When Hugh wakes up in a smoldering crater—no memory, no clothes—a single thought echoes in his head…trust no one. Frightened and alone, with no memory of who he is, he stumbles upon a grisly murder scene and is fatally shot. He wakes, only to find he can heal himself. He has superpowers, and he’s going to need them.
Desperate and bleeding, Hugh stumbles upon fifteen-year-old Cece, who’s got enough troubles of her own. Between caring for her bipolar mother and trying not to get evicted from her run-down trailer, Cece may be the only person struggling as much as Hugh. Drawn to Hugh, Cece finds a love she’s never known. But when the real killer—a man-hunting beast—chooses another victim, Hugh and Cece realize they must unlock the clues to their past if they have any chance at a future.
An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my thoughts in any way. Thank you Katie French and Netgalley!
What made me want to read this book, aside from the short number of pages, were the words “smoldering crater”. Holy crap whut?! Those words alone were enough to make me go into a frenzy! Such an intriguing beginning (not counting the supposedly hot naked man found inside it *swoon swoon*) was just the perfect missing variable for an epic story formula, so I immediately requested it on NG. And I have read it. And I quite enjoyed it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as epic as I thought it would be.
Don’t get me wrong – there are many good things about this book. The prose, for one, was gorgeous. The author has written a lot of details that really captured the dark and looming atmosphere that went along with the context of the novel: a young man with unnatural abilities and powers yet didn’t have any recollection of who he was or where he came from, and a young woman trying to keep her life together, which was only hanging by a thin thread, with a mentally-challenged mother in tow. I loved how musical and gorgeous it sounded, and even with the vibrant details here and there, it neither deterred me from the book nor did it feel it was dumping too much info… it just made my imagination grow wild while also escalating the feeling of bleakness and misery that was abundant in the beginning. I think it also portrayed Cece’s mother’s bipolar disorder really well. It was very well-done and felt real; scene after scene, it efficiently showed the difficulties her daughter had to face in coping with such a disorder, making me feel so much for the heroine.
However, what dampened my experience was the instalove. Whoo boy, the instalove cupid sure hit them hard in this one. So, guy in women’s clothing appeared in a dumpster, Cece found him while taking out the trash. They met again in the same place later, him now with blood all over, and she brought him to her home to shelter him from the rain and to give him food as well. Aaaand pretty much then and there they decided they’re for each other and they go to sleep wanting to taste their lips, to feel their skin against their own, etc. etc. o_0 It was unbelievably unrealistic… I mean, there are murders going on, a guy (handsome, no less, with a skin described as like a “bronze statue”) shows up with blood all over, and you don’t get suspicious?! You just conclude he’s telling the truth because of his “kind face”?! Uhhh… no. A lot of criminals in the real world initially look harmless, but they harbor intense hatred for mankind deep in their hearts… that’s not something you see at first sight, so that’s why you just don’t quickly trust someone you don’t know and then welcome them into your home. You just don’t do that, okay?!
I also felt the story was very rushed… I don’t know, it seemed too fast-paced for me, and although there were some random POVs from victims, which really helped by the way, it felt there weren’t enough build-up. And worse, even though it was already fast-paced, I found myself skimming huge paragraphs of details even though they were pleasant to the eyes… I’m not sure myself what happened… I kind of went “selective reading” and singled out words that I thought looked interesting enough to continue. I did find a place to read normally, though, and it was decent after that, but still… yeah… the premise could’ve been interesting — alieeeens!!! — but it needed more building up and less vibrant details.
All in all, I think this is a solid 3/5 … if you’re looking for a reasonably PR about super aliens and stuff like that, this could be your thing. I’m just a bit sorry I didn’t like it as I expected, but it was okay. If you want another opinion, definitely check out Litchick’s review, as well as Rose’s.
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