Tagged: masq1

Summer Queen by Amber Argyle

Summer Queen by Amber Argyle(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Nelay never wanted to be queen.

Poised to become the most powerful priestess in Idara, Nelay doesn’t have time to become a pretty bauble for the king. She’s too busy saving her people from the invading army sweeping across her kingdom.

But in defeat after defeat, Nelay begins to realize a bigger power is at play than that wielded by mere mortals. Only she can stand between the cinders of her once-great nation and the vengeance of a goddess.

[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook in conjunction with the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.]

One of the things that drew me to Summer Queen in the beginning was the idea that this was finally some different fantasy.  In the beginning of the blurb it sounded pretty typical but then things quickly got good so I decided to sign up for the tour.  And in the end I’m glad I did because Summer Queen is anything but typical.

We start off meeting our main character Nelay preparing to seduce a king.  Not because she’s particularly interested in him or seduction in general but because she wants to distract him while she makes her move to escape.  The king, Zatal, is not marrying her because she’s sooo beautiful or the usual tropes but rather because the High Priestess of the fire goddess has told him he must marry an acolyte of the goddess in order to save his crumbling kingdom that used to be an enormous empire.  Naturally, Nelay was chosen because she’s a high ranking priestess who is quickly looking like she’s going to challenge Suka, the old High Priestess for her job.  But Nelay really doesn’t want anything to do with this man (who is in love with his thoroughly unsuitable mistress, not her); she wants to find her family.  So she hires the smuggler Rycus and escapes.

Nelay is a very resourceful character.  Not only is her butt-kicking awesome but in general Nelay is very analytical and thinks things through before doing them.  She can sometimes be impulsive but at least she can also come up with plans while she’s doing the impulsive thing.  It’s really nice to have a strategic thinker as a main character, despite her flaws like arrogance and the occasional bouts of selfishness.  All of her more strong emotions are tempered quite nicely by Rycus, who is very easy going and thoroughly attractive.  In the beginning Nelay and Rycus aren’t exactly buddy-buddy but through all of their adventures in the desert, in the various towns under enemy occupation and in the last standing city in the Idaran empire they start to realize that maybe they’d make more than just a good fighting team.

The plot of Summer Queen is actually quite fast for a high fantasy novel but Amber Argyle never sacrifices background information for plot.  She maintains a nice steady pace with frequent bursts of pure action but at the same time readers get a pretty clear picture of the history of her fantasy world.  And the history we learn through Nelay’s eyes isn’t necessarily the real history as we find out later when other characters come clean.  Let’s just say that assuming things in Indara aren’t all that they appear to be.  This rings especially true throughout the final battle as Nelay takes on more responsibility than she ever thought possible and learns that sometimes you have to sacrifice a little of yourself to save your people and even then it might not be enough.

Basically, if you’re looking for some well written and diverse fantasy, I’d recommend Summer Queen.  It’s a great departure from a lot of typical fantasy tropes and Amber Argyle has clearly done her world-building.  Technically speaking it’s not the first book in a series but apparently all of the books in this series can be read separately with complete understanding, just like I did.  This is the first book of Argyle’s that I’ve read but it was so good I know it won’t be my last.  Just go try it out!

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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AmberAmber Argyle is the number-one bestselling author of the Witch Song Series and the Fairy Queen Series. Her books have been nominated for and won awards in addition to being translated into French and Indonesian.

Amber graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in English and physical education, a husband, and a two-year old. Since then, she and her husband have added two more children, which they are actively trying to transform from crazy small people into less crazy larger people.

To learn more about Amber, visit her blog at amberargyle.blogspot.com

You can find Amber on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

summerqueen(1)

The Tour Hosts

Week One

6/15/2015- Curling Up With A Good Book– Review

6/16/2015- The Mad Reviewer– Review

6/17/2015- Arkham Reviews– Review

6/18/2015- In Love With Handmade– Review

6/19/2015- In Libris Veritas– Review

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive the eBook bundle of The Faerie Queen Series. International!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/ZTIzODliYTI4ZTEzMGVjODBhNzA2MmFmMTU3YWM3OjMwOA==/?

