Charon Docks at Daylight – Zoe Reed

This is hands down one of the best books I’ve ever read. One of the longest, too.

Last time they saw each other, Genevieve and Echo (not her name at the time) were fifteen and unlikely high school friends. One was a jock, the other a nerd. When they meet six years later, they’re on opposite sides. Genevieve is a soldier, Echo is a raider and partly responsible for the death of Genevieve’s family. An infection has turned a major part of the population into Ferals, soulless creatures who bite, eat and kill any living being they find, and everyone else is trying to survive and not get caught.

The story is mostly told from the POV of three characters: Genevieve; Echo; and Dugan, a man surviving on his own. All three have lost everything after the outbreak, their family but also who they were. As I’ve mentioned above, Genevieve was a high school student and a soccer player. Echo was also a high school girl, a very shy and very smart one. Dugan was a businessman, a husband and a father. Who do you become when your world ends? How far are you willing to go to survive? What makes you want to live when everyone you love is dead?

Most stories are about finding one’s true self, in some way or another. It’s never more true than it is here, especially for Genevieve and Echo. They went from being teenagers with rather normal lives to having to fend for themselves in a crazy world. They didn’t get a chance to grow into themselves. Some might find Genevieve’s shilly-shallying over her feelings about Echo annoying but often I had to remind myself that despite all they both have been through, they are really quite young. It would be easy to say that Genevieve chose one path and became one of the good guys while Echo chose another, living with the bad guys, but I don’t think either had much of a choice. The only one who did is Dugan, who decided not to trust anyone and to make his way on his own, until he met Kara, a very badass teenager.

There’s a lot to love in this book, from the atmosphere to all the characters. One of the most impressive things is that despite being a zillion pages long, it is never repetitive. The enemies to lovers romance is wonderfully slow and exciting and totally worth the wait. The author took full advantage of the length of the story and every little change is meaningful and organic. Charon Docks at Daylight is also free, which is all sorts of amazing.

The chapters are titled after songs, and of course there’s a playlist on YouTube:

Now seems like a good time to thank the Goodreads reviewers I’ve been following for a little while now, thanks to whom I found out about this fantastic book, and numerous other great reads. Some of you have also been quite helpful when I’ve had questions about some books or publishers. You’ve all come to mean a lot more to me than I expected. I get plenty of interesting book recommendations through Facebook groups but I always read your reviews before deciding whether to read a book or not. I trust your judgment even when I disagree with you. So thank you all for being there.

5-stars

Charon Docks at Daylight @ Patreon / Fictionpress (both free)

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