Review: Night Forbidden

Reviewed by Jen

It’s been 50 years since a near-Apocalypse changed the world forever.  Power hungry men and the rulers of Atlantis orchestrated the Change, each for their own ends.  Now a small band of survivors, the Resistance, is trying to rebuild and stop their ongoing schemes.

Fence is part of the Resistance.  But he is different than most because he actually lived in the time before the change and was in some kind of stasis, not aging for half a century.  He lost everyone he ever loved, but he is readjusting to his new life in his new surroundings.

Ana is a descendant of Atlantis. She wants nothing to do with her mother’s people, for she knows the brutality they are capable of.  Their one gift to her was in implanting the crystals into her body that allow her to breathe underwater. It’s beneath the surface of the sea she feels whole, unencumbered by the effects of a leg ravaged by injury.  It’s ironic that she would come to fall for a man who is utterly terrified of water.

When Fence and Ana meet, there is a fast attraction, but there are roadblocks.  Ana fears getting close to any man, because she doesn’t want anyone to see her crystals.  And Fence is the kind of guy who prefers a bit of fun to real romance.  He’s a smooth operator, a ladies man, and no one is more surprised than him when he begins falling for Ana.

I liked the love story well enough. A cocky player isn’t my favorite kind of hero, but Fence is charming enough.  Ana’s story isn’t shocking, but as we learn more about her secrets, it peels back more of the layers in the world-building surrounding the Change.

I have to say that the series has a very different feel than it did in the early books, where the zombie-like gangas were featured so prominently. In this book, the zombies barely exist and it’s all about the Atlantians as the nemesis in the story.  It’s less about a constant physical threat and more about the machinations of these powerful beings.  I miss the zombies. They were cool.  Everything is growing more and more complicated and I wish I would have reread the earlier books before I started reading this one. Most of it came back to me, but it took a little time.  I wonder how easy it would be for a new reader to follow at this point.

Though the lion’s share of the story follows Fence and Ana, we do see some familiar faces, like Quent, Zoe and Elliott.  And we get some very, very short scenes with Wyatt and Remy.  I guess we’re being set up for a love story between these two, which bums me out. I was really hoping for a redemption story for Ian with Remy… and frankly, I’m not ready for Wyatt to get over his wife and kids, but I am getting ahead of myself.

I liked it. I appreciated having a physically imperfect heroine.  There’s some pretty good banter and a couple of love scenes to heat things up.  But I wish we could have had more time for a relationship to develop between these two before they starting throwing around the L-word.  It was only a week! Come on!!

I’m hoping the next installment goes back a little more to the gritty side I know this series has to offer. More zombies and bounty hunters, less crystals and swimming with the dolphins.

Rating: B-

*ARC Provided by Avon

Click to purchase: Amazon
Night Forbidden
by Joss Ware (Colleen Gleason)
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Publisher: Avon

Review: Night Betrayed

Reviewed by Jen

Imagine living 78 years; surviving a near apocalypse; seeing your world fall prey to zombies; watching your twin age… all while remaining an attractive version of your 30 year-old self.  That’s what happened to Theo. He’s a computer genius, one of the leaders of the Resistance against those responsible for ravaging Earth. And while surrounded by friends, he’s still alone, isolated by what makes him different.

But things change when he meets Selena. She is a strong and special woman, who doesn’t look her 50 years of age. But she is very aware that she is (or rather, appears to be) much older than Theo.  He is delivered to her, nearly dead from a gunshot wound. But instead of leading him to the other side, as she has done for so many, she manages to bring him back to life.  Selena can see death coming and guide souls to the beyond, but what most people don’t know is that she also feels she needs to save the souls of the zombies now roaming the land… even at great risk to herself.

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about an older heroine. Frankly, it’s unusual enough to have a female lead that’s my age, much less one only a few years younger than my mom. But for Theo, it makes sense. He’s 78 for crying out loud.  And Selena is a great fit for him. Their sex scenes are steamy… and we manage to continue with the series arc detailing the planet’s “Change” and the orgins of the zombie gangas.

There are some upsetting parts of the book that I didn’t see coming…  namely, an unexpected death, which made me cry. And the rape of a female character, which was (thankfully) wasn’t too graphically detailed, but disturbing all the same.

A solid installment, one I enjoyed more than I expected. Check out the earlier books in the Envy Chronicles if you haven’t already.  4 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Review: Abandon the Night

Reviewed by Jen

The post-apocalyptic drama of the Envy Chronicles continues in this third installment, featuring Quent & Zoe.  Quent is on a mission to find his father, who was one of the men responsible for the near-destruction of the Earth.  Quent and four other men are living 50 years in the future.  They had been trapped in some AZ caves in 2010 when the “Change” happened and spent five decades in stasis. When they emerged from the caves, they had not aged at all, but each of the men had developed a special ability. Quent’s skill is pyschometry,  the ability to be able to see the history of an object by touching it.

