“Arden, it would be really sad if even the freaking apocalypse couldn’t get you to drop your defenses and let someone in.”
Arden and her best friend John have no idea why everyone just lost power, but they know being in the city is no longer safe. Traveling to John’s family home involves days of walking but they hope it will be a safer place to stay during this strange time. When they’re attacked near their destination, it’s John’s older brother Gabriel who comes to the rescue but he’s forced to kill two men in order to stop them.
Arden quickly learns that their hopes of finding out what’s going on were just pipe dreams but now at least they have food and shelter as they stay with John’s brother and younger sister, Maggie. However, John’s parents disappeared a week ago after never returning from a trip to bring food to a pregnant friend. Now the four of them are stuck together in the house with mounting worries and tension.
For some strange reason I love apocalypse type romances, so I was really excited to start this trilogy. Though I enjoyed Alyssa Cole’s writing a lot I was a bit disappointed in the plot which I found to be fairly slow and somewhat boring in certain parts. I guess I was hoping for more action surrounding the apocalypse but since it’s still in the early days, most people are just staying safe in their homes. For the most part, Arden, John, Gabriel, and Maggie are just trying to find ways to occupy themselves while trapped inside. While my expectations were not exactly met in regards to the plot I did really enjoy the characters and definitely intend to read the next in the series. Especially, because we still don’t know what caused the blackout!
The shining light of this story was certainly the characters who really come alive in the writing and I was hooked on seeing Arden and Gabriel come to terms with their guilt and anger over their circumstances and work things out. Arden was one tough woman who isn’t afraid to stand up for herself and has no problem putting Gabriel in his place when he acts like an asshole. At the same time, she’s incredibly understanding and compassionate toward Gabriel and his struggles. She understands his worry over his parents because she has no idea how her parents are handling things all the way across the country. Arden carries a lot of guilt over staying away from her family ever since her mother became sick with hep C. Though she comes to terms with some of her guilt, she battles with it all the way to the end. As a doctor, Gabriel too is dealing with the guilt of killing two men in order to save John and Arden. The internal struggles these two experience help lend them a vulnerability that they can share and find common ground in.
Though Arden and Gabriel were great, I also really loved John and he’s the big reason I plan to continue reading this series because his book is next. I just loved how he tried to keep things light and humorous to keep everyone’s spirit up. It’s obvious that it takes a lot to keep John down and I enjoyed his optimism. He’s also a great friend to Arden who needed a kick in the butt a few times to get over her usual defenses. As goofy as he can be he’s also incredibly protective and this clearly extends to anyone he sees as family, including Arden. Their friendship was truly beautiful.
Content Note: brief attempted rape
••• Book Details •••
Off the Grid #1 • Romance, Science Fiction • Carina Press • February 2, 2015
No one expects the apocalypse.
Arden Highmore was living your average postgrad life in Rochester, New York, when someone flipped the “off” switch on the world. No cell phones, no power, no running water—and no one knows why. All she and her roommate, John, know for sure is that they have to get out, stat. His family’s cabin near the Canadian border seemed like the safest choice.
It turns out isolation doesn’t necessarily equal safety.
When scavengers attack, it’s John’s ridiculously handsome brother, Gabriel, who comes to the rescue. He saves Arden’s life, so he can’t be all bad…but he’s also a controlling jerk who treats her like an idiot. Now their parents are missing and it seems John, Gabriel, their kid sister, Maggie, and Arden are the only people left alive who aren’t bloodthirsty maniacs.
No one knows when—or if—the lights will come back on and, in the midst of all that, Arden and Gabriel are finding that there’s a fine line indeed between love and hate. How long can they expect to last in this terrifying new world, be it together or apart?