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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

ARC Review: Beyond the Night by Joss Ware

For a post-apocalyptic romance/adventure, you might want to check out Beyond the Night by Joss Ware. This first book in Ms. Ware's series The Envy Chronicles, was originally published in 2010. The entire series has now been repackaged with new covers.

After sleeping for 50 years, Elliot Drake and his friends awake to an unfamiliar world. Everything has changed and they missed the main event. Wondering around for months they meet few people and learn very little about what actually happened. Eventually, the friends make their way to the city of Envy, where they start to piece together the events of 50 years ago. Problem is, there are very few survivors of the catastrophic event that destroyed most of the earth's population.

There are actually quite a few things going on in this story. You can tell that it is the first in a series. There are several elements that are classic series identifiers. First, there is the Elliot Brigade, i.e. those men that slept through the apocalypse. In them, we have a core group of hunks from which the heroes of the stories can be drawn. The descendants of the survivors will provide the heroines. In addition, there is a conspiracy theory about what caused the world destruction which is never really fully understood or proven. There is a group of Strangers, humanoid beings that seem to have super abilities as well as tyrannical methods and a devious plan.

After reading Beyond the Night, I know a little of the conspiracy and some interesting details about the Strangers. But there is so much more to the story to be told in subsequent books.

All of these series elements I mentioned make for a potentially fascinating story when the Elliot Brigade meets the people of Envy. Nevertheless, I did not really tune into this story much, probably because the characters came across as a bit one-dimensional. Jade, resident of Envy and love interest for Elliot, comes across as very young, despite the fact that she has more of a past than other characters. Elliot is a doctor and that is about all we find out about his background.

I found the most interesting characters to be the Waxnicki brothers who actually lived through the apocalypse and helped to rebuild the world. Many of the chapters start out with Lou Waxnicki's journal entries from the first days and months of the post-apocalyptic period. In Beyond the Night, the Waxnickis are secondary characters though. Hopefully they will get a bigger role in subsequent books.

There are 6 books plus a novella in the Envy Chronicles, so my educated guess is that the characters grew and deepened with the series. I have read more than one series where the first book was the weakest. Final verdict for Beyond the Night - it had potential to be a thrilling first book in the Envy Series, but it fell a bit flat with a weak cast of characters.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N |


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