by Beck Sherman
Free from Read it and Reap program on goodreads.com
Wow, this is an epic dystopian novel about vampires taking over the world. These are some bleak scenes Sherman paints, some I won’t get out of my head for a long time to come. Emma lands in LAX after the takover has happened, but before she knows about it, Syracuse was just seeming a little bit odd, a lot of people had the “flu” and LA is much further along. She falls asleep on the airplane and when she wakes she is alone and runs off the plane into an empty LAX except for mounds of luggage. You expect the wind to blow and a tumbleweed to roll by, but things are too fresh and weird to be totally desolate.
Emma survives all sorts of things, a really creepy scene that is pretty nasty and finally is found by a group of humans holed up in a storage facility on the outskirts of town. The city around them is growing blood bars and coffin purveyors while they pilfer food and clothing as they can. They have a plan to fight back and Emma needs to train to become a hunter.
This book is really well written, though some of the flashback scenes are really long and one of them feels like a completely different book. They were well done, but they really take you out of the current day action to fully delve into many of the character’s back story. I did like that were shown not told some of the characters harrowing experiences. You end up with a few richer characters but a very long book! But for such a long book, it goes by quickly. There is always something interesting or life threatening happening and the story doesn’t really stall, it slowed once Emma gets to the shelter, but important things are happening as well…so it works.
There are many disgusting and horrible scenes, plenty of blood and viscera and mean old vamps, so this is NOT for the squeamish. But it was compulsively readable, just don’t read it while while you are eating (blegh). I had to know how it would end, would they pull off their plan? Are they being lied to by anyone? Why are vampires taking over now when they have lived in the shadows for thousands of years? Sherman answers most of these questions though it seemed like a sequel is in the works.
BUT, disappointingly, Emma had some prophetic dreams that we figure out why…but for how long this book is, we don’t get details I really wanted. How does “he” know that “she” is who he thinks she is, and does she believe it? There were some loose ends there that should have been tied up more tightly. I like how that issue concludes…but just a few more words would have helped immensely to make it that much more wrapped up and “believable” if that makes sense. Also, one other pick…the blurb for the book is about a blackout that happens and how things came in the night. That would have been so tense and scary to see! Instead we pick up a few weeks after it happened. Which believe me, there are tons of bleak and scary horror scenes, but that would have been super freaky. Just sayin.
Last minor gripe – the ultimate bad guy at the end. I must confess I had cramps from the big old eye-roll I executed at the reveal. Haha – but seriously, that was tenuous at best. But we do get a bit of a scene that reminded me of a gross version of the Office Space fax machine destruction. If you read this, think about it. But, once I got over the who I just went along for the ride and zipped the body bag closed as a wrap. 3.5 pointy stars made out of wood, dripping blood (of course)!