It is the end of the world…
They call him Eagle. Like the grand and beautiful animal that symbolizes freedom. And during these dark times, when humanity is full of nothing but suffering, a man with such a powerful name should be a beacon of hope.
He is anything but.
Her name is Autumn. Though she hasn’t said this name, or much of anything else, in the four years since the fall of civilization. A shell of her former self, and living wild in a cave at the bottom of a ravine, Autumn is accustomed to being alone. She prefers it actually, especially when her only other options for company are either trying to kill her, or worse, lock her up inside their walls.
Captured by Eagle’s people Autumn is suddenly thrust back into the land of the living, though she would hardly call it living. The community of Purgatory is full of sinners, the most evil of which seem to have set their sights on her.
In an act born of anger and defiance, Eagle becomes Autumn’s unexpected savior forcing these two solitary people into one another’s broken worlds. Neither knows quite what to make of the other, but one thing is certain.
To survive Purgatory, they will need to learn how to rely on each other; a feat that could quite possibly teach them how to live again.
I’m not going to lie. I was afraid to read Beneath Blood and Bone (BBB). The first book in the series, Thicker than Blood (TTB), tore my heart apart and sold it on the black market as spare parts. It was an amazing book, but really did a number on my emotions. While I didn’t start out hating Eagle, by the end of TTB I hated him so much I wished he would get amoebic dysentery and crap himself to death. Or come down with a life threatening case of a cross between crabs and bullet ants that would eat his junk off. I honestly can’t think of another literary character that I have ever felt so much hatred. Liv isn’t far behind though. That bitch needs to die.
To me, Beneath Blood and Bone has a drastically different feel to it than TTB. TTB was about survival and the limitless love and friendship between two women, whereas BBB is more about strangers forced to depend on one another for their own survival. Each battling their own internal demons and accustomed to relying on only themselves, they grow and become more than what we initially see them to be. The characters show strength and weakness in places I would not have expected them to do so.
The reasoning behind Eagle’s pleasant personality is a bit predictable, it’s the zombie apocalypse after all, but that doesn’t make it any less easy to learn. I appreciate the authors telling BBB from both his and Autumn’s points of view. We get to see inside of Eagle’s head and learn to understand him so much more than we did in TBB. Autumn has been cut off from society for so long, some of her reactions can be expected as well.
Realistically, the way these characters react to one another is nothing short of magical. Almost like a wolf who has a pet mouse. A mouse who may be covered in shit and possibly crazy, but she’s survived on her own for this long somehow, right?
I have read all of Claire Riley’s other books and for the life of me cannot tell which parts she wrote and which were written by Madeline Sheehan. I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know at this point. I love how seamlessly their writing has come together to create such a great series. This second book was just as good as the first and made me want to keep reading even though I had run out of pages.
In some series, the story is good, but sometimes it seems like it’s the same old story over and over. The same map of how a story goes: introduction and buildup, a dramatic event or conflict, and the thrilling conclusion. This series has that map, but it also has something more. It has EMOTION. It makes you FEEL. I had never cared for zombie books before reading Claire Riley’s Odium Series. It was the same old, same old. But Riley makes me actually feel something while reading her zombies. Maybe it’s because her books are more about the people and how they try to keep living, while the zombies are there but more in the background. I don’t know what it is, but her books are special.
I would recommend this series to anyone who likes great zombie apocalypse books filled with characters that will make you run an emotional gauntlet and leave you exhausted, and begging for mercy and more at the same time.
Thicker Than Blood is on sale for 99¢ for a limited time!
Thicker Than Blood
Beneath Blood and Bone
**I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.