This is a very dark book - one of the darkest I have read in a very long time. It made me cringe. It made me heartsick. It made me ask myself, how much can two characters take?
And what would you be willing to do for love and for survival?
The bulk of the story is set in a futuristic world that was a lot like the future in the Terminator movies, except there were aliens picking off the humans instead of robots. Medical intern Kris Davenport has been transported decades into the future after being forced into a portal by a future version of herself. Future-Kris assures her that she has a mission. That she must save a man named ConRad.
The man in question turns out to be the commander of the unit of soldiers who saves Kris from the aliens when she is thrust into their world. It's anything but love at first sight. ConRad is stoic and severe, a consummate soldier. He and Kris clash constantly as she is indoctrinated into her new reality. Women are very rare. And most of the ones who do exist, live a solitary existence, working to heal and protect what's left of humanity.
Of course, things do develop between Kris and ConRad eventually. But it's when it seems like they just might have a chance at happiness that it all hits the fan. Kris and ConRad have to endure some truly horrific events: beatings, tortures, rapes... not to mention the heart-wrenching emotional
wringer they both go through in the second half of the book. This is no light reading. But I couldn't give up on these two. I had to see if they could pull themselves out of the darkness and find any shreds of happiness and hope for their future.
The book was compelling. It took awhile to warm up to the characters, because at first ConRad was such a jerk and Kris was such a whiner. But they both moved toward better versions of themselves over the course of the book. The time travel and those elements wrapped up in Kris changing the past/future got a little sticky for me at the ending... and I would have loved to see a little more resolution with the fate of the villain.
But I didn't want to put it down. It had me on the edge of my seat and never shied away from the really hard stuff. It was good, but you need to go into it, knowing what to expect. 4 stars.*ARC Provided by NetGalley