I’m intrigued by this start to a new series and actually came close to speed-reading the book because I literally didn’t want to put it down. That said, I think the story is full of plot holes and does a lot of hand waving to cover up some illogical leaps. I’m on the fence about whether this actually bothers me or not because the characters are solid and the overwhelming action keeps the book moving so quickly it’s hard to stop and pick out the errors. I do hope the author slows down future books just a touch to make the plot more cohesive and solid. I’d also like it if the numerous open-ended questions from this book got answered but somehow I think they’ll always remain a mystery. Either way I’d recommend this book to fans that like a lot of action but can be very forgiving of weak plots and obvious gaps.
Nox Boyt’s life wasn’t all that great even before the apocalyptic floods that destroyed New York City. His mother was in a sanitarium and his father was absent for months at a time, leaving Nox on his own with a credit card. Once the floods came, however, Nox’s life changed in ways he couldn’t have predicted. Now ten years later he’s a vigilante for his neighborhood, a near slum that’s never recovered. He keeps the drug dealers and violence out of his area while maintaining a day job and raising his “son.” All Nox cares about is his son and safety so when a good hearted prostitute, Cade Creel, suddenly appears with a note for Nox’s son about his parents, complications ensue. It either helps or hurts matters that Nox can’t control his attraction to Cade.
The story starts with sixteen-year-old Nox in the days leading up to the floods. It then skips a decade to show Nox as an adult with a teenage child going on to intersperse flashbacks of what happened in the flood to current events going on. It’s a method that actually works here as it keeps the tension high and questions coming. It gives Nox’s backstory in bits and pieces so the reader is left wondering what exactly happened and how the various characters fit into the story both past and present. I liked this technique and found it more successful than most stories that use flashbacks. A downside is that it leaves crucial information hidden for most of the story but that helps keep the tension humming and wondering who can be trusted. So for the most part it works.
What I struggled with is that there are simply too many unanswered questions and plot holes that seem to be ignored. For example there is a massive suspension of disbelief required to think that the country would allow NYC to turn into a waste zone for most of the city and a den of iniquity in the other. NYC is supposed to become an exclusive area for the rich and famous to feed their seedy and illegal desires seems far fetched at the very least. The fact that the remaining city is basically a lawless slum is also a stretch too far. I put my disbelief on hold and went with it but it was always in the back of my mind that this would never happen. Additionally many times the logic of the story seems to falter. Without discussing them in too much detail I had tremendous issues with Nox’s decision to lie to Sam about his parents, there’s absolutely no point in this continued lie. Also Mr. White’s involvement and the scene at the sanitarium are laughable in a good light, ridiculous in another. The fact that Nox is way too smart to ignore so many near constant signs, Sam’s abduction from the “safe house”, the ease Nox got him back at the casino, then they got away so easily. Nox is supposed to be super paranoid yet he never thinks twice about any of these situations. It goes against his character.
Aside from those issues, which I acknowledge affected my enjoyment when I stopped to actually think about the book, I liked the characters. Almost everyone feels well developed and intentional. There are a few obviously evil villains thrown in but thankfully not too many. Cade and Nox have off the charts chemistry and their sex scenes were hot. Sam is a great teenager with just enough stupidity to get himself in trouble but not enough to be really dumb. Cade is sometimes a little one note playing off a good hooker stereotype but overall delivers well. The pace of the book is almost lightening fast with so much action going on it’s sometimes hard to follow. I think there is actually too much action and the book could have pulled back a bit to reassess but I liked how each incident layers on the next and feels deliberate. It works well.
Overall I enjoyed the book a lot while reading but found a lot of questions and logic gaps when I thought about it in the ensuing days. I’m eager to read the sequels but I do fear the story is getting so complicated it could be hard to keep up. This is one I’ll probably have to read again before reading the sequels to remember all the various details. But I think it’s worth it.