I received this book for free from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
A true friendship never dies. Leisel and Evelyn lost everything. Husbands. Families. Friends. Lives that made sense. All they had left was each other, and a friendship that could withstand anything... Even an apocalypse. Until one fateful night, the marginal safety they'd come to rely on comes to a vicious and brutal end. With the help of Alex & Jami, both unlikely allies, Leisel and Evelyn are able to escape their shattered sanctuary only to find themselves face-to-face with a much altered, much crueler life where they have to find the way-and the will-to stay alive in a world they no longer recognize. Traveling across a broken and infection-ridden country; the road-weary group are pitted against endless violence, improbable circumstances, and the ultimate loss. Everything comes at a price-especially safety, the cost of which could very well strip them of the one thing they've tried so hard to cling to: their humanity. Yet along with all the trials they're forced to endure, there's also hope in the form of love. Having loved Leisel from afar, Alex attempts to put the pieces of her fractured heart back together. But in such a savage world, is there room for love? In a place of nightmares-made-reality, where the living should be feared far more than the dead, an unbreakable friendship and a love amongst all odds can mean the difference between life and death. There are friends... And then there are Leisel and Evelyn.Pages: 366
Published by Createspace Independent Pub Genres: Dystopian, Fiction
Say what you want about the Zombie Apocalypse, but when it all hits the fan, I want to be on Madeline Sheehan & Claire C. Riley’s team! Also, they have officially made our list of Authors We Want to Get Drunk With.
“When the world awoke again, it awoke with a rattling groan that promised only misery and loss”
I am struggling to find the words to express how much I loved this book. It was compelling, exciting, gripping and so damn intense! I suffered a terrible book hangover which resulted in me stalking Claire C. Riley and purchasing several of her books. (Sorry Claire!) This is one writing team that I will read again and again. The authors’ ability to create such a vivid post-apocalyptic world was almost frightening. It was like there was a film of filth over everything. I was afraid of the beautiful landscapes as much as the ugly ones. I questioned everything they saw. When they entered a room, I was right there with them. And this begins with the blood on the first page.
The Main focus of the story was Leisle and Evelyn’s friendship; the ability to draw strength from each other and love each other through the worst of all scenarios. I was truly impressed with the complexity of the characters. They came right off the pages! I have rarely felt completely connected to a group of characters like I did with this book. I felt everything they felt and my heart never stopped racing. I ached for them as they struggled, mentally, physically and emotionally. As I read I could was sucked into their world and found myself questioning everything this new world had to offer right alongside of them. I really enjoyed how different Lei & Eve were and how they drew from each other’s strength.
“We simply survived.”
It’s tough to decide which character I identified with the most. I felt bonded to them all. I couldn’t stop wondering how I would handle each and every situation they faced. Alex was a strong man. He was honorable and clung to that with everything he had. Lei was soft and sweet in a world where that wouldn’t survive. Eve and Lei had a friendship that was founded on happiness and fused through adversity. I loved the way they loved each other. They had a true sisterhood.
“Always together, I promise.”
It would be difficult to talk about any moment in the book without revealing spoilers or just ruining the pace of the book for the next reader. There were so many moments I loved in this book because they made me FEEL. And I left a lot. I was terrified, sad, happy, concerned and anxious as all hell. I was overwhelmed by the emotions this book elicited. It took me forever to read this book. It was brutal. It was intense. To feel so attached to these people and then witness their journey was hell. But I couldn’t look away. I had to know. I needed them to survive. To be OK. I needed each of them to feel some sense of peace.
“The threat that lay behind closed doors, lurking in the shadows, was always far more deadly than the danger in plain sight.”
I am most surprised by the fact that I found myself caring about the adversaries as much as the heroes. There were a few characters I should have disliked or even hated that I wanted to know more about. I wanted their backstories. I wanted to know who they were before the infection. Before the world ended.
The alternating POV was completely necessary with this story. With Eve and Lei being so different, I needed to know not only how each woman was feeling, but what they were each seeing. The writing in his book was phenomenal. It was flawless. I found the POVs most fascinating when the women were each in a similar situation but had very different experiences. It was pure genius.
What was most fun about this book for me was being sucked in by the very first page and any questions that arose throughout the story were answered later. I never found myself confused or lost. I was just there. Among the filth and infected. Waiting for the next moment.
I NEVER SAW THE ENDING COMING. I was shocked and then thrilled all at once. Part of what happened I was hoping for all along, but it was all a surprise. I was oddly at peace with how it ended. I loved this book from start to finish. I loved it and was scarred by it at the same time.
6 GIMME-MORE-NOW-STARS and pair it with homemade, backwoods moonshine!
Meet the Authors
A Social Distortion enthusiast, lover of mud and anything deemed socially inappropriate, Madeline was homegrown in Buffalo, New York, where she can be found engaging in food fights and video game marathons with her husband and son.
Claire C. Riley
A reader and writer of dark paranormal romances and zombie horror, plus a ton of other things to give you chills!
She lives in the United Kingdom with her three young daughters, husband and one scruffy dog!
Claire C Riley’s work is best described as the modernization of classic, old-school horror. She fuses multi-genre elements to develop storylines that pay homage to cult-classics while still feeling fresh and cutting-edge. She writes characters that are realistic and kills them without mercy.
She is an avid reader of all genres, book collector, general procrastinator and has a great zombie apocalypse plan in place thanks to a questionnaire she asked her readers to fill in for her.
She encourages reader participation on her blog, author Facebook page, and twitter account with questionnaires, quizzes, and fan art. So please feel free to stalk her at any of those places!