I Am Hope is the third book in Evelyn’s Shepherd’s fabulous Meteora Trilogy and continues the story from previous books. So this review will have spoilers from the first two in the series.
Topher, Jesse, and Sawyer, along with their friends, are once again on the road. After losing the relative security of Salvation, then facing off against some violent humans, they are once again trying to find someplace where their lives aren’t constantly in danger. Every time they think they have found a place they can stop to catch their breaths, something happens to once again threaten the little family they have built. Every town they drive through is infested, the Mutated are increasingly violent, and even more horrific threats are appearing. But they are determined to make their way to Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, where rumor has it there is a concentration center where they might be safe.
Arriving at the center brings a tentative relief that they are away from the horrible zombies and can finally take a breath. Getting there wasn’t without its horrors and devastating loss, but maybe this is finally a chance for them to settle for a bit. But things are not as easy as they had hoped. Topher is torn between wanting to continue his research into the cure for the zombie virus and his fears that any revelations about Sawyer’s immunity will bring danger to his lover. Jesse is still struggling emotionally with feeling like he has to carry the burdens of the decisions the group makes, and the pressure continues to take its toll on him. And worst of all, as they begin to learn more about what really caused the virus, things are even more horrible than they could have ever dreamed and it is becomes clear that no place may be safe.
Oh, you guys, this series is so wonderfully exciting! I have been totally hooked since the first book, I Am Here, and have been eagerly awaiting this final installment. I am thrilled to say it did not disappoint and I was captivated from start to finish.
This story is told from Topher’s POV and I loved getting to know him here. Topher is a scientist and his brain just works differently than the other guys, something Shepherd brings out so well. This story brings us the transition from the men struggling for survival on the open road back into government hands as they find the center. They are finally not running for their lives at every moment, but they don’t have much control either, nor are they given much information about what their future holds. Topher is struggling between his desire to work for the cure, something he was so close to before all his work was lost in Salvation, to his need to protect Sawyer. Shepherd sets this conflict up well, as Topher faces decisions that could potentially save the world, but condemn his lover. We also learn exactly what caused the apocalypse, and it is something I never saw coming. I won’t go into details, but I’ll just say that in lesser hands it could have been over the top, but instead Shepherd manages to make things both fascinating and horrifying at once.
Now that we have reached the end of the series, I just want to save a few things about the trilogy overall. First off, I loved every minute of these three books. The series is consistently great with no weak spots over the three books. What Shepherd does so well here is find the perfect balance between the romance and the suspense end of things. These books are genuinely scary. The guys spend a lot of time just trying to survive. The zombies are terrifying, repulsive, and horrifying. It is life or death for a lot of the story, and we definitely see death, even of characters we actually know and care about. So these books are edge of your seat excitement and Shepherd really makes you feel the suspense and fear and tension. But at the same time, we get plenty of time for the romance. The relationship between these men grows so nicely over the three stories. As readers we can see the deepening of their feelings and the way they have grown together over this experience. The story is sexy and romantic, and in book we really see the guys deal with the emotional potential of losing one another and what that would mean. As I said, Shephard gives great balance to the romance/suspense, but also gives each appropriate time. There is no absurd quickie sex while zombies are at the door. Both parts of the story get appropriate feature and fit within the overall plot arc.
I also love how each of these guys narrates one of the books, giving us real insight into each of them, while not having shifting POVs in one book. Shepherd is so clever with how the narration works. I mentioned this in my review of I Am Alive, but I loved how the narrator so perfectly fits the story. Sawyer narrates book one, and he is perfect for that confusion and uncertainty as they all face the start of the apocalypse. Sawyer is terrified and a little naive and his fear and doubts perfectly reflect that first story. In the second book, the guys spend time in Salvation and are facing tough decisions about how to move forward, which is perfect for Jesse who takes on the burden of making hard choices and being the leader. Then here we have Topher, who is a scientist and whose brain looks at the world differently than the other two men, and you can really see that in his POV. Topher thinks in numbers and ponders the fate of the world and thinks about what it will be like if the planet is destroyed. He approaches things differently than the other guys and that again perfectly matches the story. It just works really well and I am so impressed by how each book works alone, but also flow perfectly into one another.
So honestly, I can’t say enough good things about this series and this story. I have been enjoying it since the very start and Shepherd has written such a wonderfully exciting trilogy. There is suspsense and romance, horror and sexy times, and a fascinating take on the zombie genre. The world building and the truth behind what is happening are so well done. So I highly recommend the trilogy and will definitely be looking for more by this author.