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Juniper Grove

Blog of author Jaidis Shaw!

Sunset Rising - S.M. McEachern

The year is 2024 and Benjamin Reyes is a hermit who the town thinks is crazy. He has a feeling that something bad is going to happen and that it is only a matter of time before the world is under nuclear attack. Once said attack actually occurs, the town is left in disbelief and turn to Benjamin for an answer. He leads them through the Valley to a military base where they attempt to seek shelter. Things do not go according to planned and Benjamin must condemn the people to a life of slavery in order to save them.

The story jumps to the year 2307 and we meet Sunset "Sunny" O'Donnell. Sunny has grown up in the Pit as a slave. All slaves, or urchins as they are called, have assigned jobs in the Pit where they work for credits that allow them to pay for basic necessities like an apartment. If that wasn't bad enough, they are also forced to follow rules set by the "bourge" or the upper class that live upstairs in the Dome. One enforced rule is the annual cull, which is a way to control the population. Once an urchin reaches the age of 35, they are executed. After losing her mother to the cull, Sunny is left to take care of her father who has lost the desire to live. In an effort to create change in the Pit, Sunny agrees to an absurd request by none other than the president's daughter, Leisel. The request backfires and Sunny is now on the run, with Leisel's fiancé Jack, and she must take desperate measures to not only save herself, but everyone who lives in the Pit.

I enjoyed the story and found it unique compared to other dystopian novels I've read. The author's writing flowed well and I could envision the characters and their surroundings. I particularly enjoyed the budding relationship between Sunny and Jack as they discover that what they thought they knew growing up may be just a sliver of a much larger picture and that everything may not be what it appears. However, I found myself with questions that weren't answered in the story as I felt they should have been. The book did end with a big cliffhanger so perhaps the questions I have will be answered in the second book, which I will be picking up. Overall, a pleasant story that I'd recommend to lovers of dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels.