Published by Harlequin Luna on 29 January 2013
Genres: Adult, Dystopian, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
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'Til The World Ends is an anthology written by two authors I adore, and one whose books I had never read before. All three stories are set in a dystopian world, and each has something very scary to be on the lookout for! All three also have some pretty cool female characters, as well as a well built world, some suspense and a wish for more!
*I received a free ARC of ‘Til The World Ends from Harlequin Luna via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*
Til The World Ends starts with Dawn of Eden by Julie Kagawa, and the readers are brought straight to the heart of the problems that arise in this dystopian society. There is a new disease that kills almost everyone it touches, Red Lung had killed millions of people in very little time. Kylie seems to be immune after having been infected but got well again. Most people who contract this virus die a horrible death, and Kylie is a doctor working with next to no supplies and very little staff to help her treat the patients in the abandoned city.
Yes, it is quite gory, but at the same time, it shows that even in times of great suffering, there are still some people who care about others, and who keep being honest and hard-working. Of course, to make things interesting, Red Lung appears not to be the worst that can happen to the characters living in Kylie’s world. Then in the midst of one of the orderlies leaving for good, Ben Archer comes into the clinic with his friend who has been hurt. Kayle finds big gashes on his back and elbow, deep punctures with infections and it looked suspiciously like teeth-marks…
As things got even more ugly, Ben and Kylie have to run – luckily Ben’s car is in good condition as they start running. They spend days to get to the farm where Ben grew up, and at first his father didn’t even want to let them in. As they settle with Ben, his parents and extended family, they board up the house to better fight what is coming for them. They wish they couldn’t hear the moans coming from outside. All they have left is hope, and the little information they got from a mysterious stranger who helped them escape prior to getting home.
Dawn of Eden is the prequel to Julie Kagawa’s new Blood of Eden series, and I have to say she got me! I need to find out what will happen in that one, and if the characters from Dawn of Eden will show up as well.
Things were bleak, but I wasn’t blind. Ben Archer was gorgeous; you didn’t need a Ph.D. to see that.
The second story in ‘Til The World Ends is Thistle & Thorn by Ann Aguirre, about a very skilled thief, who is taken in by an organization she would have done better to stay very far away from. In this world, some people live in fortresses where the air is clean and they have more than enough food. They even work and go to school inside the fortress, so as to not have to breathe the polluted air outside, and at the same time not having to see the sick and poor. Mari, of course does not live in the fortress. She, is, however going to enter one to steal something for the local boss Stavros .
When things go wrong and all the alarms go off, Mari unexpectedly gets help, both on the inside of the fortress and on the outside. Help, it seems, that wasn’t really free – everything comes with a price in Thistle & Thorn. Thorne is Stavros’ enforcer, his second or third. But it seems he’s also more than that, as he races through the streets with Mari holding on to him. Making sure no robots can catch them. He tells her she needs to run, and he needs a favor back from her as well.
The pacing is extremely fast in this novella, sometimes I felt like I had to hold on to my seat to make sure I wasn’t going to fall off. Thorne and Mari drive through the night on a solar-operated motorcycle with AI robots shooting at them. Mari needs someone to look after her younger siblings as Thorn is going to take her back to Stavros for her punishment. It seems, however, that Thorne has a very different idea about what to do with Mari, and also what to do with Stavros.
There are some excellent fight-scenes, and both Thorn and Mari show that they are very skilled at fooling their enemies. Mari is wondering whether Thorne is indeed a friend or an enemy throughout the whole narrative, never letting down her guard.
The final story in ‘Til The World Ends is Karen Duvall’s Sun Storm. Sarah grew up chasing storms with her father, but lately, the storms have changed. There are horrible sun-storms that kill both people, animals and nature, and somehow Sarah can predict the storms. She needs the storms, they energize her and help her feel healthy. As soon as she feels a storm somewhere around the hospital where she lives and works to take care of her father, she runs to her car to get there in time.
When Sarah meets Ian, who helps her save her father, she immediately feels drawn to him. And it isn’t only because he is good-looking. Ian has some special powers of his own, and they soon realize that they can help each other out and lend each other strength. Ian tells her about a government organization that takes people like them to train them. Only the one agent who caught Ian had used him for personal gain, and Ian trusts noone.
As the story moves forward, Sun Storm is the one story that makes me feel that ‘Til The World Ends is indeed the correct title for this anthology. There is a certain urgency as Ian and Sarah fight both against the corrupt agent, and against the ever-stronger sun-storms. When they finally realize what they are able to do when they work together, it might already be too late. Both for them, and for the world.
I normally don’t exactly love anthologies, but I quite enjoyed all three novellas in ‘Til The World Ends. I do love dystopias, though, and these three are well done, with good world building, and the actual dystopia makes sense. It is possible to understand what happened to make the world the way it is in the present time of each novella, and that is a very important part of a dystopia story in my opinion. I recommend ‘Til The World Ends to those who like dystopias, and I want to add that there is an added bonus of strong female characters in each of the stories as well.