Trigger warnings ahoy.
Read for the SPFBO, this is the second book I dove into once we had our shortlist of ten.
Straight up – this book is problematic.
Pell is travelling with Keilie who is the daughter of the woman who previously spurned him. At times he is attracted to ‘the warmth of her young body pressed against him’ and notes the ‘mounting attraction’, but ultimately has doomed himself for her mother that he will never get – which is quite a problematic trope, if we’re honest. He also kisses her ‘to unlock her magic’ (as far as I could understand), and considers a range of things (such as physically beating) to encourage her to act as he sees fit.
I’ll admit that parts were skim-read for my own mental-health (why does she never see the warning bells?) Anyone who feels their entire life is ruined by one person is not well; it’s not romantic, it is grossly idealising unhealthy fixations – he could have done so much more with his life, and not taken it out on Keilie. But anyway. That aside.
Any world-building in post-apocalyptic settings are always a favourite. The fight scenes were decent.
Comments have been made by my lack of description to the plot for this one, and I have to admit now in my edit I’m still struggling to think of what else to say. This books follows the journey trope, and while things happen along the way, they are what we can expect in the journey trope – they fight things, they eat and sleep by the side of the road. Possibly because I skim read a few parts (perhaps up to 10% I’d estimate).
I think with some further development for Keilie this book would have further promise.