Reviewed by May
A group of men have been in some kind of sleep and fifty years have passed. They emerge from the cave they had been in and notice changes in themselves, as they venture outside they discover that the whole world has changed. Zombies, Atlanteans, and all kinds of hell have broken loose on this new earth where California is under water and nothing is the same.
Night Forbidden is book five in Ware’s Envy series set in this future world where scavenging and living off the remains of what once was a very different world is a way of life for everyone. This is my first book by this author, but the only thing that I could not understand was the title and cover. Perhaps they were meant for another book? Because they have nothing to do with the story inside.
Cover aside, Ware does a great job of bringing me up to speed on what’s going on and what the rules and struggles of this world are without doing massive info-dumps or slowing down the story. While I have no doubt having read all the previous installments would enrich a reader’s experience, I still enjoyed this book quite a bit.
Bruno “Fence” Washington is a classic charismatic alpha hero. He’s cocky, he grins and panties melt off – that kind of thing. For the most part I found his humor to be practiced and eye-roll worthy, I was convinced that he was the only one who believed that he was funny and clever. That said – he’s also a very strong man, loyal friend, and skilled survivalist.
Even as they traveled, he often stopped to listen, to sniff the air, to climb up onto an old car or pile of debris and look into the distance. He pointed out where an elephant mother and her kid had crashed through the brush, and a spot beneath a low, wide tree where a small pack of wild dogs had slept. He identified black raspberries, wild corn, tangled cucumber vines, and edible mushrooms. Even a patch of potatoes in one unlikely spot near an old house. He held up a hand once, lifting a shushing finger to his lips, and pointed to a wild peacock wooing his nondescript female.
Ana knew she would never have seen or recognized any of those things had she been traveling with anyone else. It gave her a new appreciation for a part of the world she took for granted in favor of her beloved Sea… and a greater appreciation for the man with them.
All those years ago, when he went down into that fateful cave Fence was leading a group. That is how he made his living, and we were shown more than one how truly good he is at it. There is one thing Fence can’t do go into a body of water.
I’m a fan of characters with quirks and problems – and I applaud Ware for how far she took Fence’s fear of water. Full blown panic attack, vomiting, even crying and curling into a ball going into the water is more than a simple fear in Fence – it is a nightmare. This vulnerability, and Fence’s knowledge that it was a mental battle he had no hope of winning, but his continuing efforts to try and be strong were really well done.
She had approached, drawn to the solitary, solid figure swamped by the salty water as it lunged and eased around him. She admired the rich warm color of his skin baking in the sun – imagining how it would feel to touch it – the breadth of his shoulders and, as she drew closer, even the wide, angular feet, digging into the sand.
But when she padded silently in front of him and saw his expression- the eyes squeezed closed, the anguish furrowing his brow and crumpling his face… and even a damp streak down one cheek- she knew something was wrong.
I can’t resist a hero who cries. This paralyzing fear really eats Fence up, and watching him fail to overcome it, learning more about it, really added to his character. Pairing Fence with a heroine that is half Atlantean and practically lives in the ocean created some great tension and contrast as well.
Ana escaped from Atlantis a dozen years ago and lives with her father in a quiet existence. She is a tall and stunning beauty – one who’s strength shines especially being handicapped as she is. She has a truly mangled leg and foot that hinder her walking on land. Fence is surprised by the injury, but that doesn’t make him see her differently. In fact, I felt like he only realyl noticed or remembered her mangled leg when she was self conscious about it. Oh, and Ana is quite prickly about it and is overly sensitive if anyone tries to help her. It is in the ocean that she truly feels free and is not effected by the injury caused all those years ago.
I found the romance between these two believable, especially in a series book like this where there is a lot going on, a lot of characters sharing page space, and plot arcs to advance. Both are strong, natural leaders, and truly good people living in a very crazy time. Neither likes depending on others or being seen as weak, and yet each of them has some deep trauma that has shaped who they are now. Unfortunately I never quite felt like there was a high steam or tension factor between them – both work so hard to keep up appearances and keep a strong outer shell that I wasn’t really sure they ever fully let down their guards. I was underwhelmed by the love scenes between them, and let down by the way they took time to kiss when they had a ticking clock and world to save.
Lack of good smexy times aside – the author does a great job of bringing us into this world, she has created a vivid world and I have no doubt that if I went back and started at the beginning I’d have an even better picture of it, and understanding of all the supporting characters of this story.
While this book did indeed stand alone with our main couple needing to save the town of Envy from a threat as the main plot arc, overall I found it less than satisfying as a stand-alone novel. So many plot threads were left open, and while we did get a nice story with the main couple I was left wanting more. This is a series and clearly not the last book, so my frustrations aren’t so much with the book being lacking as much as me just wanting more. I will be adding more books from this series (including the next book to release) to my reading list for sure.