Title: Killshot (Icarus Series Book One)
Author: Aria Michaels
Genre: YA Dystopia/Science Fiction
After the death of their parents, seventeen year old Liv Larson and her younger brother are separated by the foster care system. Her grades slip, her friends drift away, and she gives up on her plans for college. The only thing that matters is keeping the promise to get back to her brother. After months of solitude and anti-social behavior, Liv’s best friend Riley drags her to their high school’s rooftop solar flare party. Despite the beautiful lights dancing in the sky, Liv finds herself captivated by Zander, a mysterious boy with a crooked smile. For a few hours, she allows herself to feel normal again.
That is until what should have been a small flare erupts into a massive solar storm. Cut off from the rest of the world with no sign of rescue, fear and paranoia begin to take their toll on the group. Battle lines are drawn and their ranks are divided. Soon, those left behind must embark on a perilous journey to save one of their own…but, something sinister awaits them in the shadows and it’s undeniably connected to Liv.
Can she keep her promise to reunite with her brother? What are Liv and her friends willing to do to survive? Will their bravery and determination be enough to save them all from a rogue military unit, a terrifying virus, and the things that go bump in the night?
Or was Icarus really the KILLSHOT?
About the Author
Aria Michaels lives in a small town in Illinois with her loving, patient, husband and her six (yes, SIX) energetic boys. Always the creative type, Aria fed off the encouragement of her mother, and started writing and illustrating her own stories at a very young age. Aria’s passion for creation and love of the human spirit followed her to the university level where she graduated with an Associates Degree in Fine Arts, and a Bachelors Degree in Communications, with a minor in psychology.
After years of juggling parenthood with her a career in higher education, the universe finally called Aria back to her original passion…writing. When she isn’t glued to her computer, or painting her next masterpiece, Aria can be found playing in the dirt with her kids, snuggling up to a good zombie flick with her husband, or sipping a glass of wine by the fire with friends.
Find Aria Michaels online at:
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
First impression? Intense. Aria Michaels’ Killshot is a story that would have scared the crap out of me as a kid—an apocalyptic nightmare.
I loved Michaels’ fresh take on the end of the world. The creatures she crafted were much better than your average zombies. There’s the usual zombie elements—rotting flesh, a deadly bite, and an altered human state—but hers are so much deeper. I don’t think the walking dead get a sense of their impending doom. Michaels’ creatures are fully aware of what’s about to happen to them. You feel sympathetic toward them. You can imagine what it must feel like to have this foreign entity crawling through your body, taking over your vital functions and shutting them down, and knowing that you can’t stop it. Death is a welcome event in your fractured world. Oh man, that’s extreme!
I applaud the diversity Michaels mixed into Killshot—a gay genius, two African-American girls, interracial relationships, and even a kid who may be of Middle-Eastern descent (I haven’t figured out Zander’s nationality yet).
The event Michaels describes is fictional but plausible. The aftermath from an EMP (an electromagnetic pulse) has been depicted for years. The details are similar to a nuclear explosion (think the 1983 sci-fi movie, “The Day After”). Her worldbuilding was phenomenal. I got such a vivid picture. I could imagine the overwhelming, draining heat and godawful stench. I guessed early on what the sticky black blobs are in “Killshot”. When you discover the truth be prepared to go ‘Eeeewwww’.
I suspect Michaels might be a bit of a Star Trek fan. Her creatures—leeches—bear a strong semblance to The Borg and the Collective, hive mentality.
I must say all the characters are well-developed. You can’t help but like Jake. He’s the nerd, the genius, the aggravating little brother equivalent. He’s also as fiercely loyal as a pitbull. Get on his good side and you’ll have a friend for life. Venture on the dark side and you’ll have someone who’s well-equipped to make your life miserable.
Falisha and Riley, the girls with unshakeable attitude, are just priceless. Falisha started out all ‘Ice Princess’, but once Olivia (and readers) got to know her, you found out how strong and vulnerable she could be. Riley is the human equivalent of a Timex watch. Can’t put her down for long—no matter how broken she may be, she’ll come back swinging.
I loved the character of Olivia. You have to love a story with a female Alpha… it just rocks! There’s a moment, a potential, for an insta-love relationship between Olivia and Zander (her super-hot beta). It plays out, however, of more like an instant attraction. That’s believable. Olivia (Liv) thinks she’s falling in love with Zander which is also a believable moment. She’s a teenage girl facing the end of the world and possibly the end of humanity. If you were in her shoes, wouldn’t you develop strong feelings for the most attractive guy you’re with? The two of them become nearly inseparable. And thanks to some funky aftereffects Liv and Zander grow even closer.
I thoroughly enjoyed Killshot—a great well-written story, a plot that’s unforgettable, and interesting characters. Who could ask for more?
Thankfully, I have book two cued up on my tablet. I’d hate having to wait for the next phase of this thrilling post-apocalyptic adventure.
Rating: (5=Excellent, 4=Pretty Good, 3=Good)