Author: Al Barrera
Publication Date: 15. September 2015
Rating: 2/5. Stars
Diversity: LGBT Characters, POC
TW: character death, short mention of homophobia and child abuse in a memory
Summary: The old world is dead, and humanity struggles to survive in the shadows of the new one. Kyle, Sara, and Tim are scavengers, hiding in the remains of human civilization from the hungry things that destroyed it. Living on the few items that haven’t rotted in the thirteen years since civilization was wiped out.
But something has shown itself: A terrible creature that betrays an intelligence in the madness of the creatures that rule the planet.
When the group finds Kaylee, a little girl who claims to know of a safe haven somewhere in Tennessee, they embark on a desperate journey to find it. Memory and loss, depravity and salvation— their last run will put them face to face with horrors of both man and monsters the likes of which they’ve never seen.
Order here: Amazon
Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Kyle, Sara and Tim are on the run. They don’t know where they are going exactly, but they have survived 13 years already and they plan to keep going. When their last hideout is destroyed they have to run again, taking a little girl, the sole survivor of a bunch of scientists, with them. And if all of that wasn’t hard enough already, Kyle suffers from unexplained blackouts and terrible headaches and there is a monster with unimaginable power after them.
This post-apocalyptic world is filled with monsters and a few remaining humans struggling for survival. We get thrown right into the story where Kyle, Sara and Tim are hiding for the night. It is definitely an action-filled book and there is always something happening. Those poor characters could never catch a break.
Kyle is the leader of the team, but recently he’s become less reliable due to unexplained flashbacks during which he looses a lot of time and could endanger all their lives. He used to travel with his girlfriend and his best friend. After their deaths he nearly went mad with grief before finding Sara. He now wants to protect his friends.
Sara suffered trough a traumatic childhood full of abuse at the hands of her church because she kissed a girl (both are only mentioned in passing and as there are no other girls Sara’s age there is no romance at all in this novel). She witnessed her mum’s and sister’s death in a car accident when her powers appeared. She is one of the rare scanners, able to sense all monsters. This however makes her vulnerable to the most evil monster of all.
Tim’s family died during the first apocalyptic week and he has been traveling alone since then until he met Kyle and Sara. Despite his young age he is quite good with a gun, but Kyle’s continuous nagging makes him incredible angry.
Kaylee is a little girl whose mother was a scientist. But when they had to leave their Bunker and go out in the open all of them were killed. She is rescued by Kyle, Sara and Tim and together they try to travel to another place that might exist and might be safe.
The setting was quite interesting, but the world building was lacking. While we were told what happened at the beginning of the apocalypse it only happened in very short flashbacks and there was no real explanation for anything, not where the monsters came from nor where Sara got her powers.
It was also quite confusing to read, especially since Kyle’s flashbacks kept throwing me back in time and for a long time it’s not really explained who the people in the flashbacks are, which I found annoying. The chapters were split between Kyle and Sara. Kyle’s chapters offered me a great insight in his character, but Sara’s chapters dealt more often with her ability as a scanner and her receiving other people’s feelings or reading their dreams. Because of that I could never really connect to Sara. There is also no real voice for Kaylee, which was especially disappointing as I thought since she was on the cover, she would play a more important role.
The ending gives a bit of hope but leaves a lot of things open, which kinda made sense, but also left me feeling unsatisfied.
So all in all it was a nice book with a nice idea, but the world building was lacking a lot and the characters didn’t really connect to me.
Why I read it: I wanted to read some more post-apocalyptic stories and the cover looked really nice.
Do I recommend it: It might be more fun for younger audiences? But no, not really.