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Review: Fallen by Traci L. Slatton

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Fallen12087949
Author: Traci Slatton
Reviewer: Gikany and Una
Rating: B-

What We’re Talking About:

Fallen is the first novel in the After Trilogy, a post-apocalyptic dystopian world.  We follow Emma, a woman who faced with the end of the world, fights to save herself and her daughter.  While the ashes have cleared, she continues to struggle to survive, saving other children along the way until she realizes that she cannot continue alone.

We meet Emma in the After.  The Before times are just something to wistfully remember when you are scraping by in the After.  The deadly mist that caused this apocalypse remains a continuing threat and lawlessness is rampant. It is a very dark world, full of very grey choices.  Emma and the children survive by hiding from the raiders and foraging for food and other supplies along the forgotten cities in Europe.  While foraging one day, she comes across a new band of raiders.  Emma, tired of fear, senses this might be the time to stop going at it alone.

Arthur is the leader of this particular band of raiders and is not interested in having a woman and several children to take care of.  However, Emma agrees to conjugal rights to her body in exchange for food, shelter and the safety in the raider’s camp.  What had started off as a bartered agreement for their survival quickly turns into something more.  However, nothing is ever easy in a post-apocalyptic dystopian world.  There are other raiders with absolutely no morals who threaten their safety: those who imprison, use and abuse women, and even those who have turned to cannibalism.  Arthur’s band is coveted for numerous reasons, not just for his large storage of food and items.  Yet, even in the face of such destruction, Arthur is trying to rebuild the world and fight the mist.  Even as he is trying to start over and forget the past (or maybe atone for past sins), Emma cannot let go of her husband and older daughter from Before.  She feels she must know what has happened to them and finds herself torn between two men.

Fallen is engrossing.  Gikany and Una found it to be a quick read simply because it is difficult to put down.  The world building, the aftermath and the nature of the mist were incredibly fascinating.  There are moments while we were reading that we were completely blown away by the world, the narrative, and the plot.  Everything has us enthralled.  But then we had moments that threw us for a loop.  If only Emma and Arthur talked, so much could have been avoided.  Things could have ended so much better.  But we suppose in this world, people would keep their secrets to themselves.  We understand Arthur not wanting to talk about the past, we understand Emma’s reluctance to talk about her husband and child.  However, so much pain could have been avoided if they had more trust with one another.  We loved the introduction of the Women’s Camp.  We liked the contrast of the way that they live and understood the hard choice of sending their boys away at thirteen.  It was fascinating and made perfect sense.  The character of Mikhail and the camp he lives in were such a contrast to Arthur’s.  How Mikhail, a boy growing up in a brutal world, could be so beautiful inside and out was wondrous.  The mist has brought out different astounding abilities in people.  This world is so fascinating, despite all of its horror, there is still beauty and hope.

The plight of Emma and the children is vivid.  The other raiders are not as civilized as Arthur, but that is not to say he is a charming gentlemen either.  There is a moment between Arthur and Emma that starts as non-consensual and ends up consensual.  As some readers know, the issue of rape in novels is a very sensitive subject for us.  We had a bit of an issue with it.  It did not keep us from reading, but did cause us to pause as we had to examine it.  There are other references to rape in the novel – but nothing we experience and the females are treated appropriately.  However this one encounter between Arthur and Emma made us uncomfortable, even after the mood of it changed.  Arthur, at times, had the emotional maturity of a seven-year old.  Gikany and Una debated about whether he is written well or just one-dimensional.  Arthur seems to be one of those highly intelligent people who lack socialization.  Someone who is so locked in the cerebral, he is lost in social situations and by emotions.

We are left with a major cliffhanger in Fallen.  Gikany and Una are eager to find out what happens next for Emma and Arthur.  Since the next installment, Cold Light, is out, we are going to pick it up and read it.  We just have to know what happens next.  Will the mists be eradicated?  Will Arthur let Emma go?  Will Emma let Arthur go?  What is the future of this world?  So many questions, we hope we get a chance to find out and maybe find out more about Mikhail and the ladies of the Women’s Camp.  If you are looking for an engrossing tale of romance set against a bleak world – pick up Fallen. 

B-    Liked It – But we had a few small issues

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About the Book:

When the world ends, all that is left is love….

As chaos descends on a crippled Earth, survivors are tormented by strange psychic gifts. In this time of apocalyptic despair, love is put to the test. One woman with mysterious healing power guides seven children to safety. Charismatic Arthur offers her a haven. Slowly Emma falls for him. But at the moment of their sweetest love, his devastating secret is revealed, and they are lost to each other. Will Emma stay with him?

The first in a romantic trilogy set during the end times.

Release Date: July 12, 2011
Publisher: Telemachus Press
Series: After Trilogy #1
ISBN: # 978-1935670896
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format(s): Paperback (298 pages), e-book
Book Source: author

Purchase Info:
Fallen (After #1)

 

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