Friday, May 27, 2016

Killarney Sheffield Presents a Romantic Suspense Apocalypse Winner....

Scanning the crowd I move on. Maybe something exciting will happen today, though by the expressionless faces it doesn’t appear likely. This day is different, but the routine is the same, lines of girls like me, boarding the subway to return home from the education centre. It is the same pattern followed every day six since I was called up to the centre on my twelfth birthday, seven years prior. It is the way of things here, we live at the school and return home for one day each week to share with family, all the teens from the hubs have to do it. The routine is so mundane and boring. Just once I would like to scream, just to see something different, to make people smile, look, jump, anything to liven the place up. However it’s been drilled into my head and everyone else’s, don’t cause a commotion, don’t drift from the norm, be invisible... just another face in the numbered crowd. That familiar feeling of resistance rises in me, making my fingers clench at my sides. No, resist temptation; there will be time for free expression when you reach the dorm.
My friend Danika catches my eye with a brief smile before she looks away. Excitement tingles, raising the hair on my arms as we exit the tunnel and head above ground. No, there’s nothing new to see here. Even so I can’t help but examine the concrete passageway. Grey walls as far as the eye can see, flat, smooth and non-descript, guiding me home to my family’s dorm. 
Home is usually only a one day respite from the cold, stale environment of the routine of school, but not this time and that is what is fueling my steps and everyone’s excitement today. This day marks the graduation ceremony and with it all the eighteen year old’s assignments in the city. I look forward to it, as much as anyone can look forward to having the rest of their life assigned to them without a say, I suppose. Still, since very little different ever happens here it is a most welcome breather from the norm.

The Emperor’s Concubine

Sometimes I wonder if the apocalypse really happened or has the world always been as it is...

By Killarney Sheffield

I've always wondered why the apocalypse has been used for so many books or movies. It's never been something I dwell on for any great time. However, I've read quite a few books. One thing I've found is that, though many have some similar basic concepts, such as "under a dome," there hasn't been one actual story that wasn't different enough to make it a satisfactory story... Note that I'll soon provide a review of the latest one I've read that may just be a lot more accurate than other ideas...

Killarney Sheffield's book is the first I've read in the romance genre, but it was far better than I had imagined from looking at the beautiful young girl on the cover. So don't be fooled by the cover into thinking this is totally chick lit. It is romantic suspense that will keep you totally involved in the story that has minimal actual sexual activity involved... I enjoyed it tremendously...

My parents hold to the belief
 the land is much the same as
 before the destruction of the planet.
 Are they right?
 According to the Emperor and his
all was decimated except for the
 city of Imram,
where we all live now.
In the city there is only concrete
 and food genetically engineered
 and grown in giant warehouses.
 The possibility of the old world
 is always in the back of my head.
 Thankfully the Emperor hasn’t
figured out how to read citizens
 minds yet, or I’m sure many
 of us would be convicted...
Ocean is beautiful, but she is also very intelligent, and has dreams of living a different life than that she has lived since very young--almost too long to remember much, but enough to sense like.

Of course, her parents were once free, but they were included in being taken to a new concrete city after great problems on earth, many calling it the apocalypse... Her parents have shared what they remember and there are always others from whom scraps of information come from.

Ocean is in love with a young man but all that changes...all teenagers reaching their 18th year and graduating from school will receive a job assignment for the future by the Emperor...

But there are terrible secrets hidden from those who are the elites class as opposed to those who live in the hubs, where Ocean and her  family reside. And to resolve the problems the Emperor has decreed that a number of young girls will be selected to become concubines for those men in the elite class. Not only was this devastating for Ocean but her two best friends were taken into the service of the king, which thankfully served to keep them together.

My musing is interrupted by the Emperor’s stiff monotone, “Citizens of Imram, we are facing a crisis of gigantic proportions. As you know many of our elite succumbed to the effects of the disaster that made us rebuild our civilization. We are now faced with dwindling numbers to re-populate those who’s valuable input controls and governs our great city. Within a few short years we will simply cease to be without new blood to infuse into the population. I have therefore issued a degree that when put in place will insure the survival of those most deserving of our people. Every girl who has reached majority age since the beginning of the year, and was never touched with the black sickness, will be re located to a special facility within the week where they will be used to ensure our continued survival. You will receive further instructions tomorrow and be assigned a travel tag. All boys who have reached their majority will be taken to the trade assignment facility as expected. Anyone who tries to avoid their duty will be executed.” The emperor smiles into the camera as if he has just blessed us with a wonderful gift and then it fades to static. Terror renders me silent as I try to digest everything I’ve just heard. I’ve reached my majority as of today. ‘Used to ensure our continued survival’... Used... how? It takes me a moment before I realize I am staring at Sol. The silence stretches between us like a force field until it is broken by a howl of despair issued from my mother’s lips...

It was during this time that the teens began to realize that all of the different non-white races were being separated out. Only Danica, who was part white, and Ocean's best friend was saved and, through some behind-the-scene actions was named to be personal maid to Ocean.

Yes, behind the scenes, many were fighting to get away from this place, to be out of the tyranny of the Emperor and small things could be arranged occasionally. Even Sol, her boyfriend, was ultimately named as her personal guard...

After she had passed all the tests and been named to become the concubine to the Emperor himself...

And Ocean only knew one thing... she had to be free...

It is in the gritty details of how the people lived that Sheffield's book succeeds. She takes readers first into her and her family's own life where they live in a very small concrete hub, along with many others. They are fed by "type of individual" and apparently just the right amount of food it will take to keep a man, woman, child or teen alive and healthy... which wasn't very much... Then they must wash and return all the vessels to be reused...

For Ocean and the others who were taken into the Emperor's quarters, the luxury, food and drink, etc., was startling and they are all completely, newly dressed in all white least until it is determined that they didn't deserve wearing white...

Sol and Ocean take the risk of continuing their relationship, meeting on a rooftop as they had done back at the hub and were able to support each other in facing what was happening...

“Being an enforcer gives you perks. Like being able to raid the emperor’s garden without anyone thinking you are doing anything but gathering flowers for the Empress.” 
With a grin he picks up the guitar at his feet and strums a few bars before launching into a soft love song. 

“What’s the sound that you will make forever
 Less or more if all would cry for you 
Underneath the twilight moon in leather 
or in a song with loving eyes on you 
If you told them everything tonight 
If you found the words for sadness
Would it make you anything the better
Is there anything that it would do 
And we’re going to tell your story forever 
And we’re going to sing this song for you 
No one really wants to live forever 
The flowers on the counter are for you 
So you picked the moment to remember 
a thousand eyes and twenty colored lights 
You disappeared into the circle too 
then you stopped and smiled but no one knew 
And we’re going to tell your story forever 
And we’re going to sing your song for you
 No one really wants to live forever 
The flowers all along the wall are for you... 

Forgive me, but my concern for today's teenagers stolen into sex slavery, came often to my mind, as we learn how the girls were to be treated by their new "owners..." I don't know whether this was intended by the author, but she's certainly done a fantastic job in exploring the before and after of what life can be...after the apocalypse... and who knows? Maybe we all go through our own apocalypse some day...

Highly recommended!


Award winning, multi-published Canadian prairie author of 18 titles. Mother, rancher, horse professional. RONE award finalist, Epic award finalist, P&E Award winner, The Great Romance Contest runner up. I don't blog. Why? I'd rather talk WITH my readers than AT them! 
FACEBOOK Group: Killarney's Kozy Book Korner
TWITTER: @authorkillarney

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