The Taking by Terra Harmony

The Taking by Terra Harmony(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Eighteen-year-old Serena now reigns as queen of both the Undine of The Deep and the wolves of The Dry. The alliance between her maidens and the werewolves is shaky when all at once the basic necessities of food and shelter are taken away and both their worlds fall apart. After decades of war, the two societies must work together if they want to survive what lies ahead. A promised land is theirs for the taking, but first, they must survive each other.

[Full disclosure: I requested and received an ebook copy of the whole trilogy on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

The Taking picks up almost exactly where the second book, The Betrayed ends: with Serena deciding to move her entire civilization to a more hospitable environment.  And since she’s now officially Queen of the Werewolves after Alaric’s death and the werewolves are back on the side of the Undine, that means they’re moving too.  Moving two species who have been at war for almost two decades isn’t exactly going to be easy and Serena has no illusions.  But ever since the werewolves were given an eviction notice from the protected park land, they really have no choice but to move with the Undine to a place where no one in the government will take notice of them or otherwise bother them.  Lo and behold, they find a place up in the Arctic where it isn’t as polluted!  But how does one get from around Vancouver Island to the Arctic on ships without having to land and go through customs?

The answer is to join up with the annual boat race, but that puts the move on an extremely tight schedule.  Serena and the Undine must pack up the remnants of their civilization, transform into human form and keep that human form for almost three weeks.  As we saw in previous books, the Undine tend to dry out when out of water for more than a day and it gets extremely painful after that.  Not only that, the werewolves will have to learn to work with their former enemies and tensions are still high after Alaric’s death.  Hmm…put two different species who have hated each other for two decades together on a cramped space for three weeks and see what happens.  But as Serena makes clear to everyone, they have absolutely no choice.  Still, some Undine choose to stay behind because they’re old and set in their ways.  The move will decrease the pressure on the ecosystem because fewer Undine will be eating the sea life but the acidity of the ocean will eventually kill anyone who stays behind.  Still, as Kai and Liam tell Serena, it’s not her decision.

Serena is now a mature young woman.  She’s still struggling with being Queen at the age of only 18 but she’s really coming into her own.  Now that she has political clout she’s finally free to ditch Murphy and mate with Kai, who is patient with her and doesn’t want her to do anything she isn’t comfortable with.  Murphy takes the whole thing in stride because it means he can be with who he truly wants to without pretending to love a much younger woman.  Amidst the uprooting of almost their entire kingdom, most of Serena’s subjects can’t be bothered and Serena has the confidence to do what she thinks is right.  Still, things aren’t going to be easy sailing both literally and metaphorically because of the aforementioned former enemies being forced to live in cramped quarters together for almost a month.  There are lots of bumps on the road to a new start.

The plot is of course interesting because by this point I was very invested in the characters.  It was also quite a bit more fast-paced than the previous two books because of the time-crunch nature of the Undine/werewolf move.  At the same time, the ending almost felt a little too rushed.  It was exciting and thrilling but I really missed out on the little details of how everyone was going to survive and adjust up in the Arctic.  The journey to their Arctic haven in the end was very rushed.  I wish Terra Harmony had slowed things down just a little bit; enough to maintain the excitement without sacrificing her descriptive writing.

Still, The Taking was an enjoyable conclusion to what has been a good trilogy.  If you haven’t started the trilogy I’d definitely recommend downloading the first book for free and giving it a try.  And if you’ve stuck with the trilogy thus far you’ll enjoy the ending.  I know I did.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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The Betrayed by Terra Harmony

The Betrayed by Terra Harmony(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Two separate worlds; the Undine of the Deep and the Wolves of the Dry. A history muddled in war but thick with family bonds blur the lines of right and wrong. The youngest members of each race unite, trying to steer their people away from the brink of disaster. Serena and Liam must work together to resolve the problems of their people before the pressure tears these twin siblings apart. But the betrayed are angry, and are out for revenge.

[Full disclosure: I requested and received an ebook copy of the whole trilogy on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

With that doozy of a cliffhanger at the end of The Rising, I just had to read The Betrayed almost immediately after.  I mean, finding out that not only the King is Serena’s father but that he sacrificed himself to save her and the Undine?  That’s a pretty steep cliffhanger to end the first book in a trilogy on.  It didn’t make the first book unsatisfying, though.  It just made me want to read the second book as soon as possible!

