Series: Blood of Eden #0.5
Published by Harlequin Luna on January 29th, 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Dawn of Eden by Julie Kagawa
Before The Immortal Rules, there was the Red Lung, a relentless virus determined to take out all in its path. For Kylie, the miracle of her survival is also her burden-as a doctor at one of the clinics for the infected, she is forced to witness endless suffering. What's worse, strange things are happening to the remains of the dead, and by the time she befriends Ben Archer, she's beginning to wonder if a global pandemic is the least of her problems....
Thistle & Thorne by Ann Aguirre
After a catastrophic spill turns the country into a vast chemical wasteland, those who could afford it retreated to fortresses, self-contained communities run by powerful corporations. But for Mari Thistle, life on the outside-in the Red Zone-is a constant struggle. To protect her family, Mari teams up with the mysterious Thorne Goodman. Together, they'll face an evil plot in both the underworld of the Red Zone and the society inside the fortresses that could destroy those on the outside...for good.
Sun Storm by Karen Duvall
Sarah Daggot has been chasing storms since she was a child. But after the biggest solar flares in history nearly destroy the planet, she becomes a Kinetic, endowed by her exposure to extreme radiation with the power to sense coming storms-in the cosmos and beyond. And she's not the only one. Sarah believes the Kinetics are destined to join forces and halt the final onslaught of the sun. She'll vow to keep trying to convince the one missing link in their chain of defense, the enigmatic Ian Matthews, up until the world ends.
There was this one time Ann Aguirre was giving away books if you signed up for her email newsletter and this was the only book on the list that I hadn’t read or didn’t own. It includes her short story Thistle and Thorn, which I’ve seen her tweet about people demanding more from that universe. I figured it’s about time to see what the fuss is about.
Dawn of Eden (4.5 stars)
The first novella in the book is by Julie Kagawa, whom, wait for it, I’ve never read a single thing from. Gasp! I know! How did that happen? I know all about her Iron Fey series, but I never got around to picking it up. She’s also got this dragon book coming out this year that looks really interesting. I really enjoyed the writing itself. It had a wonderful cadence and an interesting voice. I’ll probably have to go out in search of more of her books to read.
This was a prequel to Kagawa’s The Immortal Rules, which, clearly, I haven’t ever read. It revolves around a med student working in one of the generator powered clinics set up to take care of an epidemic of a disease called Red Lung. Red Lung causes those effected to bleed into their lungs and eventually die, hence the name. It’s generally fatal once contracted, but Kylie was one of the lucky sixteen percent who battled the disease and won. Now immune, she’s the closest thing to a doctor the clinic has, overseeing several employees and a daunting patient load.
When Ben Archer brings his friend Nathan into the clinic for bite wounds, it sets off a chain of events that leads to a new epidemic. Those afflicted turn into what I can only describe as zombpires. I imagine them very similar to the creatures in the Will Smith version of I Am Legend. In a clinic full of susceptible hosts, only Ben and Kylie escape. He decides they should make it to Illinois and his estranged parent’s house in BFE (no, really, they pretty much went to BFE).
Not all of Ben’s family is happy to see them, but when faced with the zombpire epidemic (which they don’t initially believe in), they are more than happy to fortify the house and wait everything out. There’s a disruptive siege one night, and with after some poignant casualties, the family continued to thrive.
What I failed to mention was that the book is also host to normal vampires. What caused the zombpire epidemic was an attempt to cure Red Lung by using the vampires natural immunity. This being said, there’s a vampire that Kylie and Ben meet on the road who shows up at the end of the novella, heading to Europe. I’m not sure who he is, but he must have some significance to the actual novels. Because, seriously, he’s just some random vampire being a depressed creepzor otherwise.
The writing was graphic and quick paced, keeping my interest all the way through. Kagawa holds nothing back whether it be violence or sex. It gave me everything I needed in a prequel novel while piquing my interest for the actual series.
Thistle and Thorne (4 stars)
This short story was written by Ann Aguirre and I can see where it could possibly become a series all on its own. The characters are interesting and the world lends itself to having plenty of shenanigans.
Mari Thistle lives in the Red Zone, the unregulated outskirts of the expensive fortresses, where those who could afford to escape the chemical wasteland did. Mari has to take odd jobs thieving in order to support her younger brother and sister, and in doing so got on the bad side of the Snake Ward’s mob boss, Stavros. When her heist turns sour, she is rescued by the mysterious henchman, Thorne Goodman and together they plot to overthrow Stavros.
A lot of the story is spent running from danger and being in quite the precarious predicament, but somehow, through all this, Ann Aguirre has painted some wonderful and deep characters. I would most assuredly pick up anything else about Mari Thistle, were the author to eventually write it.
Sun Storm (1 star)
I must admit, I skimmed most of it. I actually almost DNF’d, but as I had 50 pages left of an ENTIRE BOOK, I trudged on. This story starts off interesting, with solar flares killing most of the population and giving a select few magic powers. But, somewhere after the big reveals it started to drag. Sure, every chapter ended with a problem that needed to be solved, but these were problems like buildings on fire and cars with no gas. I just didn’t care anymore. The ending of the apocolypse was super lackluster as well. A half page of, ‘welp, looks like everything is fixed’. It was the weakest of the three, but it had a lot to live up to.