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Review: Beyond the Night by Joss Ware (Envy Chronicles #1)

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Beyond the Night by Joss Ware // VBC ReviewBeyond the Night (Envy Chronicles #1)
Joss Ware
Published: Jan. 12, 2010 (HarperCollins)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review Source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for and honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

After what was supposed to have been a seemingly normal adventure to explore some caves in Sedona, Arizona, Dr. Elliott Drake and his companions woke up to a world that had been devastated in apocalyptic proportions. The strange(r) part of this is the fact that Elliott and his friends “woke up” fifty years after they went into the caves. Six months later, and they’re still no closer to figuring out what happened.

One night the crew comes across a group of teenagers in need of help. The teenagers, it so happens, hail from a place called Envy, and for helping out the teens Elliott and Co. are welcomed within its walls with open arms. While assisting the teenagers Elliott meets Jade who introduces them to the inner workings of Envy.

Deep within Envy the Resistance is beginning. Headed by a man named Lou and his brother Theo, alive pre-disaster, the group has been working tirelessly to figure out what really occurred on that day fifty years ago. What they know for sure: a group of immortals now controls what is left of the world and they do not have human’s best interests at heart.

I felt as though there were times Beyond the Night was taking on too much world building. But to truly understand what is happening and where the series will progress, I don’t really see how Joss Ware could have done any differently. It takes quite awhile until readers can fully grasp what is going on. Hints are dropped here and there, but until we get straight answers I felt the book was a little slow on the buildup. Once we get past this point, I didn’t want to put the book down.

While the focus of the series is clearly going to be this group of men from the past, Beyond the Night is Jade and Elliotts story. Things progress between them relatively quickly which oftentimes I don’t care for, but for me this time it worked. I think it’s the post-apocalyptic setting. I mean nothing says ‘live for today because tomorrow the world may end’ like a story about the world nearly ending.

Jade is a survivor. She escaped from captivity by the immortals and refuses to be chained down to anyone or anything again. This makes her independent to the extreme, but because of her attraction to Elliott, she doesn’t want to lose what she feels is her freedom by starting anything serious with him. On his part, Elliott was ready to settle down in his previous life and waking up 50 years later has not changed this for him. He knows what Jade has been through and I liked that he understood where she was coming from. He only goes a smidge alpha-male on her. I found their dancing around one another to be quite cute, and really what more can you ask for in the post-apocalypse but a sweet relationship?

For me, post-apocalyptic books are always the most eerie to read because they represent a more reality-based turn of events—such as catastrophic weather or a bomb annihilating everything in its wake—that could literally destroy/change the world as we know it. They also always show echoes of what the world used to be like and Beyond the Night sets up quite the world. Despite the slower start, I really enjoyed Beyond the Night and I’m looking forward to where the series is going.

Sexual content: graphic sex; references to abuse and rape

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