So now Serena is Queen and the problems that were her father’s are now her own.  Not only is the ocean not getting any less acidic where the Undine are situated, the werewolves are still a huge problem after the mini-war that broke out at the end of the last book.  Werewolves were killed and Undine were killed; in the end it brought everyone no closer to a peace deal.  Serena’s father’s sacrifice should have ended the war between werewolves and Undine but Alaric (the leader of the werewolves) is still demanding that the Undine hold to the king’s bargain and surrender Serena for him to experiment on.  That’s obviously not going to happen now that she’s Queen, but Serena has more than herself to think of: only one of the women who were able to mate in the last book has been able to conceive and now the werewolves are blockading the beach again.  Cordelia, the woman in question, now has nowhere to give birth to her child and that’s a major problem for a child who might be the new hope for the entire Undine species.

Serena really is going through a lot.  First she learns that her father isn’t dead and is in fact the king and then he dies to save her and his people.  She loves one of his guardsmen, Kai, but has to pretend to be mated to Murphy, the Captain of the Guard for political reasons so that the older generation will accept her.  On top of all that, the supply of food for the Undine is dying out with the rising acidity of the ocean where they live.  Things really aren’t looking good for Serena but I was really impressed with her character.  She truly does rise to the challenge, even if things start out a little bumpy.  Of course she makes mistakes and isn’t the best politician yet but she’s only 18.  I shudder to think of most 18-year-olds (or 80-year-olds for that matter) trying to tackle all of those problems at once.  And some of the solutions Serena comes up with aren’t popular; still, she sticks to them.

The plot in The Betrayed is a lot more fast-paced than the previous book and some of the plot twists are far less predictable.  There was a lot of intrapersonal conflict on Serena’s part because of all the pressure placed on her but it was interesting since I’ve come to care about her character, particularly in this second book.  She has a tough job and she’s doing the best she can, especially since she was never raised as royalty and never even suspected that the king was her father and she was the rightful heir to the Kingdom of the Undine.  Yes, there’s also a little romantic intrigue because of Serena’s inability to express her love for Kai in the open but that’s sort of a background to the still-simmering tensions between werewolves and the Undine.  The way Serena resolves the conflict is brilliant, if a little messy and while the book ends on another cliffhanger it’s nowhere near as dramatic as the cliffhanger of the first book.

If you enjoyed The Rising I think you’ll enjoy The Betrayed just as much, if not more.  It’s a great second book that doesn’t really drag on and on because of how Terra Harmony makes you care about her characters.  You really do worry about what happens to them and Serena is a very memorable character in her own right.  Basically, if you read and enjoyed the first book you need to pick up this second book.  You won’t regret it and you’ll be just as eager as I am for the third and final book.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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The Rising by Terra Harmony

The Rising by Terra Harmony(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Seventeen-year-old Serena is the youngest member of a dying race. The increasing acidity of the ocean is destroying her home, slowly eating away at the once thriving underwater landscape. But since the night of Serena’s birth, it is an outside force that most threatens their dwindling population. Werewolves, who once served as protectors for mermaids in the Kingdom of the Undine, now seek to eliminate all who dwell in the ocean — and Serena is about to find herself right in the middle of the deadly conflict.

Given the title of Werewolf Liaison, Serena is determined to make things right for her people. When she ventures to The Dry, she meets Liam, the werewolf with hazel eyes, and her whole world gets turned upside down. As Serena discovers the real history between werewolves and mermaids, she is left wondering who her true enemies are.

[Full disclosure: I requested and received an ebook copy of the whole trilogy on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

I had read one of Terra Harmony’s books previously and thought it good, if a little preachy.  I was a little iffy about trying another book by her not because of the preachy factor but simply because I was still not quite sure how I felt about some of the scenes in the book I read, Water.  They were a little graphic, although justified within the narrative, but I was still a little wary.  But I still decided to try requesting the full Painted Maidens trilogy because it sounded good.

The world Terra Harmony has created in the trilogy is just amazing.  The main character Serena is a mermaid, although they call themselves the Undine.  She’s the youngest member of her dying race, which has been unable to reproduce because their land guardians the werewolves rose up in revolt against them and massacred dozens of mating couples and labouring mothers on the beach 17 years ago, including Serena’s mother and the King’s wife and children.  You see, the Undine do swim like mermaids but for normal functions like going to court, sleeping and learning they remain on land in the various cave systems near the island where they live.  It’s actually kind of fascinating to read the little details of Undine transformation because it’s not as straightforward as cartoons and other books would have you think.  (Which does actually make a lot of sense.)

