Night Whispers by Alisha Rai (ShadowLands #1)
Released: November 6, 2012
Reviewed by Mandi
Favorite Quote: “And I do know you, love. I know you better than anyone. Maybe even you.”
Before I start, let me just say – don’t let the cover fool you. Yes this book has a very kick ass heroine who faces down baddies, but this book has a very sweet, adorable tone to it. I don’t feel like the cover portrays that well. Anyway! I usually shy away from books with zombies, or Shadows as they are called in this book. It’s sometimes hard to reconcile ‘romance’ with ‘end of the world blood sucking creatures.’ But, when the author offered this for review and used the keywords beta-hermit-hero, I couldn’t resist. I love me a good beta hero, and I absolutely adored James in this book.
After an illness spreads across the world, creating zombie like shadow creatures that come out and hunt at night, biting to spread the disease, the United States (or what is left of it) goes into hiding. Half stay in the west, retreating into Cheyenne, the other half stay out east going underground into a place called Raven Rock. Communication was open between these two stations until a huge explosion occurred at Raven Rock. In this explosion, James was injured and now carries the scars. Pre-illness, he was an analyst so he is very tech savvy. He rigs a communication network up, that allows him to speak (two-way) with his agents that are spread out around the country. While James is great at working with his agents, he hasn’t left Rock Raven for two years. The idea of going out into the world terrifies him. These agents help find humans and bring them to safety. Enter our heroine.
Jules is a former gang member and drug abuser. When the illness occurred, she left her holed up home to find another high. Instead she almost gets attacked by the Shadows. A stranger by the name Erik finds her and together they learn how to survive. However, after the west loses contact with the east, Erik disappears and Jules feels loyalty to help find him. She gets a clue that he may be at Cheyenne station, and takes off. James is worried that she is out alone, but being across the country the only thing he can do is talk in her ear and try to keep a signal of where she is. Over the past year, they have become very good friends and even flirt, although Jules has no idea what James looks like he only has seen her if she happens to walk in front of a mirror or a reflection (due to a collar Jules wears that has a video camera on it).
Just as James was concerned, Jules does run into danger, and when communication is cut off with her, he must decide if he is strong enough to leave his underground haven and go rescue her.
Night Whispers had everything I want in a book – a really strong heroine, a shyer bashful hero, and a great storyline with plenty of action to keep the book moving along. It took me a bit to comprehend the world and what exactly was happening and who was where and the why of it all. But as I got further into the story it all fell into place.
Jules and James have this unique relationship where they are intimately connected, as Jules wears this collar that allows communication between the two of them, and James is able to turn on a video that allows him to see her surroundings. But they have never physically met and for the most part, don’t know what the other looks like. But they cautiously flirt and they would do anything for the other one. Jules describes James as - “He was a thinker, her guy.” Always analyzing situations thoroughly before suggesting action. He is warm, smart, and a calm voice in Jules’s ear. While the world is dark and dangerous, their romance and relationship is very light and surprising. As a gift, Jules decides to show James a real, printed book (as they are rare in the world they live in). So as she is across the country with just her video monitor on, she breaks into an old university library, and shows him a real book.
“Touch them for me.” James’s whisper started a tingle in her abdomen that was as worrisome as heart flutters.
She wore combat boots and carried a big knife, for fuck’s sake. She had no time for flutters and tingles. You should remember that before giving sappy presents.
She propped her blade against the bookshelf and wiped her hands on her pants before running her finger along the spines of the closest leather-bound volumes. They appeared elegant with gold embossed writing. In contrast, her hand looked stubby and mannish with its bitten-off nails and scars.
“Pick one up. Please.”
She licked her suddenly dry lips and pulled a book off the shelf. His breathing stuttered before accelerating. It took a rare man to have an orgasm over books.
Are you seeing why I love James? They are an unlikely pair, wild, former druggie Jules who runs head-first into danger and has no problems killing shadows and living on the edge. And James who is hidden underground, fearful, not self confident. But he really does love her and his character is put to the test when she gets in danger. You can’t help but root for them and their happy ever after, which ended up working well for me.
Even if dystopian worlds make you hesitate, I encourage you to try this one. The Shadows, while a threat, do not take center stage in this book. As I said earlier, it took me awhile to comprehend this world, but stick with it. The romance is a sweet one you don’t want to miss.