Title: Lay Me Down To Sleep
Author: James Cox
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Characters: Glenton, Aric
Sub-Genre: Futuristic/SciFi, Erotic Romance
Beneath the ice and crystal lies the future of mankind.
The entire population was sent to sleep in hibernation chambers underground so that the earth could re-grow. When Glenton wakes, it’s to a shaking chamber and screams. He’s saved by Aric, and together they rescue all those they can as the chambers suffocate the remaining humans.
Was it a horrible mistake or a cruel government? Six survivors now try to endure beneath the ice in what remains of the hibernation center, waiting for the day they can return to the surface. Glenton is among them, troubled by his strange feelings for Aric. When their home loses power, they must go to sleep once more.
The future of our species depends on their waking. Will they make it to the surface?
Considering the length, this a surprisingly deep character-driven survival romance. We get the story from Glenton’s point of view alone, and since these young people are stuck underground together, this is a surprisingly effective method of drawing us into the situation.
The topside world is in the process of being re-terraformed. The rich and powerful live in a space station while the rest of the populace hibernate in crystal chambers underground. One day Glenton wakes up in an earthquake that destroys the hibernating chambers. He is rescued by Aric, another survivor. The whole world beneath is in turmoil, and only half a dozen people survive. Glenton went in as a boy and grows up amid these other youths, not knowing why he feels nothing for his female friend Rawn and too much for brooding Aric. He has no words for his feelings. Years pass as they dig their way through the ice and crystal toward the door to the top. The situation changes when the earth renewal nears its end and Glenton and Aric grow closer.
Each survivor has a distinct character, which I appreciated. And even though the story is short, we are shown disasters when lives are lost in accidents. In essence, this story is packed full of emotional, sexual and physical turmoil. Mr. Cox has created an intriguing world, somehow believable through Glenton’s innocent eyes, and finding the upper world of sun and green becomes a real hope as time progresses. There were times when I was in tears and others when I laughed out loud.
The plot focuses on the interaction of these young people, their struggle to survive and their dream to feel the sun on their faces. The pace is a mix of efforts to get out and sensual experiences of Glenton learning who and what he is. Aric is older than him, and he’s had experiences. But Aric’s also lost people, and he doesn’t want to fall in love and lose anyone else. This creates tension and frustration in a deliciously bittersweet balance. Mr. Cox writes efficiently, half focusing on the actions needed to survive, half on the sexual awakening. And the reason why everything went wrong underground is shown toward the end, which I appreciated after getting so curious about it.
Overall, a remarkably good and strong story for such a short length. Recommended to everyone who likes their romance torturous and rewarding at once, their scifi light but evocative and believable, and their sex hot enough to melt ice.
Reviewed By: Susan