Anyway, Serena is a fascinating character.  She was orphaned by the Full Moon Massacre 17 years ago and lives in a sort of communal nursery with other Undine around her age, although most of them are 18 at this point.  They’re indulged by society simply because they’re the last hope of the species but even among the last class there are hierarchies and old family rivalries.  Serena is most definitely at the bottom of the ladder until the day jobs are chosen for the young Undine and she’s appointed the King’s own Werewolf Liaison, tasked with bringing peace between two species that have been warring for almost two decades.  She was given the job in part because she’s always sneaking up to The Dry but also because of the hidden motivations of those in power.  I don’t want to give too much away but let’s just say there’s a very special reason for her appointment.

Serena is a fascinating character.  She’s more scientifically oriented and intellectually curious than many of her classmates but at the same time she really does lack some basic social skills.  Really, she’s the epitome of the awkward teenager and instead of being cutesy-awkward she’s often genuinely awkward as she tries to navigate the pitfalls of friendships and relationships with Undine males.  The fact that Undine society still has some ridiculous gender stereotyping and gender roles doesn’t exactly help the whole situation.  But when she’s named Werewolf Liaison Serena really comes into her own.  She matures and improves on her natural resourcefulness in an attempt to bring an end to the conflict that killed her parents.  And she discovers some terrifying secrets that society has kept from her and her classmates.

Some of the plot twists were predictable but I really do give Terra Harmony credit for keeping the story interesting and fast-paced despite that.  There isn’t a lot of action in the beginning but there’s a lot of interpersonal drama and tension.  It’s also a good thing that the action is put off until later because getting used to Undine society isn’t something that happens in just a few pages.  It’s so alien and different from our own that it really does take getting used to.  Undine society is far from perfect but you really do gain a certain appreciation for it and for its people who are just trying to ensure their species survives.

Basically, if the blurb or my review has got you interested, I’d say go for it!  The Rising is a great start to the Painted Maidens trilogy.  Plus, this first book is free on both Kindle and Nook!

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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Qualify by Vera Nazarian

Qualify by Vera Nazarian(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

You have two options. You die, or you Qualify.

The year is 2047. An extinction-level asteroid is hurtling toward Earth, and the descendents of ancient Atlantis have returned from the stars in their silver ships to offer humanity help.

But there’s a catch.

They can only take a tiny percent of the Earth’s population back to the colony planet Atlantis. And in order to be chosen, you must be a teen, you must be bright, talented, and athletic, and you must Qualify.

Sixteen-year-old Gwenevere Lark is determined not only to Qualify but to rescue her entire family.

Because there’s a loophole.

If you are good enough to Qualify, you are eligible to compete in the brutal games of the Atlantis Grail, which grants all winners the laurels, high tech luxuries, and full privileges of Atlantis Citizenship. And if you are in the Top Ten, then all your wildest wishes are granted… Such as curing your mother’s cancer.

There is only one problem.

Gwen Lark is known as a klutz and a nerd. While she’s a hotshot in classics, history, science, and languages, the closest she’s come to sports is a backyard pool and a skateboard.

This time she is in over her head, and in for a fight of her life, against impossible odds and world-class competition—including Logan Sangre, the most amazing guy in her class, the one she’s been crushing on, and who doesn’t seem to know she exists.

Because every other teen on Earth has the same idea.

You Qualify or you die.

[Full disclosure: I requested and received a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

Now, from the description of this novel you may be getting the impression that Qualify is one of those awful Divergent-Hunger Games hybrid novels that publishers think all teens want (again).  That’s not really the truth, though.  Qualify takes some of the good aspects of Hunger Games without the whiny factor of Divergent and makes something completely new and interesting.

Gwen Lark is really a klutz and a nerd.  When she takes many of the tests to officially qualify as one of the ten million humans aged 12-19 that the Atlanteans will save, she really does fail quite a few of the physical exams.  Sure, she gets better throughout the training and she really has to work hard at it, but she knows she’ll never be the number one candidate anywhere.  In this way, it’s a lot more realistic than someone who goes from nerd straight to jock who can kick butt.  But Gwen isn’t just a bumbling nerd; she’s got hidden talents that she’s terrified and really embarrassed about.  When these come to light, they change almost everything for her.

