is completely focussed on her plan to end her life; after the plane crashes and she is given a second chance as one of only two survivors, she is wholly committed to the fight for survival. In both scenarios it is her dogged determination that makes you realise that she will carry through, whatever obstacle is put in her way.

In the first part of the story you learn a bit about her background and the tragic family circumstances that have pushed her to the point of suicide. She certainly hasn’t had it easy. You can’t help but feel that she is a little selfish and self-absorbed, though – she doesn’t give much consideration to the pain her suicide would put her loved ones through. But then she’s put into a survival situation and she meets Paul Hart and the combination of the two forces her to reconsider her whole attitude to life. Her journey as a character is quite extreme and that is what really powers the story, though of course there is plenty of action, danger and suspense to keep the pace moving.

The descriptions of the environment are very vivid and it plays such an important part in the story that it almost becomes a third character, influencing everything that happens between Jane and Paul. In a book where only two characters feature for the majority of the time, the characters have to be really believable and stand up to scrutiny and I think the author achieves this. Paul Hart, for me, was a really likeable character and that shone through even in the beginning, when Jane’s initial reactions to him are quite negative. The dynamic between the two of them, of course, is of pivotal interest but I’ll leave that for you to discover for yourselves if you read it.

I would recommend this book to most people – but with the warning not to read it before or during a flight, of course! For me, the ending was quite predictable but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment as it was well executed. In-between the action scenes there were some beautifully reflective pieces of writing. I’ll leave you with one that particularly stuck with me:

‘Everything is silent, except for the wind. It sings, a little deathly hollow sound that bounces from rock to rock. It is so lonely, roaming through this valley. I know why that lonely song found its way into my heart before, why the very beauty of loneliness itself could become a friend. It is seductive and sweet, maybe sweeter than anything two people can share. I can still hear the call of it, but it has no pull on me now.’

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