Survival Instincts, Book #2
Heat Factor: → The best way to get warm in the woods is to climb into a sleeping bag naked with another naked person already inside it.
Character Chemistry: I’m kind of stuck on: they’re on a chemical high from running for their lives for days on end. But sure, forever love, absolutely.
Plot: Baddies are still after the mysterious virus. This time Leo, pilot, and Elias, mysterious recluse, are running for their lives (and to save the world?)
Overall: The show-stealer is Amka, the Alaskan wilderness octogenarian lesbian badass.
I have been more interested in romantic suspense lately than I normally am. The construction of romantic suspense is so full of tension that I feel it can hold my attention better than normal people having angsty normal people problems. That said, I am also struggling to read books longer than 250 pages. They just seem insurmountably long. So here I am, reading Uncharted, the sequel to Whiteout, which I’ve been wanting to read for a while and which Holly did read this summer thanks to a recommendation from our blog buddy Miss Bates. The whole idea of this series is intriguing to me. But it took me two weeks to finish the last 30% of this book, so…
The story starts off strong. Leo didn’t leave this small Alaskan town with her team because she was sick, so when the baddies arrive, Amka-the-show-stealer sends Leo off in her ancient Piper Cub plane with misleading instructions that the man Leo has been looking for is in the wilderness. Leo is not far enough ahead of the Baddies in the state-of-the-art new helicopter and is shot down(ish) / crashes not far from the mysterious Elias’s cabin.
And then they run a lot. At first it’s exciting, especially with both Elias and Leo thinking that the other is going to attempt to kill them, plus the actual baddies actually trying to kill them, so Semper Paratus and all that.
Then I don’t know what happens. The pacing did not hold my attention. There were loads and loads of dire, life-threatening obstacles to overcome. Each life-threatening obstacle is described in vivid detail, so the reader can feel the drama of, for example, being sucked under the frigid lake water with broken ice sloshing at the surface like a deadly ice cube whack-a-mole. And there’s a POV tracker baddie (who is smarter than all the other baddies, obvi) on a mission of his own and right on their tail! He’s so clever! He will catch them!!! THINGS ARE HAPPENING!
Except that I don’t feel like anything is happening because (checks notes) Leo and Elias are still trekking through the wilderness. Alone. Together. Just…trekking through the wilderness. Getting progressively hornier as they get filthier, more injured, and more exhausted. They have a lot of feelings, which is useful, I guess, if we’re supposed to believe that they’re falling in love.
I do have to give Anders props for making sex on the hard ground in the freezing cold seem like something that might be fun to do.
I just don’t know where I land on this book. What did the protagonists achieve? Do I buy Leo and Elias’s romance? By the end of the book, they are sooooo in love with each other that I started to buy in, but at the same time the overall story construction trying to achieve the combination of suspenseful tension, moving the plot forward, and developing the romance just didn’t quite get me there. Would I have preferred this suspense book simply to be suspense without the romance? What would that achieve? I just don’t know. And yet I am still curious to know what happens next.
I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.
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