One of the things that Vera Nazarian does is write long books that still hold a reader’s interest.  Qualify is over 600 pages but you shouldn’t let that intimidate you because it really does keep your interest the whole way through.  Sure, some things start out a little stereotypical in the beginning but Nazarian’s amazing descriptive style takes over and things smooth out pretty quickly.  She really does focus a lot on inner conflict as well as interpersonal conflicts so if you’re looking for constant action, you’re looking in the wrong place.  This is a really great look not only at the lives of regular teens under extraordinary circumstances but also a look at how the world really would handle a doomsday scenario like the one presented.  At first there would be every effort to destroy or divert the asteroid, there would be collaboration with the mysterious Atltanteans who just showed up, etc.  But after that?  Things go back to an uneasy calm before the storm as people go into denial and then explode in anger at their impending doom.  All the while, millions of teenagers are competing for the coveted 10 million worldwide spots.  It’s horrific and fascinating at the same time.

While the characters and descriptions were great and the world-building was good, one of the things I noticed was a little rough was voice.  The descriptions of Gwen’s surroundings are amazing and the descriptions of Atlantean technology are good as well but Gwen’s voice is a little rough.  Sometimes her dialogue is incredibly mature for her age (16 bordering on 17) and other times she speaks and acts like a stereotypical teenager.  It makes reading Qualify a little jarring at times and I think this could have been improved with a few more cuts to unnecessary passages.  There is very little fluff in Nazarian’s story here but when there is fluff and filler you really do notice it.  If Gwen’s voice had been a little more consistent, this would have been an absolutely amazing novel.  Instead, it stays at ‘good’ or ‘above average’.  However, having read just one of Nazarian’s other works, I think things will improve with the next book as she gets a handle on her new characters and new world because Gwen’s voice was much more consistent near the end.

So overall the writing is good if choppy in sections, Gwen is a well-defined main character with complicated thoughts, emotions and goals and the world-building is a little vague but there are some hints at amazing detail later on for Gwen and the readers to discover.  Things get pretty intense sometimes and even though this book is around 600 pages, you’ll want to read it in one sitting.  I know I did.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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The IX by Andrew P. Weston

The IX by Andrew P. Weston(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Soldiers from varying eras and vastly different backgrounds, including the IX Legion of Rome, are snatched away from Earth at the moment of their passing, and transported to the far side of the galaxy. Thinking they have been granted a reprieve, their relief turns to horror when they discover they face a stark ultimatum:
Fight or die.

[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook copy in conjunction with the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.]

One of the things that Roman historians and various scholars debate is what happened to the Ninth Legion.  One day they were flushing out rebellious tribes in Caledonia and the next they’ve vanished into thin air.  Logic would point to their disappearance being caused by a total massacre of the legion and yet no bones have been found.  So what happened to them?  Well, Andrew P. Weston attempts his own little explanation for their disappearance as well as other mysterious warrior disappearances throughout the history of warfare.

While Marcus from the Ninth Legion is one of the characters and the book is called The IX, he’s not the main character.  Instead, Weston chose to follow around 3 distinct voices.  Their stories start when they were all ambushed and things get really interesting when they think they’ve been killed in action only to wake up and be told by extremely tall people that they now have to save an entire ancient civilization.  That really threw me for a loop because the stark ultimatum they find, ‘fight or die’, made me think that we’d be in for a gladiator show.  And that’s really the opposite of what happens.  Marcus and the others, including some of the tribesmen that killed him and his compatriots have to work together to protect the remnants of an ancient civilization from the mysterious Horde.  I can’t go into too much detail or I’ll spoil all of your fun, but needless to say that the Horde is not what it seems.

One of the greatest strengths of Weston’s writing is how much he thought out his world.  He has created an amazing scientific world where science and history combine to great effect.  The only real problem with this world is how we see it.  We see it through the eyes of various peoples, including the people that brought Marcus and the others there but at the same time much of the language is very technical.  You see, in order to fully appreciate Weston’s world I think you have to be a fan of hardcore science fiction.  That’s fine, but I’m generally not a fan of that so I found a lot of the technical explanations either confusing or boring.  But at the same time I think even fans of hardcore science fiction would get bored by some of the monologue explanations for how this or that works.  If Weston had cut down a little on the explanations I also think the narrative would have flowed better.  It was okay as it was, but it still could have been improved.

