The Last Night by Nico Rosso (The Burning Earth Book 1)
February 13, 2012
Reviewed by Helyce
Favorite Quote: They met with a kiss. His hands framed her face. She pressed close to him, clutching his arms. She’d leaped through the flames of fear and found a truth on the other side. This was love on the burning earth. Trust and balance. Their bodies twined together, the reward for surviving the fight.
A series of deathly earthquakes have shaken the earth to its core. As the earth opened up, long dormant viruses have been released into the air. These viruses have turned most of the humans into strange creatures; their flesh turned to stone. They survive off the ashes of anything they can burn, including the few surviving humans.
A small group of humans have managed to survive by taking refuge in what is left of a crumbled hotel. They have scavenged the immediate area for water, food and supplies and are basically taking it one day at a time. They know it’s only a matter of time before the Ashers get to them. There is no way to fight them; no weapon can hurt them.
Among this small group is a young woman named Erica. In the aftermath of the earthquakes she witnessed the transformation of people she knew as they turned into the monsters they call the Ashers. When she finally realized that she could not help them or communicate with them, she hid until the group of humans she is now living with found her. Though they work together as a group to survive, most of them are lost in the past; thinking of what was, not of moving forward. They have lost all hope.
But Erica has not lost hope. She sees hope in the storm clouds that gather out there. Storms clouds mean water and green growing plants, not the desolate desert like land that they inhabit. She’s not willing to give up, but has no clue how far away the clouds are and just how she can get there safely.
When Jake rides into the middle of a battle where Erica and her group are on the brink of failing against the Ashers, Erica finds she has more reason to hope. Jake has figured out a way to kill the Ashers and this knowledge, this ability will help the humans find the hope necessary to move forward and make a new world.
The Last Night started out a bit slow and I worried that this might not be the book for me. When it begins, we are dropped right into the post-apocalyptic world where the earth is literally on fire, people have died, resources are scarce and the few humans that are left are just trying to survive. The Ashers are the bad guys. Though once human, they have lost all their humanity with their transformation to the ash-eating stone monsters that burn anything in their path, including the humans. They survive on the ashes left behind. I felt like I needed more information. Why did this happen? Why were only some humans affected by the new viruses and not all?
However, once Jake comes onto the scene and teaches this small group how to protect themselves, the story takes a turn and I began to enjoy it more. Jake has been making his way through what is left of the earth, trading his knowledge of how to kill the Ashers for food, water and supplies. When he meets Erica, he sees something in her that he never thought he’d have again and through her he too starts to see hope in spite of the desolation that is all around them.
In the end, I did enjoy this story. I loved the theme of hope that is woven throughout the story not only in the way the humans come together with a common goal and fight to survive, but in the way the author cleverly introduces the romance between Erica and Jake without it overtaking the story. It’s so subtle, yet the few romantic scenes they have are really well done. I especially enjoyed the one where they bathe each other! Secondary characters that provided a bit of well placed humor, kept my interest as well. The open-ended ending led me to believe that the author plans on additional books so I checked his website and found an icon for The Burning Earth, but no information on a second book yet.