Book Reviews

Smolder (Ignite 2) by Nora Phoenix

Genre Gay / Science Fiction / Post-Apocalyptic / Aliens / Future Earth / Menage MMM / Romance
Reviewed by ParisDude on 24-March-2020

Book Blurb

In a world where it’s every man for himself, all they can do is hold on to each other…

Austin, Mack, and Tan have found a safe spot at the deserted farm. They have food and shelter, but what will the cost be of defending their little slice of heaven?

Unexpected visitors keep showing up, and it becomes harder and harder to tell friends from enemies…and the line between right and wrong becomes more and more blurred. 

They grow closer and closer, finding comfort with each other, but when disaster strikes and threatens what has blossomed between them, will they find a way through this?

While the world around them burns, all they have are each other.

 

Book Review

This second book in the dystopian ‘Ignite’ series features the same setting—the fictional conservative United States, comprising more or less the central states between the east and the west of today’s USA— as well as the three main characters, who have fled the cruel reintegration camp for sexually deviant men in South Dakota: self-assured, down-to-earth Austin, the sporty bisexual hunk; cocky but frail and sensitive Tan, a gay farm boy; and shy but helpful and brave Mack, who comes from a religiously strict survivalist family. At the end of the first book, they have found refuge in an abandoned farmhouse in Wyoming, where they plan to stay for a few days before continuing on their way to the safety of the western third of the former USA. Yet, what with the winter showing signs of arriving early and the world being overrun by aliens in search of oil, they finally decide to stay a bit longer. The farmhouse is isolated, well-stocked, and warm.

 

The three men are irresistibly drawn to each other, each one finding something he has been missing all his life in the two others. During the day, they roam the countryside in order to find the lifestock the former owners of the farm have freed before leaving. In the evenings, Austin and Tan take turns showing green but eager Mack what love (and sex) between men can be. Then, one day, four half-starved persons unexpectedly show up: three lesbians and a transman, who have fled one of the country’s women’s camps. They take them in and offer shelter and food for a couple of days, but of course, things quickly turn nasty. First, they are attacked by the aliens’ deathly spider robots, then a group of alien soldiers shows up. They are able to fend off their attackers, but the women take offense when they realize that one of the aliens is left alive, that Mack claims he has previously met him, and that they have become something like friends. A fight breaks out, Mack gets shot, and Tan starts having PTSD attacks, and…

 

As I surmised, there are plenty of new twists and turns in this second installment of Nora Phoenix’s trilogy. And not at all the twists and turns I expected. For one, when I closed the first book I was sure the guys would leave the farmhouse, without my being able to guess where they would head. I turned out to be completely wrong, anyway, because the farmhouse is the sole setting of this book, which allows the three men to get better acquainted (as friends and as lovers). I foresaw problems with the CUS-army—there were first subtle hints in book number one, after all—and was right, but even here, the author managed to surprise me. I didn’t see the women (and the transman) coming into the plot, though – they exit it, too, but I think I haven’t seen the last of them – nor did I expect the second encounter between Mack and Pax, the alien soldier who was briefly introduced in book one. By now, I’d be almost willing to bet I am going to meet Pax again in the last book, although until now, my predictions were mistaken in a large percentage, so who knows?

 

I got the impression the story slowed down a bit in this book, which is perhaps normal: I already knew the strange, uninviting world the main characters were evolving in; I knew their predicament (pursued as gays/bisexuals by their fellow countrymen, pursued to death by their alien enemies—bar one—, threatened by the upcoming winter); I had learned about some aspects of their former lives; the MMM-dynamics had been put into motion. Nora Phoenix had the choice of either speeding up the plot, throwing the main characters into countless traps and dangerous situations and therefore cutting short the romantic part of the story, or stepping on the brakes, giving them a breather and the chance to work more in depth, emotionally and psychologically. I learned a lot more about each of them, but they learned a lot about themselves and the other two men, as well—something I always find rewarding in a read. People learn and progress (at least that is what I always hope). The falling-in-love-process was already sweet and slow in the first book; here, it goes farther, further, and deeper, embracing the physical, emotional, and psychological needs of the three, so much so that I finally had a hard time deciding which of the guys I liked most. I ended up feeling like a greedy kid who doesn’t want to choose between candies, whining “Can I have’m all, pretty please?”

 

Book three is now beckoning—I stopped reading in order to write this review so as not to mix up events—and calling me with a loud voice. I need to know what happens and how it all ends. Like, urgently need to know. A good sign for any book and/or series.

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the author for the purpose of a review.

 

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 238 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 10-January-2020
Price $4.99 ebook
Buy Link https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083CVKJMZ