I wanted to like this book. It's been on my wish list for months. I thought I was in for a grand apocalyptic story with some interesting science.
My problem with the book was that a pretty big percentage of the people in the story were toxic to be around - selfish, small-minded, bitter and petty people that I'd avoid like the plague in real life. So, reading about them was no joy. I started to hope a few of them wouldn't survive. Colin, Kelly and Bryce were better than the others, but it was hard to care even about them.
The second problem was the science. I have a BS in geophysics (Geophysics involves remote sensing, so earthquakes, volcanoes and oil exploration is its territory, because you can't climb down into 100 mile deep faults or subduction zones). Everything I've learned tells me that volcanoes are extremely predictable, almost to the hour they'll erupt. That's why Mt. St. Helen's could be evacuated, well before it blew. There are indicators on the surface. Then there's the hype over relatively insignificant quakes. Yellow journalism paints even small earthquakes as sensational news. But, a group of geologists out in the wild would never panic over a 7.0 earthquake, much less a 5.0! Earthquakes, despite sensationalism, aren't people killers - they're property destroyers. Sometimes, in destruction of property, people are killed. Falling glass or power lines, liquifacting subdivisions, cardboard construction in third world countries? You betcha - people get killed in these situations. But, being out in a natural setting, away from property damage considerations, earthquakes just aren't very hazardous. A 7.0 earthquake has the following characteristics:
Difficult to stand; furniture broken; damage negligible in building of good design and construction; slight to moderate in well-built ordinary structures; considerable damage in poorly built or badly designed structures; some chimneys broken. Noticed by people driving motor cars.
A geologist simply wouldn't panic out in an area where no real property damage would occur. Even in a potentially dangerous earthquake, a geologist would be more likely to be thrilled and excited than to panic. You'd never work again. Your fellow geologists would laugh you out of the profession. You might as well wear pink hiking boots, you'd last longer.
So, I was a little disappointed with the science and a little revolted by the characters. But, I still rather read this book than about 90% of the books out there. In the end, I'm happy I spent the hours, despite the books shortcomings.