Overall, The IX is something I’d recommend to hardcore science fiction lovers who happen to know a little history.  Even if you don’t know a little Roman history, you’ll still appreciate and enjoy all of the effort Weston put into creating his world.  Because of that, although this book is quite long by most standards, it will quickly be a page-turner you don’t want to put down.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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The Dead Days Journal by Sandra R. Campbell

The Dead Days Journal by Sandra R. Campbell(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

The daughter of a radical doomsday prepper, Leo Marrok spent her entire life preparing for the end. A skilled fighter and perfect marksman, Leo is her father’s second-in-command when Armageddon comes to pass. Together, they lead a group of survivors to a secure bunker deep in the Appalachian Mountains.

Vincent Marrok is willing to take extreme measures to repopulate their broken world. Leo’s refusal marks her as a traitor. With father and daughter at odds for the first time, their frail community is thrust into turmoil. Until the unthinkable happens, a blood-thirsty horde arrives. The impending attack will destroy all that they have worked for.

To protect her home and everything she believes in, Leo puts her faith in the arms of the enemy—a creature only rumored to exist—the one she calls Halloween. An alliance born out of necessity evolves into feelings Leo is ill-equipped to handle.

The Dead Days Journal is a post-apocalyptic story of love and family told through Leo Marrok’s first-hand account and the pages of Vincent’s personal journal, giving two very different perspectives on what it takes to survive.

[Full disclosure: I requested and received a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

One of the things you have to know about The Dead Days Journal is that it’s not a zombie book.  More of a vampire book, to be honest but at the same time it’s nothing like classical YA vampires.  No, the majority of these vampires are hungry, rabid beings who have no higher thought processes at all.  There are of course some notable exceptions but these vampires are part of what makes Sandra R. Campbell’s book quite unique.

Imagine that the world has come to an end as you know it and you’re living in a small community in a cave, scavenging for survival, knowing that at any minute you could be vampire food.  What would you do?  Just survive or try to thrive and take the world back from the rabid vampires?  It’s an interesting question and many of the characters give it very different answers.  Vince Marrok, as you read in the blurb, is willing to take extreme measures to repopulate the world and poor Leo (his own daughter) isn’t even immune.  In fact, their disagreement about having children is part of the reason their safe little community comes to a dramatic end as everything they once knew changes.  I don’t want to give too much away because part of the fun is seeing how the two characters will react to each others’ actions but let’s just say that one or both of them will snap.  Once that veneer of safety is taken away, all bets are off in regards to predicting the behaviour of everyone in the community.

Leo is a very interesting character.  She’s matured in a world that doesn’t forgive weakness and she’s realized that humanity realistically has very little chance of coming back from something like this.  So, understandably, she doesn’t want a physical relationship with any of the men her age and she definitely doesn’t want children.  Why would you want children when you could be devoured by some insane creature at any second of any day?  Things get complicated when Leo decides that she does want a relationship because she does love one of her fellow group members, Ben.  Once her father sees her in a relationship, things get heated between the two and he does something that really breaks up their once trusting relationship.  And that’s when she meets Halloween, an intelligent vampire who tears down a lot of the preconceptions Leo had about his kind.  (Oh, and he’s definitely not a typical vampire either because Campbell made these ones unique.)  When the two start travel together and go through all kinds of hardships together, it’s not hard to see how things could get messy when feelings begin to be involved.

The plot is slow but interesting in the beginning and then it gets both fast-paced and interesting later on.  There’s a lot more interpersonal conflict than action per se but some of the conflicts between people get pretty heated.  It helps that there’s always this undercurrent of tension running throughout the narrative and even when things seem to settle down, they can change very quickly.  Just when Leo thinks she’s safe, she learns that she is far from it, for example.  Or just when she thinks that she’s averted a disaster and saved people, things turn out very differently.  The plot is very unpredictable; Sandra Campbell really does a great job at keeping readers on the edges of their seats.  I know I sure didn’t want to put this book down until I finished it!  And the cliffhanger at the end doesn’t seem forced so you’ll definitely want to read the next book as much as I do.

If you’re looking for some post-apocalyptic fiction but want something that diverges from the regular formula, The Dead Days Journal is a great place to start.  It’s got three dimensional characters, amazing world-building and a plot that just keeps surprising you.  I can’t recommend it enough.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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