I've always been a sucker for post-apocalyptic stories. In fact instead of playing the usual games with friends as a kid, like 'cowboys and indians' or chasies, we'd roam the post-apocalyptic wasteland of our backyard and the banks of the local creek - goodies vs.baddies, of course - but we'd be fighting not only the villains but mutated animals and dodging 'hot-spots' affected by radiation.
So, to see such books now being published I'm devouring them as eagerly as I played those games as a kid.
The Dark Ages Dawning series, written by Ellen Connor (the writing duo of Ann Aguirre & Carrie Lofty) is a new series for me and one I'm thoroughly enjoying.
Their passion will transform them.
Growing up with an unstable, often absent father who preached about the end of the world, Jenna never thought, in her wildest nightmares, that his predictions would come true. Or that he would have a plan in place to save her–one that includes the strong, stoic man who kidnaps and takes her to a remote cabin in the Pacific Northwest.
The mysterious ex-Marine named Mason owes a life-debt to Jenna’s father. Skilled and steadfast, he’s ready for the Change, but Jenna proves tough to convince. Until the power grid collapses and the mutant dogs attack–vicious things that reek of nature gone wrong.
When five strangers appear, desperate to escape the bloodthirsty packs, Jenna defies her protector and rescues them. As technology fails and the old world falls away, Jenna changes too, forever altered by supernatural forces. To fight for their future, she and Mason must learn to trust their instinctive passion–a flame that will see them through the bitter winter, the endless nights, and the violence of a new Dark Age.
What do I love about this first book in the series? Where do I start? There's a lot I really liked about it. The world-building, the main characters, the secondary characters, the story arcs hinting at what's to come in the next two books in the series (which I'm now hanging out for, BTW!!!).
No spoilers given, I'll stick to generalisations, so you can safely read what I have to say next. :-)
The hero, John Mason, is a tough-as-nails ex-marine/survivalist who owes a life debt to the heroine's father. He honours a promise to keep Jenna Barclay safe after the world succumbs to a prophesied change. So from the outset the hero and heroine are on very uneasy footing and this is part of the whole fascination I have for the story.
I love the process of watching these two learning to trust each other, first through necessity and then because they recognise the attraction they have for one another. Neither accept it easily, even though you can feel the need they have for one another.
As a reader you want them to get together but the whole establishing a relationship and learning about them as individuals is a very satisfying experience. So you know they earn each others trust and respect through the journey by the time they do get together.
The prophesied change and world-building is riveting too. The old world and technology slowly disappears and the characters have to come to terms with that as well as the new world order of mutated animals and supernatural powers.
This isn't so fantastic that you know it's far-fetched or impossible, the exact opposite actually. There's enough realism woven into it that you think it could happen. It was done so well I was definitely able to suspend my disbelief and lose myself in the story rather than analyse it (as I would a writer reading another writer).
The secondary characters are great too and when I read the blurbs for the other books in the series I realised they get their own stories and because of the connection and empathy I had for them I immediately went out and pre-ordered them. LOL
So, if you're looking for a solid, satisfying post-apocalyptic adventure/romance with great characters and a strong storyline then get thee to a bookstore and buy this series. I don't think you'll be disappointed!
Other books in this series:
Their desire destroys her defenses.
Their love gives him a reason to live.
Three years of wandering the post-apocalyptic wasteland has stripped Dr. Chris Welsh of humanity and hope. He’s a dangerous man now, full of dark energy and yen for violence. A harrowing loss drove him from his home, and he hasn’t stopped moving since. Grim and sardonic, he never found anything worth sticking around for–until now.
Rosa Cortez runs Valle de Bravo, a haven of civilization amid the chaos of the Change. Soldiers take their orders directly from her–the iron hand within a velvet glove. The last thing she needs is a feral loner upsetting the town’s tentative balance. However, for the good of her people, she lets the sexy doctor stay. He evokes a delicious new longing, but she won’t submit to any man.
Tension rises as bloodthirsty raiders strike again and again, bent on possessing Valle and its resources. Together Chris and Rosa battle hellhounds and dust pirates while also fighting desperate attraction. To save them, love must overcome the pain of the past–and build a future in this brutal Dark Age…
Their mission was to save the world.
Their destiny is to fall in love.
It’s been twelve years since the Change, and Penelope Sheehan is one of the few still practicing magic for the good of humanity in this dark, dangerous world. Determined to infiltrate the notorious O’Malley organization, she poses as an abducted girl–until a furious lion thwarts her mission. When the beast turns into a devastatingly handsome man, she recognizes in him the troubled boy she once knew.
Since becoming a skinwalker, Tru Daugherty has allowed his animal nature to take over. Aloof and cynical, he takes no interest in making the world a better place. He’s a creature of instinct and impulse, living only to satisfy his senses–ignoring the scarred heart nobody has ever reached. He’s also the best man to help Pen bring down the O’Malley crime ring.
Fighting alongside the last holdouts of humanity, they unleash a passion that tempts them to risk everything for love. But if they succeed, Tru and Pen hold the power to brighten the Dark Age for all time.