Title: The Long Fall of Night
Author: AJ Rose
Publisher: The Grim Writer Press
Release Date: June 16, 2015
Page Count: 473
Reviewed by: Jewel
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
In a flash, everything changes.
When NYU student Asher Caine’s uncle calls to warn him something big is coming, he has no idea it will be so devastating. Not even years of training can prepare him for what he’s about to face. The only plan he has is to get his sister and nephew across country to safety, whatever it takes.
The darkness is full of potential. For good or evil, only time will tell.
Elliot Davenport isn’t about to let his Chemistry lab partner leave him behind, though he’s never done a spontaneous thing in his life. Ash is mysterious, aloof, and so damned sexy, Elliot can’t get the guy out of his head. But his crush takes a backseat as the gravity of the situation becomes clear: the eastern two-thirds of the United States has gone dark.
What happens when all the rules change in a split second?
200 million people are without access to sustainable food and water, let alone coffee and the Internet. Facing the worst humanitarian crisis the western world has ever seen, the government calls the military to step in. The entire military.
The soldiers of Team Shockwave are tasked with evacuating civilians to the safety of refugee camps, and then patrolling the new border between the East and West. Shockwave are on the front lines and the fate of an entire nation rests on them.
Welcome to the long fall of night…
Before I get into the story, I want to say how much I love the cover for this book. It is gorgeous and a bit ominous. It’s one of those covers that would have prompted me to pick up the book and read it, even knowing nothing about the story or author. Some covers do that to me and I love it when it pays off with a good story, too.
“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”
–Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Long Fall of Night explores what might happen to society if a terrorist attack, in the form of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), were to take out the power grids for more than half of the United States. I don’t know how plausible a scenario like this is, but the thought of it sure is unsettling. And like many post-apocalyptic story lines, The Long Fall of Night isn’t really about the disaster, at all – that’s just the vehicle – but rather about how people deal with it. Disasters like the one depicted in this book bring out the very best and the worst of humanity and we see it all here in vivid color. In The Long Fall of Night there are over 200 million people suddenly without power, clean water, food and long distance communication. Mass panic and chaos are inevitable.
This is a long book, almost 500 pages, and the cast of characters is large. The story is cut into two story lines; the main story is of Ash and Elliot’s refugee group and the other, Team Shockwave of the US Army, who are tasked with finding civilians and sending them to disaster centers where they can get food, water and shelter. And, while there was a lot to keep up with, I didn’t find it terribly difficult to do so. I found the characters interesting, and I was engaged in their progress. And, though the story was sometimes slow, I didn’t feel the urge to skip or skim. There is a lot of build up within each group as everyone tries to find their place in this brave new world.
Asher “Ash” Caine is a college student who is definitely more than he seems. He goes out of his way to look like a bit of a bad boy – tattoos, muscular build, and an ‘I don’t give a crap’ attitude. He’s never let himself get close to people because he has a bit of an abandonment complex. Both his parents died when he was young and his crazy “uncle” Martin has filled his head with all kinds of conspiracy theories. So, Ash is a bit of an outsider. The closest thing he has to a friend is his chemistry lab partner, Elliot, but Ash doesn’t really consider them friends and certainly not boyfriends. Whatever they are, though, they have the ‘with benefits’ designation. Ash is lying to himself, though. He cares for Elliot a lot more than he lets on.
Elliot Davenport comes from money. His father owns an oil company, so Elliot has never had to fend for himself in any situation. However, that silver spoon had its drawbacks. Elliot has always been kept on a short leash, and his childhood wasn’t filled with playgrounds and sleepovers. He’s had a tremendous amount of pressure to succeed and be the perfect son to take over his father’s company. He’s crazy brilliant and socially awkward and in love with the emotionally unavailable Ash.
Ash was warned, by his Uncle Martin, to prep a go bag and be ready to bug-out of New York City if anything unusual happens. He is to go get his sister and nephew and head to Seattle. When the lights go out, Ash is with Elliot and Elliot comes with. But convincing him (and his sister) that they need to travel across the country is no easy task. But they must do something before chaos breaks out everywhere. Plus, Elliot’s dad sends a trusted man, Brian, to get Elliot. And Brian agrees with Ash that they all need to get the hell off the east coast.
When they start their journey, it’s six adults and a 10 year old boy and all the supplies they could salvage all packed in a minivan. Easy peasy, right? Nope. Their journey is fraught with tragedy and unexpected situations and for more than 1000 miles, they walked and camped and walked some more. They hunted their food and just kept going. And they meet people along the way and gain more travelers as they try to make their way to Seattle.
Interspersed in the story, we get a perspective of the disaster from the view of a team of Army soldiers called Shockwave. This team is headed up by a badass woman, Sargent Vanessa “Ness” Middler, who is very no-nonsense. She puts her career first in her life and her team is her family. Shockwave is one of the many teams doing sweeps of cities and neighborhoods to get stranded citizens to aid. After that, they are essentially on border patrol. They can’t just let 200 million people all go to the west coast or there would be even more chaos.
Within Shockwave, there is a GFY pairing of Corporal Chris West and Corporal Donovan “Donnie” Scanlon. They’ve been best friends since boot camp seven years ago and Chris suddenly find himself fantasizing about Donnie and so we get to see them work though that while they fight, then fuck out their tension.
I am very happy to say that I enjoyed this book a lot and I cannot wait for the next installment. The ending isn’t a cliffhanger, but there is obviously more story to tell. We still don’t know who is responsible for the EMP and I want to see a lot more of Ash and Elliot, as well as see how things play out between Chris and Donnie. I think that The Long Fall of Night is an excellent start to this dystopian series.