Speculating on SpecFic

Fantastic Literature: From epic fantasy to fairytales to myth-making

'Til The World Ends: Dawn of EdenThistle & ThorneSun Storm

'Til The World Ends: Dawn of EdenThistle & ThorneSun Storm (Luna Books) - 'Julie Kagawa',  'Ann Aguirre',  'Karen Duvall' This anthology presents three stories about the end of the world as we know it by acclaimed YA authors Julie Kagawa, Ann Aguirre and Karen Duval. The stories give us a rare glimpse into the apocalypse: many dystopian and post-apocalyptic stories are set well after the initial disaster. Of particular interest is the first story, where Julie Kagawa tells us how the dystopian world of the Blood of Eden series came about.Dawn of Eden by Julie KagawaA really well written, enlightening short story that chronicles the outbreak of the mutation of the Red Lung virus that creates the rabids. It's a great read, especially with the context of The Immortal Rules and The Eternity Cure, and I think it will be enjoyed by fans of the Blood of Eden series.Kylie is a doctor, struggling to keep her small clinic going after most of the population has been infected and killed by the Red Lung virus. It's terrifying, and she's doing everything she can to make her patients comfortable. I really like Kylie, she's resolute and determined, and I think she makes an awesome protagonist. I would liked her to be a little more hesitant with the guns and violence, being a doctor and sworn to protect lives, but overall she's believable and easily sympathised with.When two strangers seek shelter and safety in her clinic, she doesn't hesitate to take them in. But one of them is hurt, and with  strange bite-marks on his arms, and the other, Ben, has suspicious claw marks on his back. Kylie has a sneaking suspicion that they've been attacked by a predator like she's never seen before - human, but not. I think the dynamic between Kylie and Ben is believable - his initial dishonesty and her disbelief, their attraction to another in the face of impending death, their struggles to find shelter from the rabids.I also love the appearance that a certain vampire mentor makes.Thistle & Thorne by Ann AguirreAn interesting story that looks at the world after a series of dangerous chemical spills that have poisoned the air, the soil, the water. It follows Mari (her late name is Thistle), who's out on a mission to steal some valuables from the rich folk in her world - those who live inside a fortress and have access to water and food and safety, things she lacks. She's on this dangerous journey so that she can afford to support her two younger siblings, whom she cares about a lot.This story takes a long time to become interesting: there's quite a bit of information to wade through at the beginning where Mari is orienting us into her world, and i just couldn't bring myself to care. I wanted to go straight to the action!Things really get interesting when Thorne is introduced - he's an enforcer for the slum-lord Mari's allied herself with, and his job is to take Mari back after her mission. Only Mari hasn't successfully completed her mission, and faces death if she returns. what follows is a pretty hair-raising, adrenaline filled ride as Thorne and Thistle try to work together to achieve their own ends: Thistle wants safety for herself and her siblings, and Thorne is on a mysterious quest for vengeance. I love the action - the fight scenes were great and had me on the edge of my seat.Although I liked Mari and Thorne as individual characters, I think they seriously lacked any chemistry. I'm still unsure, however, if romance was ever part of what the author was trying to write. There are countless moments where it seems one is attracted to the other, but nothing ever happens, and outwardly, neither seems to want anything to happen. It's just a confused mess of clashing glazes, starting at mouths and rampant sexual innuendo.Overall this is a sufficiently engaging story, I actually wouldn't say no to a full length novel set in this world, and the writing has convinced me to check out Aguirre's work when I can.Sun Storm by Karen DuvallI only got one chapter into this one. The protagonist was outside, in  radiation storm, trying to save her father, and a mysterious boy came outside to help too, and she was waxing lyrical about how attractive she found him and his scars, rather than, oh, I don't know, saving her father?Dawn of Eden is certainly worth the read, and Thistle and Thorn was enjoyable. I'd recommend those two. And who knows, Sun Storm might have been great as well, but I am sick and tired of female protagonist who are more concerned with their hormones than surviving dangerous situations. The 'Til the World Ends Anthology is pretty cool, and I recommend it to fans of the Blood of Eden series who are interested in seeing how it all started, as well as folks who want to read a few short stories about a worlds falling apart.A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.You can read more of my reviews at Speculating on SpecFic.