Title: Darkness Eternal (Refuge Inc. #5)
Author: Leslie Lee Sanders
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Genre(s): Scifi, post-apocalyptic
Page Count: 159
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
As above, so below, except when referring to the underground Refuge Inc. compound.
A century after an asteroid impact and merely fifteen years after a second collision that turned the world into a noxious wasteland, Cadet Connor Nichols and other Refuge facility residents are making the most of their spherical underground utopia they call home.
But when a breach threatens to poison the occupants with toxic air, Connor is forced to make life-altering decisions in an attempt to save lives and his only home. With help from best friend and training partner, Vince Moore, he’s reminded that good leadership requires responsibility.
His struggle intensifies as everything he knows about the facility, the leaders, and himself becomes twisted, distorted, and turned into the unimaginable when his efforts exposes shocking secrets that threaten their future.
*A standalone in the Refuge Inc. series.
My disclaimer – I did not realize this was part of a series and I have not read any of the previous books. I can assure you that yes, this can definitely be read as a standalone. I had no problems understanding the setting, the background, or the characters.
Enter the world of Refuge, Inc. An underground facility, almost its own city, cut off from the surface. The purpose? Survival. And Dr. Randolph is in charge of ensuring the survival and well-being of the people under his care.
Dr. Randolph has been training a group of cadets to ensure the continued safety of the people in a confined space – a small police force basically. The Cadets work in pairs and Cadet Connor is paired with Dr. Randolph’s son, Cadet Vince. Connor has harbored strong feelings for Vince for years, but in Refuge, Inc, homosexual relations are illegal because a same-sex pairing will not ensure the continuation of the population.
Connor struggles between his desire for Vince and keeping his feelings hidden. He thinks Vince feels the same, but Vince, ever struggling to keep his father proud of him, has been pushing Connor away. Then the unthinkable happens and Connor, Vince and another cadet called Tamara find themselves on the wrong side of a police action gone wrong and are trapped in the uninhabitable parts of the facility.
And then the truth comes to light…
I enjoyed this with some caveats:
• Setting – I liked the idea of the underground refuges to protect people from the ravages of the asteroid. And this is where perhaps having read the first books would have helped? I wanted to know how and when these were built. But that’s my scifi geek coming out.
• I struggled to get a sense of Dr. Randolph’s motivations and why he felt his leadership was threatened. Especially when it started 15 years earlier. For example how he came to be in charge of Refuge, Inc.
• The climatic conclusion, the final battle and resolution so to came across as rushed. I think this could have been developed a bit more.
• This read somewhat like a YA Dystopian book, despite the fact that our main characters are supposed to be about 25 years old. That was a bit disconcerting.
The somewhat unrequited love between Connor and Vince was sweet. I appreciated the pace of the relationship when it became apparent they were no longer under the thumb of Dr. Randolph and the rules of Refuge, Inc. It wasn’t a rip clothes off, fly into bed for hours of hot sloppy sex scenario, it was a beautiful yet somewhat tentative exploration of long held feelings. Perfect, in my opinion.
Ultimately, an enjoyable m/m scifi romance read where I found the world building interesting, the ending a bit rushed, and the relationship development quite good.