High-school boyfriends Jack Haldane and Bastian Wade thought everything would be perfect once they reunited at college, putting disapproving parents and small-town attitudes firmly in the past. Now Jack’s on track for a PhD scholarship and a career as a researcher, and Bastian . . . well, living inside a broken body and trailing along in Jack’s shadow didn’t feature in his lofty teenage ambitions.
A weekend camping trip back home offers a chance for them to reconnect, but an ugly confrontation with the local motorcycle gang is only the start of their problems. When disaster occurs and the world unravels, will Bastian and Jack manage to hold on to each other, or fall further apart as they try to survive?
Freaking hell that was a horrific story! I don’t know what I thought Fallout was going to be about, but it wasn’t this. And I really, Really, REALLY wasn’t expecting to have the bejeezus scared out of me…again, by Ms. Henry. While this is the first book I’ve read of M. Caspian’s, I have read two books by Ms. Henry before and one of them left me with a similar level of fear from just how real such a story could be. Fallout is one of those books in which as the story unfolds you stop expecting or even hoping for a happily ever after and start wondering if maybe death would be the happy ending because there really are some things people shouldn’t have to live through.
The book actually starts out harmless enough as Jack and Bastian are going camping for the weekend so that Jack can collect data for his PhD project. It’s clear from the outset that there is a boatload of tension between them and I got the impression that this was going to be a make it or break it weekend for their relationship. While my assessment was spot on, it certainly did not play out as I expected. Despite a rocky start when they have a run in with a biker gang, they make it to the campsite relatively unscathed and Jack gets in a good day of data collection. After another argument about Bastian’s back pain, flared tempers lead to an extremely heated round of rough sex, far rougher than I would have expected considering Jack’s concern about Bas’s back. But it seems like it’s exactly what the guys needed to reconnect and the weekend and the relationship seem to be looking up. That is until they wake the next morning and see the results of a natural disaster raining down upon them and everything they can see around them. Due to his course of study, Jack knows that what they are seeing does not bode well and insists they leave the mountain and go back into town for safety, but when they arrive at the parking lot they find that the car has been vandalized. Jack has to leave Bas at the car and hike into town for help and THIS is where the story goes in a direction I never saw coming as Jack and Bastian learn just how evil and how good the human race can be.
Fallout is a very compelling read. Unfortunately it is missing some serious trigger warnings regarding extreme violence and sexual assault. If either of these are triggers for you or topics you don’t enjoy reading, this is NOT the book for you. But if these are not deal breakers for you and you enjoy books about the human condition, then I strongly recommend it. Fallout is a story about survival and the lengths to which a person will go to in order to survive – both as a victim (Bas) and as a protector (Jack). It’s not pretty and it’s not for the faint of heart. And because it takes place during a natural disaster, the realism factor ratchets up the intensity significantly. This is one of those books that as I read, I really had no idea as to whether or not Bas and/or Jack would survive and even if they did, would they really want to live with the knowledge of what they did to survive. I don’t want to go into specifics because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone else. I will say that I do love how the book ended and was glad to see that Grace and Nina were exactly what I thought they were. Fallout is on my shortlist of books that I may never read again, but because it affected me so deeply it’s a 5–star read.