Arden Highmore was living your average postgrad life in Rochester, New York, when someone flipped the “off” switch on the world. No cell phones, no power, no running water—and no one knows why. All she and her roommate, John, know for sure is that they have to get out, stat. His family’s cabin near the Canadian border seemed like the safest choice.
When scavengers attack, it’s John’s ridiculously handsome brother, Gabriel, who comes to the rescue. He saves Arden’s life, so he can’t be all bad…but he’s also a controlling jerk who treats her like an idiot. Now their parents are missing and it seems John, Gabriel, their kid sister, Maggie, and Arden are the only people left alive who aren’t bloodthirsty maniacs.
No one knows when—or if—the lights will come back on and, in the midst of all that, Arden and Gabriel are finding that there’s a fine line indeed between love and hate. How long can they expect to last in this terrifying new world, be it together or apart?
Mixed feelings about this one – it’s alright but not what it says on the tin.
I like how the first chapter hits the ground running. Our apocalypse is introduced (cause unknown) and Arden and roommate John have to make their way to safety. They get ambushed and there’s a fight scene that pulled me into the story immediately. We meet the hero Gabriel, John’s brother. They make their way to the cabin and hang out.
For a loooooong time.
Food stocks are secure, there’s a generator if they really need it, boards are on the windows. All they need to do is wait for… something?… to happen. The apocalypse/romantic suspense vibe is replaced with a snowbound romance plot, with the unwelcome addition of Gabriel’s siblings thrown in. So we go from “fight all.the.things the world is ending, ahh!” to “let’s talk about our family relationship issues, shall we? It seems the world might be ending.”
Which would be fine, normally. Cole shows the friction between characters to great effect and their relationships are thought out. But the plot evolves in such a way that the mysterious Big Bad turns out to be not much at all, and the questions I had on page one were left unanswered.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s some great stuff in here. A romance that is both interracial and intercultural, believable inner lives for the characters, and that great first chapter. I was hoping the action-plus-romance would continue, but no luck there. Ah, well. I’m interested in reading Cole again – I see she has a civil rights era romance, ooo – but I’ll pass on the rest of this series.