“I don’t think I missed out on anything. I think I was just waiting for you.”
Ever since the electricity went down and the world seemed to stop, John has been secluded in his family’s remote home along with his parents, siblings, his best friend, and now a grief stricken young widow and her newborn. As a child of the computer age John feels useless without his usual access to technology and the forced isolation is starting to make him stir crazy and listless. When John catches Mykhail trying to steal vegetables from the garden he never expected to learn the cause of the blackout. Not only does Mykhail know about The Flare but he’s also on a mission to find the one person he believes can actually fix things. Determined to finally feel useful again John decides to go with Mykhail to the nearby University but once they are on their own, things are not what they seem and John isn’t prepared for the danger they encounter, let alone the sudden passion he finds with Mykhail.
I was really happy to finally have some answers about what caused the blackout since that was left as a big unanswered question in the previous book, Radio Silence. I was also excited to see that the story would be venturing away from the house because I was hoping that this would lead to some more action and a more interesting story line. However, I still found myself bored while reading this book and I had to work a bit to finish it. I’ve been racking my brain for days trying to figure out why I had such a hard time connecting with the story, but I just can’t put my finger on it. Since I found nothing wrong with Alyssa Cole’s writing I can only say that this book just wasn’t really for me.
I really liked John in the first book, so I was excited to read this one and I’m glad he still had his sarcastic sense of humor, but I was surprised how whiny he was in the beginning part. Since I was already struggling to connect to the book, this started to wear on my nerves probably more than it would for anyone else. But even with the rough beginning, it’s clear just how compassionate and understanding John is and the way he tries to help and support Mykhail is incredibly admirable. I also liked that even though there were a few misunderstandings for the most part these two really communicate and work out their problems quickly by talking through what they’re thinking and feeling.
Mykhail was an interesting character but without his POV he’s left a big mystery for the first half of the book. One of the hardest things about this book was just that it was incredibly heavy for me as a reader. Mykhail’s experience after The Flare was heartbreaking and I completely understand his depression and struggle to keep going. Had this been the only issue in the second half of the book, it wouldn’t have been too bad. But on top of that, there’s a situation that’s occurring at the university; I won’t go into detail, because spoiler, but I found this portion of the book very hard to get through as a reader because it was a really negative and depressing look at humanity and how we treat others. I guess you could say that speaks for how strong Alyssa Cole’s writing is, but in terms of enjoyment, I just wasn’t there.
Content Note: depression and suicidal thoughts, references to assisted suicide, rape and sodomy
••• Book Details •••
Off the Grid #2 • Romance, LGBTQ+, Science Fiction • Carina Press • May 4, 2015
In a secluded cabin, John and his loved ones have survived. He should feel grateful. But his family is in his face 24/7, he has to watch his best friend, Arden, and brother, Gabriel, flaunt their love, and as a techie in a Luddite world he’s pretty much useless. The cabin is brimming with people, but he feels utterly alone.
Until he catches Mr. Tall, Blond and Gorgeous raiding their garden. Mykhail is an astrophysics student, he makes John’s gaydar ping like crazy and he thinks he knows what caused the devastation. He’s on a journey to his university to find answers, and John invites himself along. Partly to get out of the house, and partly because he can’t let Mykhail go without acting on the mutual attraction that’s so obvious even John’s mom is playing matchmaker.
The closer they get to campus, the more Mykhail lets down his walls. But with answers come secrets both devastating and deadly, and before they can save the world, they’ll have to save themselves.
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