I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion of the book.
This is a collection of short stories that focuses on one major and five minor characters from the Biodome Chronicles. I will be giving a short review of each story in this book.
Ember has never been one of my favorite characters in this series. I don’t dislike her, but I never really connected with her either. She is very sweet, caring, and devoted to her husband Leaf. In fact, she spends most of her story thinking about how much she loves Leaf and lives to make him happy.
She didn’t seem to think this way because of brainwashing or force, she is a very capable young woman who thinks for herself, she just honestly loves loving her husband. Also, she and Leaf are dealing with the fact that she has been lying to him about some very important things for a long time so she is very guilty and worried that he has lost faith in her.
Leaf is a great guy and a wonderful husband who respects her so I get why she loves him so much, and if you like more traditional romance, this was a very sweet one. I just wish more time had been spent on Ember as a person instead of as Leaf’s wife.
Not unlike Ember’s story, the theme of Skylar’s story was guilt. And if I thought Ember was being hard on herself for all the necessary lies she had to tell her friends and family, but she had nothing on Skylar.
Skylar doesn’t just feel bad for the lies he was forced to tell by his abusive father, he feels guilty for all the awful things his abusive father did. Honestly, I got a little sick of his guilt. His father was an abusive murderer and this realization caused his mother to go into catatonic shock. This meant that he was the only person left to take care of his two younger sisters. With all of this to deal with, his overwhelming grief and guilt because of a few lies he had to tell was too much.
Skylar is a nice guy, and I liked him, but liking him just made all the things he had to endure more difficult to read. Hopefully the next story has less guilt and more storytelling.
Now we’re talking! This was the best story in the book so far. Rain is too adorable and I really enjoyed her point of view. She has a massive crush on Skylar, but she is also a normal teenage girl so she has a crush on a few other young men too.
I particularly enjoyed the scenes she shared with Coal. They have a flirtatious friendship that was very entertaining and sweet. But as cute as she and Coal were, there is no doubt that Skylar is the guy for her. (Also Coal is very much in love with his girlfriend Lynden)
Not a whole lot of progression happened in her relationship with Skylar, but it was nice to get to know them both a little better through each other’s eyes. And now Rain is one of my favorite characters. She is just that cute!
Don’t really know what to say about Mack. He’s a one of a kind character, that’s for sure. He’s a womanizer who really really loves his best friend Fillion and Fillion’s sister Lynden. He’s got a soft heart when it comes to the people he loves, but the way he thinks about and treats the women he hooks up with is a little gross.
Most of Mack’s story was focused on him trying to figure out a way to see Fillion. I mean this kid really loves him some Fillion! He came up with all sorts of schemes that eventually lead to him seeing his best friend who has been wrongly imprisoned. But I’m not going to ruin your fun by telling you about the schemes.
Mack lives in the “normal” world not New Eden so this story had a much different feel than the other three. Where Ember, Skylar, and Rain are chaste and pure, Mack is foul mouthed and promiscuous. Be prepared for some cursing and inappropriate jokes, but when he isn’t using those things to mask his pain or entertain those around him, Mack is a pretty sweet kid.
Lynden and Coal are by far my favorite part of this series so I was happy I got to read a story that focused on them. Lynden is such a wounded young woman and Coal is such a sweet and gentle young man that their love is always a joy.
I was more than a little annoyed by Lynden throughout this story, but it brought her and Coal closer together so I ended up liking this story the most out of the entire book.
She suffered a massive trauma that hinders her ability to trust Coal completely, but he is just the kind of man who is willing to wait for her to heal. And healing is just what this story was about. It was about Lynden learning how not to allow the cruel and vicious thing that was done to her to keep her from true happiness. She fought for her sense of self worth and she fought for Coal, and that made for some great reading.
Most short stories in a series just feel like filler and don’t really serve a purpose other than appeasing reader’s desire for a taste of the series while the author writes the next long book. However this collection read like a long book. It was over 350 pages in all, was filled with content, and also allowed me to get to know some of the lesser characters who I didn’t care about before now.
The author does tend to include more descriptions of everyday and mundane things than I personally enjoy reading, but those descriptions are well written so I feel bad complaining about them. In fact, one of my favorite things about this series is how beautiful and descriptive the writing is. I just wish it were a bit less descriptive when it comes to the day to day stuff.
All the romances were sweet, and the mystery of New Eden and why it came to be is slowly unraveling. All in all, this was a great inclusion to a unique and interesting series!
Because of language and sexual content, I would recommend this book for ages 17 and up. There are some minorly descriptive sexual scenes that I would rate PG-13.