(Scorpius Syndrome #1)
When I read I seem to always have scenes from movies (not necessarily characters) with a similar theme in my mind and thus applying colors for the book. In this case it was the desert yellow-brown of scenes from Mad Max. Why my mind does that, no idea but it works for me to be in a certain mindset when I read to feel the atmosphere.
The next world war will be between man and nature. Nature has never lost
We are thrown into a world of utter devastation, martial law and vigilantism. 99 percent of the population in the United States have been killed by a bacterium called Scorpius. People infected with it die quickly but horribly. Those who survive have a good chance ending up being Rippers, creatures with hightened intelligence but total lack of empathy, turning them into organized serial killers or zombie-like beings, mindlessly killing humans in horrible ways. Those who survive the infection without becoming serial killer or zombie turn into...something more, enhanced humans. It's Charles Darwin's evolution theory of the survival of the fittest at work.
Lynne Harmony is a scientist, former head of the infectious diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and has survived the infection, leaving her with a blue heart which glows in an electric neon blue. She is hunted by the government under the pretense that she is carrying an even more dangerous streak of the bacteria. Half of the survivors of Scorpius are scared of her, the other half wants her dead. Lynne has only one option left, finding Jax Mercury, the infamous leader of the Vanguards, a vigilante group of people living in the abandoned City of Angels. Jax Mercury isn't known for mercy but she hopes she can strike a deal with him - trying to find a cure in exchange for a favor she reserves the right to name at a later time.
When the world still had order and law Jax was a member of Delta Force. His training is what helped him survive in this hostile world. He is the unwilling leader of a merry group of civilians turned into soldiers. He has claimed a big territory in Los Angeles for his people, trying to give thim his protection and knowledge. The only way Jax knows, to give the ones he has sworn to protect the best survival chance is by keeping his distance. When Lynne Harmony, also known as Blue Heart, walks into his camp asking for protection he is willing to accept her deal, despite Jax' inability to trust anyone. And Lynne Harmony sets off his alarm bells.
"The second you crossed into Vanguard territory, the very moment you asked for my helf, that's exactly what you became.
"What?" she asked, sounding breathless now.
They both feel an instant attraction but neither of them can afford an emotional entanglement. Sex is used as a stress reliever, especially because they seem to have an explosive chemistry. So how do they keep feelings out of the equation when they start to see more than a warm body in each other?
At the core, Lynne Harmony was a helaer, a nurturer and now she offered herself.
Oh my. Jax is such a lovable jackass. Alpha to the core, dominant, tortured by his past, amazingly loyal once he started to trust. His flavor of protection is particular and single-minded. He is ruthless in his actions and focused to lead his group. And his most surprising trait? He is literate and loves to recite quotes from philosophers and classic literature.
Lynne is a wonderfully intelligent and strong heroine with a big dash of sweet who knows to choose her battles. Her snark is cute and comes out before you're being dragged into the waves of the world's devastation. She stands up to Jax and their fights are highly entertaining.
"Have I given you any indication I'm afraid of you? I know you're in charge here in your little fiefdom, but I've survived more than your very worst, Jax Mercury."
Yes, there is a scene that could be interpreted as abuse when Jax punishes Lynne with a belt and while I'm not a fan of that particular scene I can see it happening with the weight that rests on our hero's shoulders.
Together they burn up the pages, the smexy times are aplenty and scorching. Jax' dominance is incredibly sexy but his sweet is devastating.
There is a row of intriguing secondary characters I look forward to reading about. I had a quick search to see how many books there will be in the series and so far there seem to be six stories planned for now and this makes me all kinds of happy! I loved the world building in the novella Scorpius Rising and I'm really glad it paid off to read it before this one and Shadow Falling since it makes me care about the characters who are also mentioned.
I don't read a lot post apocalyptic books although I find them fascinating. The devastation of a dystopian world is scary but at the same time fascinating and intriguing. You are basically thrown back into a world without civilization. You have to fend for yourself, food is scarce, fuel for cars the same, people are scavenging and raiding for the most essential things you need to survive.
I really like this authors writing style. She surprises with twists and turns and sweet words.
Rebecca Zanetti delivers an entertaining tale about finding love and friendship in the most unlikely places and times and I can't wait to read the next installments of this world.