ARV-3 (The after life saga #1) by Cameo Renae

18629550Published November 26th 2013 by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing

Oh my god this was partially really good but had so many faults.

The good: I found the apocalyptic / post-apocalyptic world interesting but I was not convinced by the concept. According to the story, a massive solar storm wiped out all electricity on the planet. The following Nuclear fallout wiped out life on the planet, except for a few thousand humans who took shelter in underground bunkers across the globe.
When the ejection is directed towards the Earth and reaches it as an interplanetary CME (ICME), the shock wave of the traveling mass of Solar Energetic Particles causes a geomagnetic storm that may disrupt the Earth’s magnetosphere. Coronal mass ejections, along with solar flares of other origin, can disrupt radio transmissions and cause damage to satellites and electrical transmission line facilities, resulting in potentially massive and long-lasting power outages.

So far so good. But, it takes 17h for a solar flare to reach Earth. There would have been enough time to switch off potentially dangerous atomic power plants. 

But let’s go with the story and assume all those scientists at NASA, ESA & Roskosmos, haven’t seen it coming, and the solar storm was like a GIANT GLOBAL EMP and everybody on this planet just wakes up without ANY electricity and EVERY SINGLE nuclear power plant was going to go Chernobyl on us. Life on Earth wouldn’t be over. Life in Europe and USA would be over. But let’s have a look at a picture of nuclear power plant around the glove:

There is not a single red dot in Alaska and Canada, Africa, South America, Australia, large parts of Russia and Asia. Why not evacuate people to these countries, with sailboats and steamboats if need be.

But let’s just go with the story. There are big, government hives and some small “family” hives, build by those who prepared for exactly this end-of-the-world scenario. How people can survive 13 years in a bunker is beyond me. The amount of dried fruits and noodles to feed 15 people for almost 5000 days… wow… is simply unbelievable. The amount of toilet paper alone is unthinkable! I found it not nearly enough explained how people survived that long without sunlight, without access to the surface in an underground bunker.

Now, after thirteen years, people finally are able to return to the topside only to find the world full of aggressive mutants. I have to admit, I did enjoy the Arvies. They are crazed, milky-eyed creatures who have developed a deep hatred towards all survivors over the last decade and they totally like to bite and rip them apart. Also there is more to them than a Zombie-like almost dead status on the surface. They are feeling, communicating and strategizing human-like creatures. And they want revenge for what the government did to them. That was the best part of the book because you never know when one or several hundreds of them are going to pop out behind you. There’s a lot of action with guns, bombs and snipers. Loved it!

Apart from this the story didn’t appeal to me on every other level. Almost all characters are very cliché: you have the ex-Navy Seal uncle who is depicted like a middle-aged Rambo, there is her Mom who constantly panics, her grandparents were kind of forgotten after their introduction, same with Abi’s cousin that never even gets mentioned again in the entire book! the people in the government hive were even more cliché and absolutely nobody contributed in any way to the story. That was kind of a letdown. It felt like the potential of group dynamics under pressure was totally wasted. The interactions remained unfortunately shallow and sketchy which also left gigantic-sized opportunities for plot holes that were filled by “deus-ex-machina”, literally. I have nothing against religion, but please spare me with prayers that are being answered and all the talk about karma and fate. There are like 3 major events where they are up to their ears in a shit storm and would you believe it, they pray to God and salvation comes. Unrealistic much?

One example: Abi is fighting against an Arvy and it’s a close call. Her uncle saves her by shooting it through the head. Unfortunatelly the same bullet also goes through her hand. I ask you: If a disease is transmissible by saliva (remember the bites) wouldn’t it also be by blood contact?

Have I mentioned the romance? No? Shame on me! How could I forget to tell you about ohmygodhejustlookedatmeisn’theawesome FINN. Finn who will always love her, be there for her, who even gives her an engagement ring, who kisses her senseless, love-lost. Kill me please! It was a lot of telling instead of showing involved.

If not for all its faults, Abi’s ass-kicking character, the action and interesting drafted Arvies would have been enough to grant at least 1 or two stars more. But despite my misgivings, I am still interested in the next book in this series.

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