Author: Rebecca Ethington
Publisher: Imdalind Press
Length: 322 pages
Source: Purchased e-Book
Everyone remembered the day the sky went black. The day the sun was wiped from the sky. They remember the wind as it brought in the darkness; the way the earth shook and everything changed.
Everyone remembered the screams as the darkness ate those who were out in the open, those who had surrounded themselves by light, and those who made noise.
Everyone remembered the voice from the sky and the way food disappeared.
At least, that’s what I hoped. I hoped that there was an ‘everyone’ that would remember because I am not sure how many are left, how many survived. Or if anyone did.
I hoped that I wasn’t alone.
I remembered that day.
I remembered because it was the day I became alone.
It was the day that everything was perfect until the monsters took it away. Then the house went silent and the birds stopped singing. It was the day when everyone disappeared, everyone except the boy, the only person I have seen in two years.
The boy I talk to through the glass.
Protagonist: At the start of this book, our main character, Alexis, is going through a lot of typical things a graduating high school senior would, whether or not to blow off that assignment, what to take to college, and wondering why her best friend, who she's been in love with nearly all her life, is looking at her different. If only these were her main struggles in this novel, but unfortunately all hell breaks loose and now her main goal is surviving the monsters that appeared as if from nowhere and blotted out the skies, the monsters who rule with an iron fist, who will kill you if you break their rules. After two years in the hell wrought by these monsters, Lex just wants life to go back to normal, she wants to have real conversations, not just signing back and forth through panes of glass to Cohen, the only human she knows left alive. She grows sick and tired of the monotonous daily life she has, but with no way to fight back all seems hopeless. Okay, so I'm really trying not to spoil anything, as I usually use the synopsis to gauge what would be too much of a spoiler, but what I can say is that I really like Lex as a character. She's a survivor in more ways than one and when push comes to shove she'll do whatever it takes not only save herself but those she cares about as well.
Romance: There actually isn't as much romance in this as I expected there to be. A few years ago I did read the first novella in this series, which takes up the first "Part" of this novel, and there's a good amount of romance in it. In fact, I remember thinking how it felt a lot like an insta-love, however since we got a good sense of the characters' history and their chemistry was written very well, the pacing of the romance never bothered me, and honestly that still held true when I read it again. However, the first part is really where the majority of the romance is. I guess after the world goes to shit it's not exactly the best time to be all lovey-dovey and romantic. I really do like the romance between Lex and Cohen, it's so sweet and innocent at first, while Lex has known her feelings for Cohen so long, Cohen is just discovering his and then throw this whole apocalypse thing into the mix and things get really intense really fast.
World Building: One of the things that have always fascinated me about this series is how it doesn't just pick up post-apocalypse, instead there's a good chunk of the book that reads more like a contemporary. Everything is light and fluffy, the most our main character has to worry about is if the boy she likes, likes her back. Then all hell breaks loose and we get to see it happen, we learn about it from someone who survived it, instead of picking up with someone long after the apocalypse has happened. The word I would use to describe this world is "Dark" in every sense of the word. The pain and struggles that Lex and Cohen go through on a daily basis are laid out for the reader to see and experience. I really wish I could talk more, I mean, there are definitely things I want to say that I don't think would be too spoilery, but I don't want to risk it, instead I'll say that the terror you see in the beginning of this catastrophe is just that, the beginning.
Predictability: One of the great things about Rebecca Ethington is that she doesn't follow a set of tropes when she writes her stories, while there are definitely some tropes in this story, for the most part, things happen in an unexpected manner. Even with the many, many stories I've read by her, I still get blown away when she throws a curveball into this story, and let me tell you there's an intense curveball thrown into this story. Obviously, I won't tell you what it is, but even though there was a bit of foreshadowing I still never saw it coming, and I'm extremely interested to see how it plays out in later installments. Overall, this story has a great balance of moments that, given the amount of foreshadowing, you can see coming, and moments that will drop your jaw and slap you silly.
Ending: Gah! There are so many things I felt during this finale. I mean, it's obvious that this is just the beginning. There's a great final climax that raises just as many, if not more questions than it answers, and then, during that moment where normally you'd have a cooldown period, and since this is a first book you'd probably plateau it so that the wait for the next book isn't as agonizing, yeah that's gone. Instead, we get a cliffhanger followed by an epilogue of sorts that just raises more questions and makes the wait, if there was one, P.S. there's not, all the more excruciating.
Holy crap, did I love this book. I mean the characters are incredible, the action is amazing, and the world building is out of this world. There are definitely parts of the book, small, if not minuscule, where the narrative drags, but once a certain point is hit, things speed up and don't slow down. I can't wait to dive into the next installment.