I’m always on the lookout for new concepts in fiction, especially in the genres I already enjoy. Montrose packs a double dose of surprise to create a truly unique premise in this novella-length introduction to the world of her new paranormal romance series.
Because this is a shorter book, the romance story line is slightly abbreviated but still contains the full range of depth and emotion I could have wanted from a full arc. It starts with a bang, and I do mean the sexy kind. This usually puts me off the characters, since I don’t yet have an emotional connection to either of them, but Montrose neatly sidesteps that by showing the emotional connection Hack and Aiden already do have so well that I was instantly invested in their love story instead. We get just enough background to tease something more, and I appreciated Aiden’s cheerful poignancy regarding the status of their fling. Angst doesn’t always have to be the answer when one party wants more.
However, the real world interrupts their potential with a very different sort of bang, and the bulk of the first half of this story is taken up by the post-apocalyptic event that stages the true setting of this full series. The possibility of a coronal mass ejection (CME) impacting our planet’s technological capabilities is a very real threat and one I haven’t read much of in fiction. Hack is called away from Aiden due to his emergency services position, and though he wants Aiden to prepare for the worst, I loved that Aiden both takes his advice and does his best to immediately turn to best serving and supporting his community. Montrose does lean into humans being the biggest problem in any speculative fiction world, but in a relatively realistic scenario that also beautifully sets up the eventual reveal of the supernatural facet of this book.
No spoilers here, but I was incredibly impressed by the other unique aspects of the world Montrose has created. It’s obvious from the worldbuilding we do get that this author has already prepared so much more under the surface to support what is shown here. This could have been a much longer book or felt rushed or too packed with info, but the pacing works excellently for the shorter length and gave me just enough answers to keep me hooked while leaving plenty of tantalizing questions for what comes next. Aiden and Hack’s world might have been completely upended (the obvious pun is already in the book’s title), but their happily ever after satisfies me and has me looking forward to the future possibilities for this series.
Disclaimer: I received a digital review copy of this book from the author.