FicCentral received a free copy of this book from *the author*.
Series: Ash and Ruin #2
June 17, 2014
Genre(s): Dystopian (YA)
The world has ended, and hope is the most dangerous thing left.
Battered and bruised after barely escaping San Francisco with their lives, Kat, Dylan, and Blue press north – desperate to reach the possibility of a new home.
But strange, monstrous ravens are tracking the remaining survivors, food is becoming scarce, gasoline is running short, and people are becoming suicidal, making survival almost impossible.
And the Pestas are growing bolder. Somehow, their numbers are growing.
The further north they go, the harder it becomes to ignore the signs that they’ve made a fatal mistake. Kat must face the impossible truth that there is no escape, there is no safe haven, and their worst nightmares don’t come close to their new reality.
Sitting on the bumper again, my jagged nails scratch at the plastic as I fight the urge to tell Dylan to hurry. Blue looks up at me and whines. I shake my head at him and pet him with the toe of my boot. His eyes are dark blue in the evening light. Blue drops his head and looks at Dylan, his ears perked up into two triangles. I follow his gaze. Dylan’s still standing, holding his instruments of destruction, and staring at the raging fire.
Blue pushes to his feet and barks one sharp, loud yelp. My hand drifts over to the rifle by my leg as I let my eyes slide from Dylan’s back to search for the source of Blue’s panic.
“Dylan.” I mean to call to him, but my voice comes out in a strangled whisper.
I swallow as I stand and pull the rifle with me. Across the street, the shadows between the houses are taking shape. They’re no longer the snapping, twisting formless shadows from the fire, but something more, something substantial. Dylan lifts the can of fluid and squirts more onto the fire, making it spike and lick the air.
“Dylan,” I try again, my voice a little louder. The rifle is in my hands now. The stock is pressed into my shoulder as I aim at the shadows peeling away from the deeper black.
Still Dylan doesn’t hear me, or is ignoring me.
Blue barks repeatedly, backing up until he hits the car. I find my voice and scream his name loud enough that it hurts my throat. Finally he looks at me, his face cast in shadows with the light behind him. I can’t make out his features, but I can make out the horde of Pestas behind him.
“Run!” I aim the gun as I walk backward around the car.
Instead of listening to me, he looks back to see what has terrified me so. They shuffle forward, lines of them spilling out into the cul-de-sac. Dylan takes two steps backward, nearly tripping over his feet and making me scream again. I rip the rear door open for Blue to get in the car.
Slamming the door behind Blue, I lift the rifle and fire a shot, aiming well away from Dylan. The Pestas cringe in unison, as though they are all puppets controlled by the same set of strings.
“Run, dammit!” I scream.
Kat and Dylan are determined to get to Washington, where Kat hopes to find a safe haven with her uncle, a man who lives off the grid. But the further north they travel, the more trouble they find, from mysterious ravens to dangerous survivors to the chilling and deadly Pestas. With Blue as their protector and companion, the obstacles they face become more and more dangerous as they creep toward their destination, and with the sickness mutating, it’s only a matter of time before their luck runs out.
Simply incredible. Shauna Granger has created a world so realistically desolate and horrifying, so vividly the world I know mixed with the world I fear, that even after finishing it, I find myself on edge.
After leaving the encampment we saw in World of Ash, Kat and Dylan are slowly and dangerously venturing north toward Washington, surviving on a combination of caution, determination, and dumb luck. Having been stripped of their supplies by the pox-ridden kids in a destroyed city from which they barely escaped, their situation is more dire than ever, and things are only getting worse. From page one until the very end, the tension rolls off the pages in gripping scenes of abject desperation and narrow escapes, and each time Kat worried, every time she hid or pressed on, each moment she spent in fear of losing Dylan, every muscle in my body tensed.
As you can no doubt tell, dystopian is not my usual genre, and anything supernatural is usually so far off my radar that I don’t discover it until well after the avalanche of reviews have been posted. I normally read contemporary romances with anticipation and angst and chemistry and happily ever afters. But after reading World of Ash, there was no way I was going to go without reading Time of Ruin.
Kat’s relationship with Dylan is both heartbreaking and beautiful, the kind of love borne of desperation, dependence, and that need to cling to one small ray of hope in an ever darkening world. But the story isn’t about romance so much as it’s about a relationship and a determination to survive. That Kat and Dylan have managed to stay alive is no small miracle, but it’s eclipsed by their having found each other. Their devotion to each other bleeds thick in every gesture, and the sacrifices they make to protect each other are both terrifying and inspiring.
I don’t want to give away the details or spoil the ending — it’s far too great a story to whittle down in a short review. But there was not a word I didn’t want to devour and not a single second that I was willing to skip ahead, even as I was dying to confirm that they — at the very least –might find some safety in what little world remained. It’s sad and scary and sweet, written with just the right amount of detail to practically illustrate each apocalyptic scene in the reader’s mind. Kat and Dylan are so clearly lost in this terrifying new world, though together they are adapting as best they can, and no matter how many guesses I made, each new turn was a surprise. There’s romance and danger and white-knuckle suspense, and now that I’ve finally stopped holding my breath, I’m dying to get my hands on book #3.