Reading level: Adult
E-book: 237 pages
Publisher: Telemachus Press
Release date: July 12, 2012
Series: After Trilogy #1
Source: Publicist for review
Reviewed by: Stéphanie
When the world ends, all that is left is love....
As chaos descends on a crippled Earth, survivors are tormented by strange psychic gifts. In this time of apocalyptic despair, love is put to the test. One woman with mysterious healing power guides seven children to safety. Charismatic Arthur offers her a haven. Slowly Emma falls for him. But at the moment of their sweetest love, his devastating secret is revealed, and they are lost to each other. Will Emma stay with him?
It’s the end of the world. Probably. Mists appeared out of thin air one day, and they have brought destruction to the earth. The mists seem to have mind of their own and like sentient beings, they move around with a purpose, feeding on buildings, animals and humans, and eradicating them by turning them to dust. The whole world has been touched by these mists and from those who have survived, some have literally gone crazy while others have developed psychic abilities. At first, I really didn’t like the idea of having an apocalyptic phenomena create psychic abilities but the idea grew on me. Although the scientific explanations in the book aren’t exactly probable, they do add an intelligent layer to the story.
Emma is one of the few who survived and she has gained the ability to heal with the touch of her hands. I loved her as a main character because she is so solid and strong. She went through great lengths to find refuge for herself, her daughter and her adoptive kids and I strongly believe she made the right choice in joining the camp of a well organized men. Their leader, Arthur, is quite the character, but for some reason I had a love/hate relationship with him throughout the book. I loved him because he seemed like such a hero and such a do-gooder but at the same time, I hated him because I never really trusted him. His secrets and his inability to share with Emma more or less turned me off.
Obviously, some type of romantic relationship develops between Emma and Arthur. I love the basis of the relationship, although I totally didn’t expect what happened between them in the first chapter. I have to admit, their bickering and their fighting is quite engaging and it’s the reason the love story behind the book is so interesting. I don’t want to spoil any surprises but it’s quite obvious, as you read the book, that secrets will create a lot of tension, not only between Emma and Arthur, but between the whole group of survivors. Although I understand the secret Emma hid from Arthur was pretty huge and that he had the right to know beforehand, I despised Arthur for accusing Emma of not sharing, when his secret was obviously way bigger than hers.
As I mentioned earlier, the mists seems to have a mind of their own, and it seems they have preferences when it comes to what they “eat.” For example, butterflies are not on the menu since they don’t have the right composition of minerals. I like the symbolism behind this, since butterflies are very fragile creatures and it goes to show that beauty and simplicity can still be found in a world of darkness and chaos. Emma daughter’s, Mandy, finds pleasure in chasing butterflies, even when the world is in pieces. Chasing after butterflies can be childish, but sometimes, chasing after something beautiful and fragile can be worthwhile. It might be childish hope that keeps us chasing after the things we want, but humanity without its fragility and hope would be nowhere.
As a whole, I really enjoyed this novel. It’s quite dark at times with the death of so many people and the fighting amongst gangs of survivors, but it works for me! The survival aspect of the novel is very realistic. When an author goes into details, explaining simple things like living habits, hygiene and survival conflicts, it proves to me that the author has really put some extra thoughts into his or her story. And Traci L. Slatton added a great amount of these details, creating a realistic image of a brutal world.
Post-apocalyptic books aren’t my usual forte, but I must admit, there’s something quite special about this book. It’s a love story disguising as horror/post-apocalypse and I think the author did an awesome job in weaving together all the different elements. I will absolutely read the sequel some time in the future, but for those who can’t wait, the second book has already been released recently! I don’t believe this series has enough to go on, beyond a couple more books, so I’m actually glad the series will only be a trilogy. Slatton is a wonderful discovery and fans of the genre will be satisfied with FALLEN since, not only is it very original, but it also has a good solid love story at the heart of the book.