I thoroughly enjoyed Cameo Renae’s angel-themed Hidden Wings Series, so I was very interested when I saw that she had a young adult dystopian series called The After Light Saga. Because I’m a working mom, I decided to listen to the first book in the series, ARV-3, during quiet times in the office.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the story:
ARV-3 begins after an apocalyptic nuclear event wipes out most of the life on the planet. The story centers on 17 year-old Abigail Park, one of the few survivors living inside a series of underground bunkers (‘hives’) meant to preserve as much life as possible. About 13 years have passed and it’s now time for humans to start returning to the surface to try and repopulate it. However, they soon learn that evens topside did not go as planned.
During the short time between discovery of the impending apocalypse and the human movement underground, the government was frantic to save as many people as possible. They developed an ARV or anti-radiation vaccine and administered it to the remaining humans without fully understanding how it would affect them. When they humans return topside, they learn they aren’t alone. This ARV has produced another race of savage mutants, who attack the hive members. Once bitten by these creatures, the humans change into them.
The story follows Abigail as she and her hive try to reach a government safe zone and adapt to a new way of life. Life under the new government is nothing like she’d grown used to in her hive. She meets friction as she tries to stay true to who she is.
Also thrown into the mix of drama is a love story between Abigail and her best friend, Finn. They grew up together in the hive and only until they are forced out into the world do they full admit their love for each other, but the timing couldn’t be worse. The new government has its own rules on relationships. This leaves the question – will love truly find a way?
Overall, I enjoyed the story. It has many features that are common in post-apocalyptic stories, which could be a negative factor for some listeners/readers, but Abigail is a very likeable character. My only gripe is the ending. This is book 1 in a series, so I did not expect the whole storyline to be wrapped up, but I thought there were would be a clear climax and anticlimax with a shocker to drive me into the next book. I didn’t see that. It was a bit of a messy ending. Also, Abigail’s dialogue with Finn during the crucial final scenes ran off-track. It felt forced and a bit cliché, not like the beginning of the story, which showed something personal and unique between them.
Still, I feel compelled to listen to the second book due to the thought that went into the development of the ARV and the details revealed about the mutants. There’s something more there and I want to know what it is. So, Sanctum is already queued up and ready to go for my next quiet stretch in the office.
Have you read/listened to ARV-3? What did you think?