This was one of Jenre’s DIK picks. I belong to an m/m group on Goodreads and each month they have something called a pick-it for me challenge. If you join you are partnered up with another member and they choose a book for you to read. When ASaST was chosen I thought it was a great opportunity to kill two birds with one stone (poor birds). This review actually is doing triple duty as it covers my DIK reading challenge, my pick-it for me challenge and my m/m challenge. Now who says I’m not a multi-tasker?
The Ice fell upon the world nearly a hundred years ago, and if civilization didn't rightly collapse, it surely staggered and fell ill a while. In the small town of Moline, Virginia, folks struggle to survive, relying on hybrid seed sent by the faraway Department of Reintroduction and Agriculture and their own faith in God and hard work. But when a mated pair of dragons starts hunting the countryside, stealing sheep, and attacking children, the townsfolk quickly learn that they don't have the weapons or the skills to fight off such predators.
David Anderson is a farmer's son who has explored the world through books. When he meets the new healer in town, Callan Landers, he doesn't quite know what to make of the strange warmth stealing over him. It's not until he surprises Callan with another man-and both men are promptly arrested for sodomy-that David finally realizes the truth about his own feelings.
When David and Callan stumble over a secret in a nearby abandoned town, their personal problems fade before government politics and corruption that threaten lives. It seems the dragons aren't the worst dangers facing Moline.
David meets Callan by chance when he takes his sister to the local healer. Callan is the healer’s assistant. They click immediately and find common ground in their love of books. David borrows a book and then goes back to Callan a few days later to discuss the book – this starts a routine between the two men. But as much as they like discussing the books that David reads they also just like being together. By chance David walks in on Callan when he isn’t expected and finds Callana and another local man, Taylor, in the middle of having sex. David was with town trouble maker, Elmer, and Elmer runs to authorities and Taylor and Callan are subsequently arrested.
Callan is sentenced and paroled for being a sodomite and part of that parole is that he cannot be near David as it is feared that Callan, being the sodomite and pervert that he has been proven to be, will influence and corrupt the young boys of Moline. But David and Callan find a way to talk despite the restrictions that are put on them. One of the times they are together they discover serious information about the Dept. of R & A and events come to a head when Callan and David are sent off to help find and fight the dragons.
There is so much going on in this book that it’s hard to tell all the main points without giving important information away. I don’t want to give spoilers as I think that the surprises in this book are way better when they aren’t given away first.
I have to say that I’m so glad that this book was chosen for me. There were just so many things that I loved about the book I don’t think I can tell you all of them.
The first thing that struck me as I was reading was the desolation of the environment. What had happened to the world was almost a reversal. When I think back to the 18th or 19th centuries and all that they didn’t have that we do today, it’s mind-boggling. But in David and Callan’s world they had, at one point, everything that we have today only it’s been destroyed or frozen. When David first takes his sister Almond to see Callan she is very sick. Callan believes that she has strep but of course he has no antibiotics to treat her with and it’s incredibly frustrating for him.
David and Callan’s relationship was one of the things that I loved best about this book. It was very sweet and touching and so very emotional. David believing that he’s not good enough for Callan yet Callan believing that he’s not good enough for David – it just got to me on so very many levels.
I feel I would be remiss in not telling you that this is a highly emotional book. There are tragic deaths, floggings, emotional heartache and family trauma but all of the elements in the book happen for a reason and are told in such a way that you feel that you are there with David and Callan experiencing everything that they do. I found myself crying, gasping, crying again, turning pages at the speed of light (which is difficult to do on an ereader lol) but I wouldn’t have changed a thing. This is a wonderful book that I can’t recommend to you enough.
FYI - from looking at RW Day’s website I see that Out of the Ashes, the sequel to A Strong and Sudden Thaw, is due for paperback release on July 10th. I’ll definitely be reading that one.
Rating: 5 out of 5