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The Complete Darkness Collection (Refuge Inc.) Paperback – September 18, 2013
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About the Author
The author of several books of fiction and fiction with spice, Leslie Lee Sanders resides in Queen Creek, Arizona, with her husband, three daughters, and a wild beast she calls her imagination. After writing erotic romance, mostly in the gay and ménage categories, she's recently plunged into writing deep, dark, sci-fi with her LGBT post-apocalyptic and dystopian series, Refuge Inc.
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I received the collection of the Refuge Inc series from the author for a review.
When I initially read the blurb, when the opportunity to review the series and the subsequent new standalone book, Resurfaced, I was blown away. There is more than the odd post-apocalyptic (or end of the world) themed books, this one just happens to be about a catastrophic asteroid. Honestly, I’ve read a few too many zombie apocalypses – of course, they’re trendy – in both MM and mainstream so it was a nice change of pace to read about asteroids. Also, while it is not strictly a romance, there is plenty of MM love to go around. Everything about the blurb drew me into the story, just as it should, made me start developing a mental picture and made me want to read, also just as it should.
I think though, because I read these books in the same volume I have come to a greater appreciation of the overall story arc. Which is why, overall I’ve given the series 5 stars but individually each book I’ve given 4 stars.
So, here is the review for the three books, I will keep it as short as I can.
Refuge Inc. 1. Before the Darkness (4 stars)
I have to say, what I love about this post-apocalyptic world created by Leslie Lee Sanders is – aside from the fact that I love her vivid descriptions of the landscape – that this is the tale of desperation of two guys who end up finding each other after an asteroid hit. They aren’t running from some weird militia that spontaneously took over – they are simply trying to survive in a world that has been completely destroyed. It’s a good introduction to this world and I can’t stress enough how much I like the change of pace, because seriously, I do get a tad tired of the surviving population going feral (for lack of a better world) within a heartbeat of the end of the world.
This book is something of an introduction for the following two books and so this was very much a book of telling and not a lot of doing.
As to the characters, they are also quite wonderful. Elliot is something of an unassuming survivor. He’s a bit of a quiet type but seems to work well as a survivor because he has been ignored in his family for many years that in a way he has been surviving on his own for a while. When he meets Adam, what I found to be a bit abrasive in Elliot’s character was overlooked after meeting Adam. Adam sometimes seems callous and is quick to tell a lie – to be honest I had mixed feelings about him even if at the same time I became very invested in both their characters.
As a side, yes this is labelled MM erotica, but it really isn’t. The sex in the book seems to come as a sort of affirmation between the characters that they have indeed survived this massive catastrophe. While it was almost always quick and dirty, it seemed to match the landscape of the surviving world and the mystery of Refuge.
Refuge Inc. 2. Amid the Darkness (4 stars)
The second instalment in the Refuge Inc series, we are delving deeper into the world of the mysterious place that is called Refuge that sometimes seems to match the darkness of the world that surrounds them. I’m finding it difficult to write the review for this book because the series seems to me to be something like a serial – this picks up immediately where we left off with book 1.
The advantage of reading this as a serial is that the character development is a lot deeper (Elliot is a lot more likable compared to book 1) and the explanations of book 1 start to fall into place as we navigate this post-apocalypse with Elliot and Adam. The sex is becoming less out of desperation/relief, which is an interesting turn of events. In Refuge, things seem more than a little odd and frightening now. They have now been assigned the pods where they will live and now they’ve also been assigned duties (based on the questions/forms they answered when they first arrived).
Where there weren’t many characters in book 1, we now have numerous characters popping up (some shadier than others). This means increased complexity. With the addition of new characters there is a lot of added mystery, which just suits the whole backdrop of the story. I think this book goes a long way to go down the paths that were marked or started in book 1.
Refuge Inc. 3. Beyond the Darkness
The mysterious Refuge has now been revealed to be every bit as shady as we began to suspect even at the end of the first book when Adam and Elliot first arrived. However, getting away from refuge means that they encounter more dangers on the outside as the situation with other survivors is becoming more desperate. Food, water and medicine has become a precious commodity in the time (I’m thinking its weeks or months after at this point) since the asteroid strike. It is at this point that I am have no issues in seeing the worst (and the best) of humanity come to the fore.
