Toward the end of this book I was thinking 3 stars, but it had a good ending and i bumped it up one.
To start off; I like the plot of this story. After a second depression hits the world slowly but surely falls into decay. Numerous man-made viruses are infecting millions, the unemployment rate at the beginning of the book is at forty percent and declining, crime is sky rocketing and the police have reached the point where they're not milling to risk their lives for anyone. I can see this as a more likely end to the world as we know it than any events depicted by The Bible or the Mayan calender, but that's just my opinion. Some of the stuff in this book is a little off the wall (like bombs that set off massive bamboo growth over vast areas) but if I can suspend my imagination for flying airships and vampires I can do the same here.
The writing was handled very well, with great detail taken in the development of the supporting cast, but the biggest problem I had with the book was its main character. Jasper is in the midst of the end of American civilization yet he thinks and acts like a neurotic school girl, looking for his true love. I'm sure anyone in the situation these people are in would crave companionship, but the way the author set it up seemed a little too labored. If we've learned anything from the Star Wars prequels it's that romance in stories of chaos should be handled much more subtly.
In the end, as unlikeable as Jasper was, the book ended with some good suspense and surprises making it a decent read.
4 of 5 stars.