Cold Light by Traci L. Slatton
The mists eat metal. In the two years since the mists appeared on the world, cities have been eaten. Buildings don’t stand against them. Living organisms don’t, either, because of the trace minerals in them. The only way to survive the mists is to avoid them. Even without contact, the mists affect humans. People are developing unusual powers.
Emma was in France with their younger daughter when the mists first appeared. She formed relationships within the new bands of people, fell in love with their leader, Arthur, and protected the children she had gathered. She was changed so that she now can heal by touch, making her important to those who know. Then her husband was able to rescue them in one of the few remaining planes and take them back to Canada. Now they, along with their other daughter Beth, live in a Safe Zone near Edmonton.
A band of raiders attacks their settlement, taking women and children, including Beth. Emma promises herself and her daughter that she will rescue her. Her husband, Haywood, now is a seer with glimpses into the future. He tries to stop Emma when the ruling council refuses to send a rescue party. One of them has to stay with Mandy and his visions show Emma has the better chance of success. But not all the paths he sees are successful. Emma’s relationships and decisions can alter the visions Haywood has of their future.
Emma sets off on her own into the dangers of civilization gone mad and tribal. Only a small portion of the world survived the mists first rising. Now they have gone back to wandering tribes and collectives, groups of people trying to survive on what is left and to rebuild farms, communities, and the necessities of life.
Cold Light is the second novel in Traci L. Slatton’s After trilogy. Mankind has returned to a primitive life, surviving with what is available. One of the most precious possessions a community can have is a stable of horses. Horse theft can mean death. Some places like Edmonton, untouched by the mists, host communities of people still in shock from what has happened to their world. Other people live in nomadic tribes. Communication around the world is sparse.
Slatton’s world is compelling in its feel and draw for the reader. Although Cold Light can stand alone, it is better to read Fallen first. Cold Light is a continuation of that story, building upon what Slatton has already created.
While it drags a bit in the middle, and at times stretches incredulity, Cold Light is an exciting book that brings in unexpected characters and tense scenes. It isn’t easy living – and loving – in the After.
Notice: Non-graphic violence