And here we are… the last leg of the trilogy. I was oddly reluctant to pick it up. Yes, yes, I knew things ended on an exciting, ominous note in book two, Ashen Winter, but still I hesitated. I didn’t want it to all end, but, since it was ending, I wanted it to end strong like the first two books. Obviously, I was having a reader gal moment.
As you can surmise since you’re reading my review, I got past that. And… wow, this one was for all the marbles. It was darker, grittier, and full of hope and triumph over all. The end of Alex, Darla, and the other survivors’ story closed in a way in keeping with what had come before and more than met expectation. I’m actually going to skip the summary because I’m pretty sure I couldn’t do one without spoilers.
Sunrise was a strong last leg to the trilogy as I pointed out earlier. The premise is a post-apocalyptic what-if scenario. What if the supervolcano under Yellowstone erupted? What would be the fall-out right away? Months? A Year? A few years? That is what this trilogy is about as it follows the individual lives of Alex and Darla.
Alex was a typical teenager living in suburban town Iowa when it happened. His folks and sister were away visiting his relations in Illinois and he was alone. He managed to survive and make his way to Illinois meeting the intrepid Darla along the way. Fortunately for Alex, Darla was studying to be a farmer so understood living off the land, machinery, and survival stuff. Now, in the final installment, both have come a long way and learned to grow up fast, make hard decisions, live with mistakes, and stay strong in the face of a world that has returned to a more primitive age. Resources are few and hoarded as well as fair game to those more ruthless. Some people descend into cannibalism, criminal gangs, and savagery. Others seek to dominate when they have little skill to lead.
Alex is a natural leader, but he is young and untried. Darla encourages him. They have a small band of survivors, but must find a way to protect their home, their meager assets, and also find a way to sustainable energy and food supplies. This leads to courage and daring and even turning away from family or friends who refuse to try to change with the new world they are in.
The author balances a strong story of people, their development and their exciting lives with drawing a believable and practical picture of what life after a mega disaster would be like. I was glad to see the meticulous work that added the layers beneath and did more with the truth of the descriptions making it so much more.
All in all, I am sad to let go of these books. I will be getting the prequel novella from Darla’s perspective because I’m not ready to say good-bye. I think these are powerful and any post-apocalyptic story lover worth their salt needs these books.