Reviewed by Mandi
End of the world plus male/male romance equals a premise that intrigues me. This is a straight up contemporary end of the world – a massive power outage and cell phones not working for at least half of the US. No zombies or paranormal things that are ending this world – just terrorists. Ash is in college out east and has an uncle out west who is an extreme conspiracy theorist. Even though Ash knows he is a little kooky, when his uncle calls him and tells him in a coded message to prepare for something big, Ash listens. He gathers some supplies and keeps his eyes and ears open – so when he is in chemistry lab and the power goes out and everyone’s cell phones won’t work, Ash knows he needs to move quick. His lab partner Elliot has a car, and after much hem and hawing, and a kiss between them (a spontaneous kiss out of adrenaline), Elliot decides to leave school and go with Ash, even though he thinks Ash is overreacting.
Ash heads to upstate New York to grab his sister and nephew before heading out west to meet up with his uncle. Whispers of a terrorist attack are being spread and Ash fears chaos is about to erupt.
I ended up DNFing (did not finish) this book at 50% for two main reasons – it’s slow and the romance fell flat. The author gives us two likable heroes. Ash is the more alpha/go-getter of the group who takes this terrorist attack very seriously. Elliot is more worried about doing something drastic, not being able to get in touch with his parents etc. He also has a seizure disorder, so the possibility that he may run out of medication is scary and portrayed well. The author also takes care in setting up the world and the attack. She explains it and gives us a glimpse of stores getting looted and people panicking. But – it’s very slow. The scary action happens off page. There is one time where an escaped inmate breaks into Ash’s sister’s house and assaults her – but it’s behind her closed bedroom door. When Ash breaks into a sporting goods store or a pharmacy, nothing happens. When they are traveling by car – nothing happens. When they camp out at night – nothing happens. People are committing murder-suicide but nothing comes Ash’s way. As the reader, I needed to be immersed into some danger – I wanted to feel the panic more. Not playing baseball with Ash’s nephew or finding a sporting goods store with every supply you could possibly want.
The romance is slow too. Ash and Elliot know each other from school, and there is an attraction already there. But the romance lacks. I totally get that they are running for safety so they can’t stop and make out – but there is no sexual tension. No build-up to a possible romance between them.
Also around chapter 4 or so, we switch to an entire new character in Colorado and spend a few pages with her every so often. It was odd and didn’t flow.
At the halfway mark I just lost interest. I hope they make it out west.