For me, as a romance, this book utterly failed. There was no chemistry, no connection between Cal and Mitch as a couple and I never
bought into their romance. The sex fell totally flat - so flat that I actually skipped the scenes. I was at the point of this being a DNF until I ended up just removing myself from the romance story-line entirely and that's when the book started to work for me.
This is, I think, the first time I have ever said the book would have worked better without the romance. Wow!
In terms of characters I had problems with Mitch, his overall opinion of men and women really bugged me. He came across as hating men, acting as though women were incapable of taking care of and defending themselves and having a bit of God complex. Not appealing as a character.
Cal was quite self involved, manipulative and was pretty much unable to make a decision that didn't involve his own gratification. At page 103 I thought he was going to redeem himself with this section:
“Because Mitch needed more than a lover. He was a leader, with all the burdens and loneliness of command. A man like that needed a companion to tell him he was doing it right, or wrong. To ease the burden and the loneliness. To be someone he could show his face to without the mask. Cal didn’t know if he was strong enough or worthy to be that for Mitch, but he intended to try.”
Then he flipped like 50 pages later in a particularly asstacular way and I had had it with him.
Now, where this book was full of win for me was the actual dystopian/apocalyptic story! The world building was amazing, the ideas, the concepts and the battle to survive was awesome!
I loved the living conditions of the group, the way they had survived until the point we had met them. The idea of Cal being Patient Z and the implications behind that were...just, yeah!
This is what I like out of my apocalyptic books. I'm not a fan of zombies overall but when it's done like this, yeah, I'm good.
So, bravo Ms. Black for the zombie story-line and boo for the romance and Mitch and Cal as characters. I give the book three-stars on the strength of the apocalypse story alone. As a romance or character novel it would have been a one. So, let's meet in the middle with two-stars.