Life After Humanity is the third book in the Thorns and Fangs series so this review may contain spoilers for earlier books.
Life After Humanity takes place one month after the events of Uprooted and Ben and Nate have returned to New Camden. Ben is still human and Nate is now a Class Three Unknown supernatural. However, the relationship between Ben and Nate is on hold while they both adjust to their new lives and Ben applies for his status as a vampire to be revoked so that he can be classified as a human. Having this application approved is not going to be easy for Ben, though, and the consequences of him losing his fight against the Registry could be devastating.
With the city on high alert searching for a rogue werewolf and the power-hungry, Councilor Wisner, gaining more control in New Camden, life for Ben, Nate, and other supernaturals seems even more unsettled. Ben and Nate realize they are unable to live without one another, but with Ben’s vampire nature reawakening, there are questions about the consequences of them being together.
Life After Humanity is the third book in Gillian St. Kevern’s Thorns and Fangs series and I would strongly recommend that these books by read in order. In fact, I wish I had had time to re-cap on Thorns and Fangs and Uprooted before I read this latest installment. As much as I enjoyed Life After Humanity, for me it was probably my least favorite of the theee books. This is literally by a margin, as my relating shows, but St. Kevern’s tightly knitted plot reflects the current chaos in New Camden. Not only was I confused about the significance of this supposedly rogue werewolf, but also concerned about the threat of the Final Register placed on Ben, as well as wondering whether Nate and Ben will make their relationship work, despite all the outside influences.
Life After Humanity is definitely not slow paced and I found I had to completely envelop myself in Ben and Nate’s world to keep track of events — and with two children also fighting for my attention, this wasn’t easy! St. Kevern references events that took place in the first book of the Thorns and Fangs series regularly and since I read that book a year ago, even I felt clueless at times! St. Kevern does an excellent job at tying the series together, though, not just by connecting events, but with her characters. In Life After Humanity, we are introduced to new characters like Councilor Wisner, Grant, Charlotte, and Vazul and recurrent characters like Gunn, George, Hunter, Kenzies, and Aki also play a role in the story.
I think, perhaps, my favorite of these is Aki, Nate’s best friend and co-worker. Having Aki around appears to ground Nate and the closeness of their relationship allows for banter and playful teasing, which brings some humor to the narrative. And, Gillian St. Kevern, if you’re reading this, I’d love an Aki spin-off story, maybe with Grant as a love interest?!
Whereas Thorns and Fangs was told entirely in third-person from Nate’s viewpoint and Uprooted from Ben’s, St. Kevern chooses to alternate their narratives in Life After Humanity. For me, this brought something extra to the story telling. This is because the input of both protagonists is essential to the development of the plot of Life After Humanity and not only because the story is so intense. Both Ben and Nate are attempting to come to terms with their new identities and for them, the revelations are not over. Although they have reached an agreement that they need to go it alone, they actually find their strength in one another. The reader also needs both narratives because there is so much happening to Ben and Nate separately that we would otherwise miss, like Nate’s relationship with the stray dog and Ben’s ARX assessment.
I am extremely lucky that I already have a copy of Dead Wrong — the fourth and sadly, final instalment of the series — on my kindle because Life After Humanity does not have the HFN ending of the previous two books. Though also not technically a cliffhanger, the ending left me shaken and wondering what could possibly come next for Nate and Ben.
In Life After Humanity, St. Kevern’s story telling is relentless with elements of tension, romance, and friendship. All of this combined with werewolves, vampires, and magic makes for great reading!