Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Review: The Executive Order by David Fisher

by David Fisher
Release Date: May 26th 2021
2021 St. Martin's Press
Kindle Edition; 384 Pages
ISBN: 978-1250183453
Audiobook: B08WJTZ65V
Genre: Fiction / Political Thriller 
Source: Review copy from publisher
3 / 5 Stars
In a post-Trump and Biden world, an independent senator, Ian Wrightman, is elected president to heal a nation frayed by extreme partisanship. After years of reporting chaos in the White House, digital journalist Rollie Stone and his colleagues embrace the normalcy. But after the country is rocked by a series of devastating terrorist attacks, the new administration springs into action and begins rolling out executive orders that claim to protect the American people--while slowly chipping away at their constitutional freedoms.
My Thoughts
The Executive Order is one of those books where I went from flipping the pages and enjoying myself thoroughly to grimacing and having to pick up something else.  For one, I needed to think about what was going one, but also because the author spent time building up the tension only to lose me in a long political digression that could have been done in a different way.  Trust me, I love my politics and I have a good knowledge of what is currently happening, but I wish the politics had been incorporated into the dialogue and into the story in a different way as there were times it felt preachy and condescending, as if I couldn't figure out what was happening by myself, or on whose side I should be. 
I really enjoyed the main character, Rollie Stone. A digital journalist, a former wounded Special Ops soldier, he thought something was suspicious about the attacks almost from the get-go and was a fierce protector of American fundamental human rights.  I enjoyed his interior monologue about what had happened during the Trump years as well as his political insight.  He was insightful, loyal, intelligent, and he was a fierce defender of the Constitution and Human Rights.  I totally felt his frustration as he was thwarted in his attempts to get information out to the people about what was happening as censorship from the government slowly tightened.  He was also frustrated with those around him who couddn't, or wouldn't, see what was happening around them.  Rollie was an interesting character and I would have liked to learn more about him.  
A couple of other characters I liked were Jenny and Laura.  Both of these women seemed like strong women, the first trying to slowly deal with the truth, the second, helping Rollie discover the truth.  Unfortunately, I felt the author really did a disservice with these characters as they were relegated to secondary roles that were truly underdeveloped when they could have played a much bigger role or had a much bigger impact.  
I am going to say the story does have a big impact and does make you think about the current political situation, not just in the US, but in the world.  I am not American, so I think I have a less biased viewpoint, but even I felt the author's disdain towards Trump in this book and thought it was excessive.  Got the point the first couple of chapters.  That being said, it does make you thankful for our freedom of speech and our other liberties, and I hope that if anyone takes anything out of this, that we remain forever vigilant to keeping them. 
The book is well-written, but while it can be gripping at times, it did lose me when it became more preachy sounding rather than a novel about a man trying to deal with his loss of liberties.  Because of this style of writing, the action was downplayed quite a bit and for some people, I can see why it would be somewhat boring.  For some of the scenes, I should have been full of rage and anger, but while I read in horrified fascination, the way it was written sort of robbed me from the rage.  Realistically, I should have been scared for these people, angry, frustrated, ashamed, and just plain furious, wanting people to fight back, do anything.  Unfortunately, the rambling took the edge off these emotions, at least for me.
The Executive Order is definitely a book that makes you think about our current political situation and how easily it could end up an authoritarian rule.  And for anyone who says it could never happen, I would think the German people felt the same way when Hitler took power in 1933.  While the book is definitely well-written, I did feel the tendency to go on about the political situation took away from the suspense, the action, the character development, and the shock value of the book, which is too bad as there was a lot of potential here, and Rollie is a great character.  Do I recommend this book? Yes. If anything, it will open your eyes and make you more protective of our human rights.