Top positive review
A great start to a new series based on post-apocalyptic solar flaress
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 31, 2022
I loved this book. Normally the first novel in a series (especially a post-apocalyptic one) takes a while to set up the characters and context of the story but I felt this one really hit the ground running. It was well paced and spliced with a few of my favourite things (totally sang that in my head): action, a bit of intrigue and mystery, potential romance (of which I hope there's more of) and just the right amount of suspense to keep me turning the pages, which I definitely did. Set on the premise that the world has hit its post-pandemic crisis, only to be thrown into chaos when solar flares knock out all electronics and satellite devices, rendering most modern technology useless, possibly for decades. Set in the Upper Peninsula area in Michigan, around the lake and wilderness district, a small town starts to feel the heat as food supplies drop and violence and mayhem is just around the corner.
Quick heads up - I went into this book mostly blind and loved it even more because of that fact. I've dribbled on a lot below about the characters and plot so if this makes you stabby in reviews, jog along, champ. I'll also add a couple of small trigger warnings - while nothing is graphic nor focussed on, there's implied physical and sexual abuse, just in case any readers need this flagged.
The book's told from four characters' point of view with a over-arching story line so while this installment has its own form of closure, the bigger picture is far from resolved. The four main characters who share the story telling in their own chapters all have a connection: the brutal murder of Lily Easton eight years prior. With the town believing the killer is safely locked away, their lives are shaken when not only is the alleged killer released on a technicality, but returns to his home town shortly after another violent killing takes place. The victim? Lily's father at their family home. With no one she can trust and her brother missing, Shiloh flees into the wilderness surrounding her grandfather's property, determined to find and rescue her sibling and uncover the perpetrator. Waking up to find herself covered in blood, Shiloh can't remember anything, similar to when she woke up eight years ago covered in her own mother's blood. She runs into Eli, her mother's on-again off-again lover and the man previously convicted of her murder. Instead of being afraid, Shiloh feels a connection to Eli who is using his Special Forces skills to camp out in the wild while plotting his revenge in finding out who framed him for a crime he didn't commit. Then there's Jackson, the all-round good guy who everybody trusts as the local deputy sheriff. Formerly Eli's best friend, Jackson's arrest of him shatters their brotherhood and while the latter is self-righteous and means well, as the old saying goes, all the glitters isn't always gold and some of his shine starts to rub off. Finally, there's Lena, Lily's sister who left during Eli's trial. Now living in Florida as a Search and Rescue operator, she packs up and heads off to help the search for her niece with her beloved Newfoundland dog, Bear. She was Jackson's best friend and Eli's former girlfriend (I'm guessing him sleeping with her sister might be a problem lol) as the four of them (when Lily was alive) being inseparable as youths. Considering the amount going on in the book, the characters were given just the right amount of complexity and development and I really enjoyed how their stories intertwined, particularly the three adults that were close knit that suddenly have their lives once again intertwined.
The book then centres around where Shiloh and her brother might be and who's behind the grisly murder all while their lives go to pieces due to the solar flare. The story had a great small town feel to it, where everyone knows everybody else while delivering an underlying feeling of ickiness where you know one of their own isn't what they seem and causing you to ask yourself: how well do you really know your neighbours? All of the characters started off with a bang and I'm really looking forward to where the story goes regarding the need to survive and in finding out who is responsible for Lily's murder. I loved what all of the four main characters brought to the story line and they offered a great balance of the two main tropes, producing a read that had me reading well into the early hours. The plot was well thought out, realistic and well written. There aren't many authors I one-click, but Kyla Stone is a fairly recent addition for me and this book is exactly why. I loved it and can't wait for the next book.