John and Arden are making their way to his parents home near Canada as they've come to the conclusion that their apartment in New York is no longer a smart or safe option. Unfortunately, the journey isn't as safe as they'd hoped either, yet following some serious trouble they make their way to John's home. Near John's home they encounter Gabriel who is John's older brother. Gabriel is a doctor and he's been caring for his teen sister. He is also our hero, the male protagonist of the story. He's a bit of a difficult individual as he takes his family's safety seriously and will do what he has to to keep them safe. He sees Arden as someone who makes bad decisions and is reckless and won't tolerate her doing anything to endanger his family. He's also attracted to Arden as well. Arden thinks that Gabriel is an a$$, but she's in his debt and for the sake of her friendship and her own safety she'll have to cope. Like Gabriel she is also unwillingly attracted to her nemesis. John and Gabriel's sister is the second supporting character. She's a teen with all of the angst, stuck in a world where she can't contact her long-distance boyfriend and where she's treated like a child.
A vast majority of this book is spent inside the confines of the Seong household. You may expect there to be a good deal of conflict between our main characters and the outside world, but there isn't. This is more of a relationship book than one based on hardship. Because it is a romance, it is primarily about the growing attraction and budding relationship between Arden and Gabriel. I liked these two as a couple and really like the attraction-laced dislike that they shared at the beginning of the story. I'm not sold that these two would have ever gotten together if the world hadn't changed, or if they would have stayed together if they had. They are two very different people with two very different personalities. That said, life did change and they make an unlikely yet solid couple. Arden's concern and feelings of guilt regarding her parents are also very powerful and work well in helping the reader to get a feel of who she is.
A great deal of the story was also about the relationship between John and Arden. They loved each other as if they were related and it showed. Each would be devastated and lost without the other. I like the little nuances of John. The little peeks that the reader gets regarding John's true feelings and fears. He hides a great deal behind sarcasm and jokes but there's a part of John that fears that as a gay man he'll be alone if the world doesn't go back to normal. I liked that his family didn't have an issue with his sexuality. It didn't really factor into their interactions with him at all. He was just John a beloved son and brother. John and Gabriel's sister also develops a relationship of sorts with Arden. She sees Arden as a strong woman and envies her to some extent. She is also another female to talk to and one that she feels can relate.
Don't get me wrong, while this is primarily a relationship building/post-apocalyptic book, there are spots of violence that occur at various points in the book. These are truly intense scenes that were crucial in letting me never forget what was really going on outside of the Seong home walls. I liked that the Seong family is in a sort of place of privilege. Due to circumstances that I won't divulge, they are in a better place than most. Hopefully in future books the writer will take this privilege away and force our family out of their comfort zone. There is also an important mystery that the family is in the midst of that serves to keep the story-line moving forward.
Overall this was a good start to a series. I hope that the story continues to move forward even as it continues following the lives of Arden and the Seong family. I want more about what has happened to the world and what's going on with the people in it.
I recommend giving this book a try.
*I was given a copy of this ebook in exchange for a fair and honest review*
Rating: A solid 3 out of 5
Published: February 2, 2015