Series: Off the Grid #2
Published by Carina Press on May 4, 2015
Genres: M/M Romance, Science Fiction
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When technology stopped working, the world as they knew it ended.
In a secluded cabin, John and his loved ones have survived. He should feel grateful. But his family is in his face 24/7, he has to watch his best friend, Arden, and brother, Gabriel, flaunt their love, and as a techie in a Luddite world he’s pretty much useless. The cabin is brimming with people, but he feels utterly alone.
Until he catches Mr. Tall, Blond and Gorgeous raiding their garden. Mykhail is an astrophysics student, he makes John’s gaydar ping like crazy and he thinks he knows what caused the devastation. He’s on a journey to his university to find answers, and John invites himself along. Partly to get out of the house, and partly because he can’t let Mykhail go without acting on the mutual attraction that’s so obvious even John’s mom is playing matchmaker.
The closer they get to campus, the more Mykhail lets down his walls. But with answers come secrets both devastating and deadly, and before they can save the world, they’ll have to save themselves.
Erin: “It’s the end of the world as we know it ….” Everyone knows the song, right? (Sorrynotsorry for the earworm!) It’s also the premise of Alyssa Coles’ newest book, Signal Boost, book 2 of her Off the Grid series. I wasn’t sure what to expect seeing as this is the first book of Cole’s that I’ve read, but Signal Boost was fun, intense at times, and very surprisingly entertaining.
What drew me to this book was the premise: When technology stopped working, the world as they knew it ended. It’s scary to contemplate and I was really curious to see where Cole took the idea. (Quick disclaimer: I didn’t read the first book in the series, Radio Silence, and I was more than able to follow along with the story. Though I will be going back to read it. I’m VERY interested to see how things all began!) The book begins with John (Jang-wan) Seong and his family hiding out deep in the remote woods of upstate New York. They seem to be safe, until an intruder is found in their garden. Enter the adorkable and endearing Mykhail.
Mykhail is an almost- astrophysicist on his own and who has an idea of what happened to all the electricity. He’s on his way to find his professor at the nearby university to get answers when he stumbles upon John and his family. The attraction between the snarky and witty John and the sweet, unassuming Mykhail is instant and their banter was fun.
“You know, if I had to be kidnapped by cannibals eating any survivor who stumbles into their garden, I’m glad it was you guys,” he said. “You’re nice cannibals.”
I couldn’t fight it any longer. I smiled back.
“We’ll be sure to put that on your grave marker. Mykhail GardenGnome-Lean, Tender, Eaten by Nice Cannibals,” I said.
The pace in Signal Boost is fast and furious. The story is told entirely from John’s POV and he’s really a very well developed and strong character. They both are. The book is mostly light, though there are some really heavy issues to think about as you read along. Desperation makes people do desperate things. Trust is hard when your survival is at stake. What would it be like to have to defend yourself and your family just to be able to eat and sleep? From the clues gathered as I read, I’m pretty sure book 1, Radio Silence, was a bit darker and edgier than Signal Boost.
I really enjoyed how John and Mykhail’s relationship built. Yeah it was quick and pretty insta-lovey but considering the circumstances (and length of the book) it wasn’t surprising. I thought Cole did a good job with the M/M aspect of the relationship as well and every time Mykhail called him Jang-wan (his given Korean name) instead of John, I melted a little. There weren’t a lot of steamy times in this, but the scenes that were there, were well written and not clichéd. The ending was a bit rushed and probably way too tidy, but all in all Signal Boost was a fun, quick read. I hope there’s a third book. I’d love to see what happens next in the world Cole has created and of course see more John and Mykhail. Check this one out, you’ll be glad you did.