The Raging Ones & The Last Hope aren’t really romance novels. They’re classified as Young adult reads, and are actually Sci-Fi. They do contain love stories though, even if those are slow-burning and understated which seem to be the norm for American novels aimed at a younger audience.
So, even though these two books don’t fit into my usual romance and smut selection, they’re so bloody good I need to review them anyway.
Also, I might have a humongous crush on the Ritchie-sisters brains. Is brain-crush a word? Anyway, their writing is awesome and so original. An über-talented breath of fresh air in the sometimes stale romance genre (because, just to be clear, most of their books are more apparent romances).
The setting is a far away future on a frozen planet, so yes, it’s very much a sci-fi. The inhabitants of this planet can’t die though. Not until their deathday which is predicted at birth. The story follows three young adults – Mykal, Court and Franny – all destined to die young. But then they all, at the time unaware of each other, dodge their deathdays. An unheard of event that creates a bond between them but also puts them in severe danger. To survive, they need to escape the planet.
This is a fantastical tale and so very well written. This has been the case with all of the books by the Ritchie sisters I’ve read so far. Their world-building abilities are fan-fucking-tastic. But there are so much to love about these books – and their writing in general. The characters in this two-book series are beautifully depicted. They’re lovable sure, but mostly they’re like people in general. Everyone fighting their own demons. With their own flaws, insecurities and dreams. There’s a rawness to the writing-style that I adore. No overly silly mush or flowery speeches. Interactions feel real and imperfect – just like real life. Despite the setting being so alien. Pun intended.
But as with all reads, no matter how awesome they are, I have comments. In this case, the reason is definitively cultural differences. Because I don’t think I’ll ever understand the American double standard of accepting violence and gore in games/movies/books meant for young people while physical encounters between loving partners are not. The Raging Ones and The Last Hope are no exceptions that way. They’re brutal, gory and grim. But any mentioning of physical love is delicate and only implied. One should think it would be the other way around. Promoting love instead of violence. But no. Quite counterintuitive.
And speaking of love. Another thing making me crush even harder on the Ritchies is their unaffected portrayal of love. In The Raging Ones and The Last Hope, they’ve created a world where it’s perfectly natural to fall in love with another person – no matter the sex. And it’s not the main focus of the story which is truly refreshing. I think that’s definitely the kind of literature all people should read, whether they be young or old, straight or queer.
So. I can’t recommend these books enough. Read them. Love them.
You can thank me later. 😉