I am loving the new trend towards post-apocalyptic romance.It’s good to know that even if the world goes to the dogs – or chimps, apes, or killer whales – there will still be love, community, and humanity. That’s probably too rosy a future for some sci-fi fans, but for those of us that are romance readers that HEA is what it is all about.
Wandering the post-apocalyptic wilderness that was once the U.S. of A. has changed Chris Welsh from nerdy but brilliant scientist to a lean, mean fighting machine. Behind him lies the past, parts of which he would just as soon forget, and before him lies – Valle de Bravo, the first of its kind he has seen in his three years of travel. An actual town, with homes and families, a taverna and general store. Granted, it’s no Los Angeles, but what has been done here is amazing and is all owed to the beautiful La Jefa.
Rosa Cortez has worked hard to build a place for herself and the people following her. She has allowed nothing to distract her from the job of caring for her “tribe” amid the new world order of chaos and violence. Till the stranger shows up at their gates, having gotten the best of one of her fighting men. Intelligence, compassion, and fighting skill have never been combined in a more perfect form to her way of thinking. But Rosa can let nothing distract in this dangerous world that is Earth after the Change. The hellhounds and shifters are still out there. And everyone in here needs her. But who does she need?
This is the second volume in the Dark Age Dawning series and I loved every second of it. The world building here is both intriguing and solid. The idea of something unexpected coming in, bringing with it what we used to call magic, makes for some terrific reading. I was delighted by the introduction to our first community, where we meet up with some of the attitudes and logic that were used in olden times before our science answered all our questions. You can take the human out of the dark ages but you can’t take the dark ages out of the human.
Chris is a perfect character to throw into that situation. Not only did his experiences in the last book teach him some things about the Change, he has not lost his faith in science. He knows what has happened is explainable; he just doesn’t have all the answers yet. And with his only medical tools being a microscope and his Ph.D in research zoology, he knows he won’t be unlocking the secrets anytime soon. Still, his is a voice of enlightenment in an era of growing darkness and fear. I was impressed by how the authors were able to use him to bring his message without making him sound preachy or obnoxious. I also just liked Chris as a person. He fights but he doesn’t thrill in it, he’s smart but he doesn’t dismiss those with less education, and he’s kind but he’s not all mushy about it. His lone wolf/alpha mix personality makes him a perfect partner for Rosa because he doesn’t come in under her command but he also doesn’t walk in and take control over from her. Balance is what Chris is all about and that applies to his relationship as well.
I struggled more with Rosa at first. She seemed very self-righteous as well as somewhat bigoted and domineering. As we grow to know her we understand the reasons for her controlling nature, and hear about the events that have led to some of her erroneous beliefs. I did like that she was a really strong character and had good cause for being that way. Many times heroines seem feisty when there is no one to fight and are called strong when a brisk breeze would blow them away. Rosa did what she had to to survive; she was a woman of action over words, and everything about her reflects that. By the end of the novel, I liked her almost as much as Chris did.
Another really excellent aspect to the novel was the community of Valle de Bravo. While I loved the small community in Nightfall, I was glad to see the larger settlement here. The people who made it up – from the difficult ones like Lem and Falco to the generous ones like Singer, Brick and Ex – added depth and poignancy to the tale. Couples like Jameson and Tilly getting together and making it work in the new world order just made things that much more interesting.
This series reminds me of the Magic series by Ilona Andrews in the best possible way. While they take very different approaches to how things work, both series are about dealing with a new world once magic makes its presence known on Earth. Both are well written with excellent pacing. Fans of that series should probably give this one a try.
The book had enough tiny flaws to keep it from being a DIK, but enough going for it that I finished very quickly and longed for more. I would strongly recommend to any fan of paranormal, fantasy or sci-fi romance, or for people looking to try something in that field.