I had a lot of conflicted feelings about this book. On one hand, probably about the first half was difficult to get through. The second half and the ending redeemed it slightly, but not enough to make it a great read. The biggest problem I had was with the romance. Brendan, the boy who woke Rose up, is a nice enough character and it’s great to see that he, at least, doesn’t immediately fall for Rose. However, only after a few weeks of knowing him, Rose is “mysteriously drawn” to him and literally decides overnight that she’s in love with him. This would be bad enough on its own, but all her feelings for him are told to us, not shown to us. She tells us she’s in love but I just never felt it. It’s later stated she wasn’t really in love but was longing for something else, but by then the damage had been done and I just couldn’t get invested in them as a couple. In contrast, the scenes with Otto, the genetically mutated/experimented alien/human and Rose? Complete difference. I saw way more chemistry with those two than I ever did Bren and Rose. We’re shown how they get closer together and talk to each other. In fact Rose talks to Otto far more than she does to Bren once she and Otto begin their conversations, which really hindered any interest I had in Bren and Rose. Until then, Rose and Bren had talked maybe three times tops in the book, and it wasn’t much. As a result I liked Otto and Rose together far more than I did Bren and Rose. In fairness, the book isn’t overly concerned with who Rose gets together with. It’s more focused on her trying to find a new life and in that it succeeds. But Rose is one highly aggravating main character. There’s a good reason for this and I do mean a very good reason, but it makes it hard to handle during the first half. Thankfully she does grow and learn and change as a character and by the end I liked her far more than I did in the beginning. You just need to hack your way through her passivity and self-loathing to get to the good bits. I’m not entirely certain I’d classify this as science-fiction, really, since the sci-fi bits are pretty meager. The world building, otherwise, is rather solid, especially the Dark Times. There was one point I actually shivered because the book mentioned a drug resistant strain of tuberculosis that started the Dark Times, and they’ve just found that exact same thing in India. It hit a little too close to home and it definitely added a level of horror to the already horrific story. Pacing tended to be a little slow at times, but it’s fitting considering how Rose is in the beginning. She’s just sort of wandering through life, lost and clueless, and the pacing reflects that. In contrast, once she grows, the pacing speeds up a little which is fitting. The dialogue was a little clunky at times and Rose has a habit of narrating with exclamation points a lot of the time, but overall the writing was solid and good. I do wish it could have worked a little bit better for me, and there were some scenes that had me tearing up (mostly with Rose and her parents, who are the actual worst), but otherwise it’s a mixed bag I feel conflicted on. I didn’t hate it but I don’t love it. It sits squarely in the middle of like. I’m sure it will work better for other readers, however.