I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Source: the author
It is the end of the world.
They call him Eagle, like the grand and beautiful bird that symbolizes freedom. During these dark times, when humanity is experiencing nothing but suffering, a man with such a powerful name should be a beacon of hope, yet he is anything but.
Her name is Autumn, but she hasn’t said this name or much of anything else in the four years since the fall of civilization. A shell of her former self, living wild in a cave at the bottom of a ravine, Autumn is accustomed to being alone. She prefers it, actually, especially when her only options for company either try to kill her, or worse, to lock her up inside their walls.
Captured by Eagle’s people, Autumn is suddenly thrust back into the land of the living, but she would hardly call it living. The community of Purgatory is full of sinners, the most evil of whom seem to have set their sights on her.
In an act born of anger and defiance, Eagle becomes Autumn’s unexpected savior, forcing these two solitary people into each other’s broken worlds. Neither knows quite what to make of the other, but one thing is certain. To survive Purgatory, they must learn how to rely on each other, a feat that could possibly teach them both how to live again.
““Sometimes I wish it would all just burn away,” he said, his voice hoarse and so broken that tears sprang to my eyes.
“Me too,” I whispered, speaking the truth—almost wishing for it. Because if this was it, if this was all there was left, maybe it should just burn away. Maybe we all should.”
– Beneath Blood and Bone
When I first picked up BBB, I knew I would like it because it’s Claire and Madeline (Duh!). But I was also wary because MAN! do I ever hate Eagle! I’m trying not to give away any spoilers about Thicker Than Blood, but GRRR! He made all kinds of mistakes, and no smoldering eyes and rough hands are ever going to make me forget it! Having said that, I found that Eagle was making a slow transition towards redemption.
While I don’t forgive him entirely, it’s easy to see how we would all be changed under the circumstances. There isn’t a single person left in their world who hasn’t lost someone, whose whole world hasn’t been ripped apart. Now it’s all a matter of how that loss changed them. With BBB, we finally got a glimpse into who Eagle used to be. Listening to his inner voice brought all kinds of turmoil, conflicted thoughts, emotions to the surface.
Eagle’s chapters share the book with Autumn. She’s a new character, brought to Purgatory after the end of book one. I wasn’t sure about their chemistry at first. They’re such completely different characters. Eagle relies on his strength, while Autumn appears weak at first glance. She is completely incapable of existing in this new world. What I especially loved about this book was the time and care that the authors took in building the characters. It made their journey believable, and it tugged on my heartstrings more than I ever would have imagined.
Plus, NEW VILLAIN! We first met Liv in Thicker Than Blood, but she really didn’t get her chance to shine until now. It’s so easy to hate her! Having said that, I’m absolutely terrified that the next book might be about her. That’s just the kind of torture I can imagine from these authors at this point.
I got to a certain point, about 80% of the way through and I found myself stopping. I simply turned off my kindle, and went to bed. I didn’t stay up late into the night, as I normally would at this point. I simply didn’t want to continue. I felt like shouting “THE END! THE END!” I refused to pick it up again until I had thoroughly prepared myself for what was about to transpire. STELLAR ending! PERFECT! 5 STARS!!
Overall, BBB was a stronger book than TTB, and that’s really saying something. Claire and Madeline are growing into a stronger writing team, and I can’t wait to see what they come out with next!