After a terrible virus ravages the planet, Carly Daniels, one of the few survivors, hides in her apartment in Juneau trying to survive the best she can with only occasional forays to gather food. With her is Sam, a wolf puppy she found starving on the streets. He becomes her companion and a reason to continue when giving up sometimes seems like the more attractive option. Still dazed with shock and grief, she hopes for the world to go back to normal soon.
She is discovered by Justin, an ex-soldier who is intent on making his way to Florida before the winter sets in. Justin coaxes her out of her hiding place and convinces her to join him on his journey, because a warmer climate will be their best chance against the extremes of Mother Nature.
Together, they begin a perilous journey through a nation laid to waste by the disaster. Challenges abound along the way. The weather, injury, and shortage of supplies all help to slow them down. In time, they discover that they aren’t the only survivors. Some are friendly but some have had their minds destroyed by the high fever. Then there are those who simply take what they want, leaving Carly and Justin with no choice but to defend what is theirs.
But their journey is not without joy and love. Together, they face every struggle, including an unplanned pregnancy. Despite the perils of bringing a child into a world of chaos, their baby is a new beginning for themselves and a symbol of hope for the other survivors they find along the way.
This is the story of their journey to find a place to begin a new life, and a home in each other.
4 Out Of 5 Stars
Genre: Dystopian, Survival--
Carly has been alone for the last month or so, surviving on the bare minimum with her rescued puppy in Alaska. The world as she knows it has ended since the outbreak of the virus which killed most, and the few who survived did not come back whole. Just when Carly has deluded herself into thinking it will be ok on her own, a scruffy stranger comes along to shake her up. Justin, an ex-military survivalist, knows that the world will not be the same and wants Carly to come with him on a cross country trek to Florida where the moderate temperature may enable a better chance at survival.
I love myself some end of the world survival books! This story was right up my alley, with a terrible virus of unknown origins wiping out most of the population, causing mental trauma to those who survived it, and a few lonely souls who had immunity to the virus. It was almost like having zombies, with mindless human attackers thrown in. This was a survivalist book to the extreme and I found myself sucked into the pages wanting to see more of Carly and Justin’s journey, what terrors they would face, as well as some clue as to what happened in the first place. Oh and lets mention the animals, mainly Sam who I adore, and the strange bond they form to Carly (I think a moose would have been a great addition). The scene with Tigger at the end made my heart hurt more than any human incident could.
The reader is dropped into the book after everyone has been wiped out, starting with Carly as she struggles to survive alone, with complete denial as to what is really going on. The story starts with her perspective, but then branches into Justin’s perspective, which I love dual narration, especially when it comes to a love story. And yes, this was a love story mixed in with the gritty reality of survival. Carly and Justin are trapped together, which may cause confused feelings, but what grows between them is friendship and respect which blooms from there. I love the two of them together, really like yin and yang, they complement each other. Carly becomes a realist who can face harsh realities and Justin opens his heart to others, be it animal or person. My favorite scene was really a terrible truth of life, where Justin is incapacitated and Carly must do the unspeakable for them both to survive, but comes to realize how precious her time with Justin is. There were a few moments where I was afraid the book was taking a religious turn (which I really do not enjoy in my fiction), but things like faith and fate were thrown in but not overwhelming religion, which I am sure happens when the world around you crumbles. People need motivation and hints of that occur here.
The book ends right when the story starts to turn around. Something terrible and devastating occurs in the last chapter that is really hard to come to terms with, but then the reader is given a brief glimpse of hope and then the book was over. I need to read the next books in what I believe is going to be a trilogy so I can get the complete story. It seems as if this is just the beginning of what Justin and Carly have to face, as atrocious as it was, so I am anxious to see where the story takes them next. And I hope to see more random animals along the way.
I received this title from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.