Zoe is on a mission of her own: to kill the bounty hunter responsible for the death of her family –and to take down as many zombies as possible while she does it. She’s lived a solitary existence for 10 years, but Quent brings her humanity back to life.  The pair teams up as their goals converge. And while the physical part of their relationship sparked from the beginning, the emotional connection was the payoff in this book.

While their romance progresses, we learn more about what led to the “Change.” And we get a better look some of the peripheral characters… here’s hoping for an Ian/Remy story in the future.  Overall, I enjoyed this one… maybe not quite as much as Simon’s story, but definitely worth the read.

4 stars.

Review: Embrace the Night Eternal

Reviewed by Jen

What a difference one book can make! After lukewarm feelings for Beyond the Night, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read this book… especially since the lead character, Simon, didn’t really spark much interest for me. But I’m really glad I did. Unlike the first installment in the Envy Chronicles, I felt real emotion for the characters –a connection I just didn’t have the first time around.

The concept for the series: the world is 50 years past a near-apocalypse. Many of the survivors are living in what was once Las Vegas, NV, which is now called N-V or Envy.  Creeping around at night are killer zombies called gangas… and pulling their strings are the nefarious Strangers, people who were once human, now made immortal by implanting special crystals in their bodies.  It is likely they were behind the “Change” that sent the Earth into near ruin.  Five men from 2010 now find themselves in this new world. They had gone exploring in an AZ cave and went into a kind of stasis for 50 years, awaking only 6 months before the events of the story. They had not aged, but instead came out stronger, each with a unique ability.

Simon was a crime lord’s bodyguard in his old life.  But he sees the Change as a chance to become a new man.  He is attracted to Sage, a quiet computer whiz and member of the Resistance, trying to bring down the Strangers. But he thinks she is in a relationship with another man, so he refuses to pursue his feelings. Sage is something of an outcast in Envy, because she comes from a settlement that’s like a breeding camp. She and Simon end up teaming up to infiltrate her old town to learn more about one of the leaders of the Strangers. While they’re there, it gets harder and harder to fight their growing attraction.

I really liked Simon. He’s one of those men with a dark past and hopelessness about the future –but deep down he is a really good guy, worthy of love.  I loved watching him fall in love with Sage and each time they get closer to acting on their feelings, the story gets hotter and hotter.  This was a huge improvement over the last book and I’m sorry to see it end.  Here’s hoping the next book will be as good!

4 1/2 stars.

Review: Beyond the Night

Reviewed by Jen

It’s 50 years in the future. And Earth has undergone a near-apocalypse.  Humanity’s numbers have dwindled –and there are killer zombies. OK, maybe not exactly zombies, but close enough; they’re called gangas.  And there are also sort-of immortal people called Strangers.  Thrust into this strange new world are five men from the past.  They were exploring an Arizona cave when the “Change” happened. And they went into some kind of stasis for five decades, waking only about 6 months before our story begins.  Now, they’re trying to find some kind of civilization and answers about what happened to the world.

One of the five men is Elliot. He is a doctor. And ever since the cave-thing, now he has some medical superpowers, where he can scan people like an MRI or something and heal them with his touch. Only problem is that he takes the illness onto himself or passes it on to the next person he touches.  Anyway, on their travels, the men run into a group of teens at the mercy of some gangas and they attempt to rescue them. But a mysterious woman also comes to their aid.  That woman is Jade. She has a tortured history that includes years of imprisonment and brutality at the hands of the Strangers.  Now she is part of the Resistance, fighting the mysterious immortals, that may or may not be to blame for Earth’s near destruction.

Of course, Elliot and Jade are our star-crossed lovers. It takes awhile for them to get over their skittishness and seal the deal.  Their romance was ok. I’m not sure why, but it didn’t hit the mark entirely for me.  Frankly, I was more interested in what was happening with side-character Quent and a mysterious archer woman.  I’m sure they’ll get their own book down the line.

The premise of the story is interesting and unique.  But I felt like we spent a lot of time with pop culture references back to “our time” and angst from our cave-guys that didn’t completely resonate for me.  I liked it enough that I’ll check out the next installment.  Maybe once we’re past the set-up,  I’ll be able to make a deeper connection to the characters.

3 1/2 stars.

Series Reading Order: Envy Chronicles

This is the reading order for The Envy Chronicles series by Joss Ware (Colleen Gleason):