Regroup is the second book in the Captured Earth trilogy, a suspense series featuring an alien attack and its aftermath. The books follow upon one another and so this review will have some spoilers from the first book, Resist.
Josh Rayne is stunned when the ship meant to take him and his fellow survivors to safety in Australia suddenly disappears from the water. Josh knows that means the aliens have found them, in fact, have probably been following them all along. Now he has a handful of civilians, a few sailors, and his injured lover, Xavier Fisher, all stranded on the shore. Josh knows that he is the only healthy one with the training and the information to lead the group, but getting to safety is now going to be near impossible. Their only hope is to try to make their way north to the nearest city within what is left of Australia, but with meager supplies and an ill-prepared group, it isn’t going to be easy. Everyone is tired, hungry, and scared, and Josh knows chances are good they are being tracked by the Geckos.
The group manages to make it to an abandoned town for a chance to rest a little, as well as gather more supplies. But the town holds unexpected dangers, and their lives continue to be at risk. Through it all, however, Josh and Xavier continue to strengthen the bond between them, now that they are finally reunited. Josh is a little uncertain, given that the two of them weren’t out before, but he knows that he wants to be with Xavier and life is too short to wait. But with constant danger wherever they turn and miles between them and their goal, finding their way to safety isn’t going to be easy.
Regroup picks up immediately in the aftermath of the ship disappearing at the end of Resist, so we are thrust right back into the action. The story continues in Josh’s POV and he is totally overwhelmed, having pinned all his hopes on the idea of just making it to the ship. Now that they are suddenly in a seemingly impossible situation once again, Josh wants to break down so badly, but he also knows he is really the only one who can lead this group. Nichols really does a nice job here, making Josh’s exhaustion and stress just so palpable. He has this huge weight on his shoulders and a pressure to help keep all these people alive.
Much of the action here takes place when the group lands in an abandoned town for more supplies. It gives a chance for Xavier and Josh to reconnect and spend time together, as well as bringing some terrifying surprises. To some extent, this one has some “middle book” feel, as while there is definitely action, the scope feels much smaller than the first story, which covered more time and more world building. This one felt to me a little more like a moment in time for the group, rather than the scale of the first book. That said, the story continues to have that taut action and intensity and I am enjoying the way the books are short with a high energy feel, building to one large story.
I appreciated that we get more time with Josh and Xavier as a couple here and it gives a nice sense of the connection they had prior to the alien attack. We are still in Josh’s sole POV, so we don’t get much backstory on Xavier, nor do we get to know him as well. I would prefer a little more character development for him at this point in the trilogy. We also move things forward with their relationship, and it is nice to see Josh have someone to lean on. The jump forward is a little abrupt, as we have so little time to really develop things between them. But I think overall it works given the style of this series.
I continue to be really engaged by these books and we once again are left at a pivotal point at the end of the story. I am really looking forward to the final book in the trilogy (which comes out next week) and seeing how it all comes together for Josh and Xavier.