In terms of Elliot and Adam’s characters, by this point I had now forgotten by initial reservations when it came to the characters and I was completely invested in them, their survival and their relationship. The blend between the action and danger and romance is quite pleasing. This is a continuing tale of survival and now there is the added element of conspiracy theories and mysterious things the government does not want people to know. It’s all pretty damn cool, that’s all I’m going to say.
The ending seems to tie up the most important parts, though part of me, already knowing that there is another two books, I know that more fundamental aspects of the Refuge will come up again, after we finish Elliot and Adam’s story. I think though, in the end, I was just so invested in their story that part of me did not want it to end! However, Adam and Elliot receive a very satisfying conclusion to their story and the readers are left with the knowledge that there is more Refuge to come!
I think in the end the revelation I’ve gotten out of this about Adam and Elliot and their personalities is that the initial stage of survival brought out instincts that made them seem quite abrasive. But in the end I feel we have finally got to know the actual guys. That being said, this is one of those books, if you like the genre, you need to stick with if you are having difficulties and you will find yourself more than happy by the end result. However, for me, it was more the vivid descriptions of what was happening drew me in and it was then the character development that made me stick around.
* I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review *
This is a three book collection that tells the tale of the circumstances after a disaster strikes the earth. Elliot and Adam meet shortly after impact and struggle to survive in a world changed by devastation. On their journey in to the unknown they learn about each other. Adam however is untrue to himself and denies who he is. Elliot is a survivor but at times need reassurance. They both touched my heart with everything they went through.
I loved how the books take up where the other leaves off as I hate cliffhangers and waiting util the next book comes out to find out what happens next. The compound Elliot and Adam find themselves at in the second book seemed to good to be true. I honestly loved the entire collection as it leads the reader through an adventure where all is not as it seems and trusting someone you hardly know can be deadly.
The descriptions depending on the scene were heartwarming, horrifying and had me holding my breath at times awaiting the outcome. I was so surprised by some of the things that were revealed as the story continued. Fantastic story worth reading. There were a few errors throughout the book but not many.
A story of survival and love all rolled into one.
I had not realized until today that my original review didn't post and wanted to fix that right away.
Now I have not been one for books that are about life after disaster but I have to tell you that this was a hit with me. I loved every single story and can't wait to start reading the next book. The guys were well written with a lot of depth and detail. It felt like I was right there with them through it all.
This had a serious tone to it but there is just a hint of humor to it that makes it perfect for me. I loved the way the words just flowed off the pages for me and had me feeling like I was right there surviving it all. I truly think this author has such a gift at giving you a world that you can see in your head. Beautiful characters who will have your heart strings pulled. I loved it and can't wait to see what happens next.
I am just sorry that this review had not showed up before. I would definitely recommend this book.
Adam and Elliot are the protagonist couple in this series. They are flawed characters who, despite their flaws, are likable enough to warrant a reader to find out what happens to them. This is crucial to the series and not one that many writers do so well with. Apocalyptic environs can become trapped and mired in their own daily sludge. Ms. Sanders keeps things moving along at a brisk pace so while the decay and rot permeate every facet of her world, you don't feel like your having to slog your way through it.
Characters move in and out of the men's lives as they try to unravel the events surrounding an asteroid disaster that as befallen Earth. All is not what it seems - which adds mystery to the men's plight as they try to hold on in this rapidly devolving world to each other as well as just keeping a hold of their own lives.
The secondary characters are drawn quite well. This gives something for Adam and Elliot to push against in the series. Though several plot turns I saw coming well before they arrived which led to a formulaic tone to the books. That's not to say they aren't worth reading. Adam and Elliot are likable enough that I think that their journey is worth the time to discover how they get through it all in the end.
Most recent customer reviews
This was a very interesting collection of books (there are three in the series).Read more
Before The Darkness (Book 1)
In the first book we meet Elliot Stewart who is...Read more