If I learned one thing from Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies, it was that zombies and romance don’t mix. Then Alisha Rai proved me wrong.
In three or four generations this world will be ashes, Shadows, and survivors. The government is split and so are people. Humans did this to themselves with bombs and the Illness that turns people into Shadows. Or, you know, zombies who have lost the pigment in their hair, skin and eyes, which is why they have a fancy name here.
Jules Guerrero rebuild her life after the Illness swept over the world and now she’s a scout who works in search and rescue and dabbles in combat on the West Coast. Through her earpiece and collar she’s connected to James Bennett on the East Coast. They work together to save people and their flirting makes the world go around. Then Jules takes off to find a missing friend, gets captured, and James has to leave his cocoon to find his agent.
If based on that description you’re thinking “oh noes, it’s another damsel in distress and her knight in shining armour”, I have good news for you. It’s not one of those. Jules kicks ass. She can take care of herself and others. She has difficulties trusting people and indulging in company that’s there to help and support her, not to rescue her. James believes in Jules but has trouble believing in himself. James is a wonderful beta hero who isn’t a doormat and that’s why his and Jules’ partnership works.
It does take quite a while for the couple to physically get together, but the anticipation only heightens the unresolved sexual tension. While waiting for that UST to be resolved there are plenty of little scares and some gore to distract the reader from the wait.
I loved how the world building was done in small details littered all over the book instead of those heavy blocks of text that some authors seem to favour. For every edge the characters get they have to sacrifice something and adjust to a new situation. In my notes it just says: “There are consequences!” Happy dance is implied. Such a surprisingly rare detail in the dystopian genre.
When is the sequel coming out?
Final Assessment: If you like zombies and romance, this is a book for you. B
Series: ShadowLands #1