Published: October 6, 2015
Publisher: Clarion Books
The strange war down south—with its rumors of gods and monsters—is over. And while sixteen-year-old Hallie and her sister wait to see who will return from the distant battlefield, they struggle to maintain their family farm.
When Hallie hires a veteran to help them, the war comes home in ways no one could have imagined, and soon Hallie is taking dangerous risks—and keeping desperate secrets. But even as she slowly learns more about the war and the men who fought it, ugly truths about Hallie’s own family are emerging. And while monsters and armies are converging on the small farm, the greatest threat to her home may be Hallie herself.
This book is very, very hard to pigeonhole. It's a little bit dystopian, a little bit historical and a little bit fantasy, and it all mushes up together into something that took me quite some time to get in to the swing of, but in the end I absolutely loved it. At first I was sure I was reading about the US Civil War - there's the historical part. Then you discover that there are old ruined cities and bridges from 'long ago' - there's the dystopian. Then there are strange things falling from the sky, burning everything they touch - fantasy anyone. At one point I was so close to giving up on it, but I changed my mind, and I'm really glad I did.
Hallie is a mixed up 16 yr old who is fighting old ghosts and trying to make the best of a bad situation. Sometimes I wanted to hug her and other times I wanted to smack her upside the head. She is so distrustful of everyone and everything. Heron is a major enigma. The reader knows something is a little strange there, but we don't find out what until much later. I did have my suspicions about him, and I turned out to be right, for a change. My favourite character though is Tyler. He is damaged, both physically and mentally from the war down South, but he is such a sweet young man. I just adored his interaction with Hallie and the hesitation between the two of them
In the end though, I completely fell in love with the story and I sat with tears in my eyes as the story neared its finish, which completely surprised me. Ultimately, it's a story about survival, family and hope. and I urge you to push past the slightly odd beginning and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.