Runebinder by Alex R. Kahler started out with action, and kept the suspense up all the way. No repetition, but scene after scene of our heroes fighting for their lives.
The author impressed me with the ability to pull the reader into this world, the US after magic returns, in what is called The Resurrection. I felt the desperation of our hero, how he clutched to any and every scrap of normalcy in an insane world. He survived the initial attack of the monsters to become a hunter, shielding what was left of mankind. Shutting out the past, he wants no reminders, not even his own name. He's given up Jeremy for Tenn, the name he now wears as a different person, in a different world, like a soldier who returns home with a nickname given by comrades in arms.
The magic within him won't let him forget his past completely, and every time he uses it, his worse memories come to life. Everyone he knew and loved is dead. He's resolved himself to death soon too, as twenty years old is the life expectancy of a hunter, and Tenn is eighteen.
I'll admit to being surprised at the level of gore and details in the battle scenes, this being a young adult, then remembering other YA stories filled with danger and pain. I found the words poetically woven together, and I backed up the audio book to replay favorite passages.
War and loss have taken a toll and, never expecting to see someone he knows, he at first doesn't recognize the guy he crushed on at fifteen, especially when they meet in battle. Jarrett symbolizes hope, a possibility for a future, which is just what Tenn needs. He fantasizes about them making a life together because he needs reasons to keep going, to wake up every morning.
When the hope dies, he survives for revenge.
Then there is Tomas, the intriguing villain who is a lovely shade of gray, neither totally good or evil, or perhaps he's evil and occasionally does good for his own agenda. Either way, he is an excellent driver to the story. If it hadn't been for an awful deed performed when he meets Tenn, I might have even considered him a future love interest for the character I've grown to love.
Tenn is a chosen one, sought after by many for their own purposes, but he's no golden child the world bows down to. He's gritty, hardened, though he still has a vulnerable heart.
The twins were the perfect sidekicks for him, and though we know little about them, I'm hoping future installments will show us more of their lives and motivations.
Highly recommended, one of the best books I've listened to this year, and I wish the sequel was on audio book. Well, guess I'll have to read it the old-fashioned way.
Oh, and daaaannnng again for the amazing cover and narration.