Midnight

Midnight  - Ellen Connor Originally posted at WickedLilPixie Reviews
Midnight is the second book in the Dark Age Dawning series by the writing duo that comprises Ellen Connor. Ellen Connor is made of Ann Aguirre and Carrie Lofty. Their pen name comes from two (of my personal favorite) SF characters: Ellen Ripley from Aliens and Sarah Connor of The Terminator. Midnight is quite a different story from Nightfall as we get a peak in to what life has become post-Change for a new group of survivors. We get a glimpse inside the inner-workings of a group of survivors who have created their own society amidst all the despair and desolation, and they are led by one tough woman. Rosa Cortez has taken all the hardships of her life pre-Change and has built Valle de Bravo, a town of predominantly male soldiers who follow her law.

"She didn’t mind being considered a warlord. Fear was good for business."

Rosa is the heroine I would want to be if I were in this post-apocalyptic world Ellen Connor has created. She is very in your face, she has to be. Because of this, it might be challenging at first to connect with her, but I grew to love her. As her pre-Change experiences are revealed I got a good feel for what all she has been through, all she had to pull together to survive, and I understood her motivations. She made sense to me, and I envied her for being so tough and able to command so much respect from her soldiers. I got mad at her several times with the decisions she made, but that only made her moments of clarity pack that much more of a punch.

"For most people, the Change meant the end of all bright, beautiful things. But it had saved her."

Taking place 3 years since we last saw Dr. Chris Welsh, he has been on his own traveling for all these years, running from what he could not emotionally handle. The experience of rugged survival has toughened him up considerably. Back in the day, he did not have any real life survival skills, but out on his own he has built quite a bit of character. His new-found charisma and strength combined with his education and smarts made him way more appealing, especially since his temperament was exactly the right balance to Rosa’s bravado. They had fantastic chemistry and the relationship that blossomed was just as sweetly tender as it was passionate.

"His heart hammering, Chris framed her face in his hands, looking for the truth. He found it. Eyes the color of teak were wide and suspiciously bright. Whatever Rosa Cortez could give a man, she was offering it to him."

The thing that I enjoyed the most about this book, aside from the romance, was seeing how Rosa was able to pull people together to create a small working community. The immediate monsters this time are not the horrifying and gross hell dogs, they are the dust pirates, the survivors who have no scruples with taking what they want by force. They travel together and completely lack a line they’re not afraid to cross. There is a clear absence of humanity among these men, which is frightening in itself, but once Valle de Bravo rescues a group of females from slavery, we find out just what “monsters” some of the survivors have become.

I find this trilogy so entertaining because it gives you a story of when the Change first begins to affect the United States in Nightfall. Now with Midnight, we get to see how humans have adapted to post-Change short-term. And next in Daybreak, we’ll skip ahead to twelve years post-Change to see what life might be like longer-term. Wrapped sweetly in to each of these are a very sultry and sizzling HEA. This series has my definite seal of approval, and you need to check it out.

The Dark Age Dawning Trilogy:

Nightfall
Midnight
Daybreak – 12/6/2011