Analyst James Bennett has spent the years since humankind fell victim to the Illness living underground. Part of an elite group of survivors determined to save their race, his only interaction with the blood-drinking Shadows roaming the Earth is through surveillance technology carried by his team of search-and-rescue agents. Scarred by vicious events, he has no desire to leave the safety of his bunker for the dangerous world outside—until he recruits a tough, haunted young woman clear across the country.
Former gang member Jules Guerrero learned two things early on: the value of loyalty and never backing down from a fight. Both of those teachings come in handy now that her job description includes protecting humans and kicking Shadow ass. But it’s hard to keep her mind strictly on her mission when all she can think about is the man whose voice keeps her sane through the depths of each dark night.
When Jules is captured and threatened by a rogue organization even more bloodthirsty than the Shadows, James must draw on all of his courage to fuel a furious cross-country chase through the lawless land…before the Jules he loves is destroyed forever.
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