Rating: 5 out of 5
“When I was little I used to climb in my treehouse and pretend a dragon kidnapped me and yell for my dad to come and rescue me. I guess he got sick of me pestering him every five minutes, because one day he came home with a plastic sword from the store and said I needed to learn how to rescue myself.” A smile tempered her tone. “So I told him now we had to take turns rescuing me.”
Bastian’s throat ached.
[Name removed] was silent for a long while before she spoke again. “I don’t remember whose turn it is though.”
Bastian and Jack have been friends for more than half their lives, lovers since high school. They have a rhythm, a kind of routine, but as with many relationships, things become rocky. That’s why they head back to Missouri, their home state, to rekindle their romance with a hike that they took as teenagers. That, and Jack needs to do research for his masters.
What unfolds after their short time on that mountain is nothing short of disastrous. The world, once so colorful, is blanketed in dull gray ash. But the ash brings more than darkness with it, and the world as Jack and Bas knew it is a broken, mangled thing of the past.
The water stain on the wall looked like a face. There was a word for that: the way the brain interpreted random shapes and patterns as faces. That had seemed nice once, that people were always searching for meaning around them, for connections with other people. Something spiritual. But he’d be wrong; it was something primal instead, something vicious. Something in an animal’s brain that needed to see a predator in a split-second through any camouflage.
I went into this hoping for something dark and twisted, and I got exactly what I wanted. The world that Lisa Henry and M. Caspian created was nothing short of divine, a true and original conception of a time that we conceptualize as apocalyptic.
There’s something about shows and movies that allow their watcher to experience something that is almost outside their existence, like travelling to another place we hope we never actually have to exist in, but get some sort of sick thrill from watching others suffer within the imaginative doom. This book did that for me. It painted a scenario that I would do anything never to live through, but some part of me ached to touch it and the way it was written gave me that ability to grasp at it, at what the world would look like in a thick layer of ash and without rules. It was a treasure to read.
The authors boldly went into the darkest places of humanity, right to the edge. They looked at the way some humans react to chaos, and how a world without rules creates monsters out of men. Then, they took men, men who we got to know, and showed us just how far they would go to survive. It was beautiful and more than a little bit raw. I have a great deal of respect for the authors who exposed the depths of a human that others are afraid to acknowledge.
Then there’s the way in which they took characters, characters who did absolutely despicable things, and made you feel with them, for them. When Bas was going through emotions, I went through them too – that confusion about a saving grace or the one thing that would push him over the cliff. I felt the way he grasped onto everything that he could just to push ahead, and how the pain was more than just a physical thing for him. He breathed it, and he moved on. He was truly a strong, unapologetic character.
It’s simple, this story is not going to be for everyone. Another reviewer has mentioned that it’s not a romance, and I would agree to an extent. It’s about survival, and about moving forward together, and if that’s not just a little romantic, I don’t know what is. Even in the fucked-up world Henry and Caspian created, there was something tender to that realization. It’s dark and brutally honest, and if you’re not ready to confront that, you’re going to be left with a bitter taste in your mouth. But if you can confront it, well then you’ll be quite pleased.
In sum, this was a wonderful and memorable book in a world that I would love to read more of, after all the ash touched more than just their small area, right?
The cover art by Natasha Snow is simply beautiful and fits the story so well. It has that dark edge and the shadows that reflect in the story.
Sales Links: Amazon Buy it Here
ebook, self published
Expected publication: April 17th 2015