Title: Kick at the Darkness
Author: Keira Andrews
Pages/Word Count: 225 Pages
At a Glance: Keira Andrews embraces the contradiction of a romance set against a backdrop of death and horror in Kick at the Darkness.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: To live through the zombie apocalypse they have to survive each other first.
College freshman Parker Osborne is having the worst day ever. He humiliated himself trying to pick up a cute guy, he hasn’t made any friends at school, and his stupidly hot jerk of a TA gave him a crappy grade on his paper. He’s going to drop Adam Hawkins’ film class and start fresh tomorrow after he’s had a good sulk.
But Parker’s about to find out what a bad day really looks like—if he can survive the night.
A virus is unleashed, transforming infected people into zombie-like killers. After these quick and deadly creepers swarm campus, Parker only escapes thanks to Adam swooping him onto the back of his trusty motorcycle. Now they’re on the run—and stuck with each other.
When they’re not bickering, they’re fighting off the infected in a bloody battle for survival. Their only hope is to head east to Parker’s family, but orphaned Adam has a secret he’s not sure Parker will accept: he’s a werewolf. Can they trust each other enough to find some light in these dark days?
Review: The Stand, I Am Legend, World War Z—I am a huge lover of almost anything post-apocalyptic. What better way to explore the nature of humanity, after all, than to create the near complete destruction of it? And what better way to illuminate the courage and strength to survive than to juxtapose that devastation with a love story?
Keira Andrews’ Kick at the Darkness is a lesson in religious zealotry and biological warfare, in which man’s inhumanity to man gives way to the dystopian landscape where Parker Osborne and Adam Hawkins eventually find themselves in this enemies-to-lovers story. In a state of emergency as the world as they know it collapses around them, Parker and Adam are thrown together in a fight to escape the creatures that’ve swarmed the Stanford University campus and, as we eventually come to discover, all corners of the country, if not the planet.
The imagery in this novel is vivid, the action punctuated by a palpable terror which is then thrown into stark contrast by moments of peace, those moments a direct effect of the growing bond between Parker and Adam as their individual desire to survive becomes the dire need for each to make sure the other remains safe. Those quiet respites don’t last long, however, as it seems there is no safe place to land that doesn’t leave them vulnerable to the predators that kill on instinct and prey on them relentlessly.
And sometimes the predators are those who are humans disguised as allies.
The secondary supernatural aspect of this story comes at the expense of Adam’s inability to be honest about who he is, that he’s a werewolf who was orphaned before he was able to learn exactly how to be one. Not to mention he’s not sure how many others there are out there like him. His insecurity in revealing his hybrid nature to Parker resolves itself not by choice but by necessity, and adds another dimension to their relationship in the trust that builds between them, and then in the blow to their tenuous bond as the uncertainty of the rabid infection they’re facing begins to take its toll.
Keira Andrews embraces the contradiction of a romance set against a backdrop of death and horror in Kick at the Darkness. The tension starts in chapter one, with Parker and Adam and their dislike of each other, and steadily escalates as the hope for survival begins to look less likely as they make their way from California to Cape Cod in search of Parker’s parents. This novel is a mix of bitter and sweet; a story of heartbreak and hope, sprinkled with moments of humor in the darkness; and the triumph of two men who fall in love in spite of, or perhaps because of, the odds against them. Their happiness comes at a terrifying cost—one of life’s greatest ironies—and the author delivers it with no shortage of passion for her characters or their story.
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