August Vallory had it all. A modeling career, a man he loved, and the extended family he'd acquired in the business. Then the world he knew was torn away when the plane he was on crashed en route to a photo shoot.
Lost in the Alaskan wilderness, August doesn't stand a chance.
No sane man would choose to live in the Alaskan bush unless he had something to hide. And Keegan Brooks has secrets darker than night, more dangerous than wolves, more brutal than an Alaskan winter. Every day was a fight for his life until he stumbled upon a downed plane with a lone survivor. Now it's no longer just Keegan's life teetering on the edge of survival.
It's his heart.
When August opens his eyes, the first thing he realizes is how cold he is. He remembered distinctly that it had been hot in the cabin, that was why he took off his sweater. But how could the temperature drop so quickly and so suddenly? It doesn't add up. August blink. Again and again. Eventually his surrounding starts to make sense. Snow. Black smoke. Mangled and shredded metals. Computer parts and cameras strewn all over the place. Suitcases that has been gutted of it's contents. And bodies.
August does a quick scan around him, tries a few times to call some of the people's names, but no one answers. Looking at the aftermath of the crash, at the people who was on the plane with him – people who he thinks of as family – he knows no one has survived the plane crash. Everyone he has come to know and grow close to, dead, just like that.
A sudden huffing and shuffling from the back of the plane jolts him to awareness. August perks up, thinking that it might have been someone that has survived the crash. However when he turns his head back, rather than one of his teammates, August is faced with a bear rummaging through the contents of the mini fridge. A moment ago, August had wanted death. But now that it has come to his door, he panics. Faced with a grizzly bear that looks as big as an SUV, August begins to fight and struggle against the chair and seatbelt in earnest.
It took August awhile to realize the direness of his situation. For as far as his eyes can see, everything is coated in white. No houses, no people, no way to get help. And when August tries to move from his seat to stand up, the pain that radiates up from his leg was so great that he immediately feels light headed. August knows he won't stand a chance against this cold. And with his body hurt and weakened, he realizes that sooner rather than later, death too will come for him. Looking back at the bear, August can only hope that death will be swift and painless.
When Keegan sees August trashing against the seatbelt and chair, he instinctively moves forward and put a hand on top of August's mouth to silence his pained and panicked screams. How long has it been since he last spoken a word to anyone? How much longer has it been since he had human contact? Keegan tries to remember but comes up empty. It has been too long. Way too long. Keegan had spent a good amount of his lifetime running away from his past. The men going after him are like hounds. Once they have his scent, they will not stop until he is dead. Keegan is living on borrowed time. For almost a decade, Keegan has been able to outrun them, but for how much longer he doesn't know.
Looking down now at the man, Keegan assesses the stranger's condition. One of his leg is crushed against the seat in front of him. His breathing is labored, his face pale and he looks as if he might pass out at any minute. This is not the first time a plane has crashed around the area, but it is the first time Keegan finds a survivor. He knows the man won't last long if he stays any longer in this cold. Keegan needs to get the man back to his cave where he can tend to August's wounds. In his lifetime, Keegan has tended to a lot of injured men. However, a lot of the times, either the injury had been too bad that he had failed to save their lives or he has been ordered to kill them. Keegan looks at the man again and vowed to himself that this time he will not fail. He cannot and will not fail this stranger. He will save this man's life.
Even after letting it sit for a few days after I finish reading, I realize that I am still at loss at how to review this Book.
Let's first about the characters. Needless to say, I adore these two. Keegan is one of the most caring and attentive male character I have ever had the pleasure of reading. The way he cares for August and takes care of him even when he has to sacrifice his wellbeing is something very commendable and I love him for that. There are, however, things that he did in the book that I do not agree with. But he has his own reasons for it, and even though I might not agree, I understand his need to do what he did.
“If it would calm him, erase the bad things, give him some peace,
Keegan would have torn out his own heart with his bare hands. ”
August on the other hand, is as sassy as they come. Reading August's character somehow reminds me of one of the character from her book – In The Absence Of Light called Morgan. (I do not review it in the blog because I could not finish the book, but feel free to read my short review : here )
The similarities between the two : such as how they like to sass and flirt, how stubborn they are despite the situation they are in is quite interesting. But August has something about him, I guess a kind of vulnerability that makes him easier to love than Morgan who just seems to be strong and stubborn most of the time.
However despite how much I enjoyed reading about these two, for some reason I just cannot connect to them. Their joy, sorrow, pain, I did not feel myself sympathizing with what they are going through. Moreover, how their relationship progresses from strangers to something more like lovers also come off as quite off to me. I am not sure what as I still can't put my finger on what is missing. Maybe the courting and the angst (?) I don't know. What I know is that somehow, to me, how their relationship progresses from strangers to lovers are kind of choppy and weird.
“I’ve never seen anyone as perfect as you.” The confession was almost a whisper.
“You’ve just been out here by yourself too long. Trust me, the world is full of people far better looking than me.”
Keegan met August’s gaze. “But they wouldn’t be you.”
While the two main characters in this book is well written, it is the writing that turn me off. It seems to me, after reading two book of Ms. Wilder's, that she has the tendency to take the long winded way to describe something. Simple actions such as taking a shower, eating, shaving are describe into such a detail that only the description alone can take up one to two pages of the book. Which is fine if she does it every now and then, but when you read that every single time in a book that is nearly 800 pages long, it takes a toll on you. Here's an example :
The shadows darkened as the canopy of trees thickened. White clouds danced on Keegan’s lips. At least his breathing was even and his heart no longer pounded when he walked a few miles. It had taken months for him to get back his stamina.
Keegan slowed his steps, searching for signs of a caribou trail.
Tracks led him to where the edge of the woods met the flat area at the mouth of the valley, giving him a clear view of the next couple of miles to the muskeg. Two lines scraped a path over the ice. A Twin Otter fitted with skis sat next to the bank. The plane had been taxied at an angle, and there was a ramp leading from the door to the ground. Ruts and track marks in the snow ran up the slope and around the patch of woods at the top of the hill. There was no telling how long it had been there. With five miles and patches of thick forest between the cabin and the muskeg, the valley might as well have been insulated. A fifty-foot plane was used by bush pilots making rural deliveries, or professional tour guides.
I am not sure about you, but for me, reading this drawn out description about Keegan's surrounding every single time when he goes out to hunt does not scream like a happy past time. I am no writer, but I am pretty sure it is possible to cut those long paragraphs into a few sentences, which will do the reader a lot good and will capture their attention a whole lot more easier.
Because when I hit the 50% mark in this book, I contemplated on dropping the book and just move on to anther book. Not only that things are quite uneventful and boring throughout the middle part of the book, couple that with a dragged out description of every single object in the book, you get yourself a combo of a very boring reading experience. But for some unknown reason, I decided to stick it through and started skim-reading instead.
While the plot and characters are very well written and the surroundings well build, the lengthy description just doesn't do it for me. The book does start picking up again towards the end, but I find the ending way too abrupt for all the trouble Ms.Wilder went through to write this story in the most prolonged way possible. All in all, this book definitely has potential as I enjoyed the characters and their connection with each other. But other than that, this book wasn't all that memorable to me.