Bomb after bomb dropped across the globe sending the world tumbling into a seemingly never ending nuclear winter.
Skylar Ross is ten that day when she’s ripped from dance classes and sleepovers to being an orphan in a prepper’s paradise of a mountain bunker. Her determination to protect her baby brother keeps her locked away with nothing but responsibility and loneliness. Her father’s words are a continuous echo, “Trust no one. Help no one.”
Rex Larson is eleven that day. He’s left stranded on the side of the road in a strange place far from home when his mother dies the first day. With his own small brother to look after he is lost and alone. Rex has no choice but to trust complete strangers with his and his brother’s future.
Two different survivors in two different circumstances spend the next seven years trying to survive until an explosive meeting changes both their courses and lives forever. Trust is almost impossible when your whole life is spent in the Snow & Ash.
Skylar Ross is a typical pre-teen character who remembers social peer interaction, but hasn’t had any for the seven years before she opens the bunker. She has her school books, the entertainment her father brought in, her younger brother, and the artificial intelligence that runs the bunker. As such, it could be expected her emotional growth to be behind other teens her age. However, her thoughts portray her as having a much older emotional personality. This made me very confused, the switching from an almost adult interior dialogue to a teenager confronted with the first boy her age she’s seen in seven years. To be honest if I was in this situation I would not be able to say one word to Rex, let alone have a whole conversation.
The bunker has been outfitted for many years of living before the outside world can support vegetation. Her father alludes to an original plan of providing shelter to many people, but tells Skylar not to let anyone know where she is, and not let anyone in. Even after working for years with a military buddy the sheer amount of food stocked in the shelter is difficult to believe. Entire shipping containers are described by Skylar, begging the question how her father and friend got them up a mountain without anyone seeing. Skylar manages to raise her brother from infant hood, so we’ll have to assume some of those almost endless supplies included generous portions of formula and baby food.
Some of the situations are quite unrealistic, for example; Skylar’s dad making this bunker for his family, the use of a fridge and all the electronics, Skylar being able to have a normal conversation with Rex and the other people coming into her bunker.
The book also needs to be edited for punctuation marks, specifically quote marks. All of the beginning quote marks when a character speaks for more than one paragraph are missing. Occasionally, ending quote marks are missing. This interrupts the flow of the story and requires the reader to stop and decide if a character is still talking.
Skylar is a generally likable character, trying to follow advice given by her father years ago and that may now be out of date, and taking on the responsibility of a full time mother and maintainer of a specialized living situation. Now that her comfortable world has been invaded by others, it will be interesting to see how she goes from caring for a younger brother to living with many more people of different ages. I’m looking forward to reading the next book.
Have you read this book? What did you think about it? What books are you reading this week?