Five years after a massive solar storm has destroyed human civilization and spawned a race of mutants, called Zaps, Rachel Wheeler, herself half-mutant, and her mismatched family, barely clinging to existence in an abandoned military bunker, are faced with a fateful choice. Do they continue hiding out, or do they seek other humans in an effort to rebuild some semblance of human society.
The problems they face are tremendous. The Zaps have concentrated in major cities, and seem to have evolved into a society of sorts, radiation has created monsters on land, sea, and in the air, whose only aim is to feed, and the remnants of the American government have coalesced into a force bent on eliminating the Zaps and retaking earth for humans.
Rachel is faced with a dilemma; should she continue to honor her human side, or become fully mutant?
Afterburn is the first in the post-apocalyptic Next series, which follows Rachel as she fights for survival—of what, she is not certain. The author has created a stunning cast of characters, focusing primarily on the humans, Rachel’s family and the soldiers of the rump government. The Zaps, the principal antagonists in this compelling thriller, are less fully developed, leaving the reader to guess at their motives and abilities—but in such a way as to send chills through your body as you read.
The book ends on a chilling cliff hanger, and the frightening thought—what next?
An interesting beginning to a depressing and frightening look at what could be. I give it four stars.