Friday, 7 April 2017


Title: The First City
Series: The Dominion Trilogy
Author: Joe Hart
Genre: Sci-Fi, Post Apocalyptic, Dystopian
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Release Date: 28th March 2017

BLURB from Goodreads
Zoey has only ever known a world with few women and a society capable of unimaginable evil. Now she’s about to learn she may be the only hope it has for salvation.

After she and her companions flee a vicious attack, barely escaping with their lives, Zoey finds herself faced with a new threat: video evidence suggesting she is the mother of an unborn baby girl—and the key to mankind’s survival. Knowing that her former captors will stop at nothing to control the power that lies within her, Zoey sets out on her own for the last American city, Seattle, in search of answers. But a new enemy awaits her there, and the truth she seeks may lead to her destruction as well as that of all humankind.

This stunning finale, hailed by bestselling author Blake Crouch as a “rapturous, thought-provoking, [and] impossible-to-put-down thriller,” begs us all to consider what we would do when asked to choose between humanity’s survival—and our own.


I had been looking forward to reading this book from the moment I finished reading the previous one, The Final Trade. It ended on such a cliff hanger in many ways, and left me asking lots of questions. Such as, Will Zoey find out about her birth parents and her heritage? As well as the possible injuries the characters may have incurred during the fight at the end of the book too.
Having said that whilst I was looking forward to reading this book, knowing it is the last book in this brilliant trilogy is a bit of a downer. I'm not sure there can be a happy ending for the books characters but I do hope we get some of our reader questions answered before the end of the trilogy, or at least hinted at.

The cover of this book shows a phoenix rising through flames, so does that suggest that Zoey is going to rise above all her problems, or does the phoenix represent the world within this books series rising above the devastation of the Dearth and wastelands everyone is existing in. Can this world ever recover, can the few women left in the world be coaxed out of hiding, find a man they love and reproduce to repopulate this almost destroyed world.

This review is difficult to write without giving away large spoilers, I always try to give spoiler free reviews. It feels the better the book, and especially if its part of a series the harder the review is to write!

I would say this book, in fact, this whole series takes you on an emotional journey as the way it is written it encourages you to become attached to the characters within it. I was really shocked at the loss of one of what I considered a main character early within the book. 
Initially the book begins with a flashback scene of Assistant Carter instructing Cleric Simon to accompany him to the nursery to meet his new ward, which is baby Zoey. Cleric Simon has to take along his own toddler son Lee as there is no one to leave him with. The scene is an emotional "feel good" one of the first meeting between the characters of Cleric Simon, his son Lee and Zoey. The only coldness within the scene comes from the clinical, rather robotic way Assistant Carter "introduces" them to Zoey. I truly loved the interaction between Lee and Zoey in this scene, as well as the proudness of his son and the immediate love Cleric Simon shows. After this flashback scene the The First City book then picks up right where action was left at the end of The Final Trade. 

Zoey once again finds herself having to make difficult decisions when someone dies because he was with her, she decides she needs to leave those she loves and has come to think of as her family. Zoey believes the death to be her fault as it was her that the NOA wanted, so she feels her only option is to go off alone so she will not have to face anyone else around her being hurt or killed. Zoey sneaks off when the rest of the group are asleep, deciding to aim for Seattle in the hope of reuniting with Lee. Zoey has decided she must tell Lee about herself being the "key" to the re-population of this world, and more importantly about their daughter too.
I suppose I am revealing a spoiler, which I hate to do but this one is a necessary one. I have to say that Lee is in fact alive, as part of this book is about what he is doing, and what happening to him whilst Zoey is attempting to travel to him in Seattle.
Both Lee and Zoey think about what happened between them before Lee left for Seattle. They both still love each other and are genuinely missing each other. The time scales within the book when they are both thinking about each other at the same time is a really good touch in the book.
Lee is living in Seattle, though he only just made it and was attacked during his journey. A man in Seattle named Ray Ellenbury. Lee has fitted into the way of life there. Helping, working wherever he is needed. In fact that is why he has come to the attention of the Mayor Tyee. When the mayor send for Lee and asks his story of before he came to Seattle, he reels off the made up cover story that he came from Bristol, but is worried when Tyee says he is sending a scouting team to Bristol and if Lee's story is not real he will find out. In the mean time Tyee puts Lee to work with the remaining elderly engineer they have called Loring.
Sadly there is no chance for Lee's cover story to be uncovered as lies as Seattle is attacked from the sea on one side and on the land from another by an army of Chinese men led by Hiraku Hashimoto. Though there are initially many deaths, Hiraku later reveals his own personal story to Lee. Due to a freak accident it seems Hirau can only father female babies so he has literally some over and invaded with the plan to attack and take over the NOA!
I loved the way Joe Hart shows both sides of Hiraku Hashimoto, the tough merciless fighing invader, and then later the man plagued by the nightmare of his own wife aborting their daughter. ? Hiraku replays the way he found his daughter in a crib almost every night.
So I can't really go further into the book plot as then you won't have things unfold and discover them yourselves. I want you to have the parts and the experience of sitting on the edge of your seat, holding your breath and reading way longer than you initially planned because the book is so good and you just have to continue! I'll rather cryptically say that before the end of the book we are introduced to at least two young characters that I immediately fell in love with. There is also a main character we sort of lose but not quite, very near the end of the book. The scenes with this character had my tears rolling down my cheeks. The things done to help this character are so like things suggested for a disease that becomes ever prevalent in our present day. I have an Uncle with this disease and the scenes felt so poignant and probably where they would have more than likely touched my heart, they ended up squeezing it so tightly.
I wanted to mention one certain scene from within the book that I totally loved. It's a scene with just Eli and Zoey. Within the scene Eli finally reveals the details about his tattoo and who the female in his life was. The one that even now still holds his heart. It is a sad story where Eli describes how he lost the love of his life in this mad mad world they are trying to survive in. Both Eli and Zoey are emotional throughout the scene. It is Eli's way of trying to tell Zoey to grab hold of what she wants and hold on tight to it when she has it. It's a piece of advice that comes back to Zoey's mind much later in the book.
So back to other things I can say about the other characters . . . . I've already mentioned the loss of a character I loved that occurs near the start of the book, but I have to mention the loss of a much loved character nearer the end of the book too. Their burial really had me gulping and sniffling. Something Lyle attempts and Zoey says to just leave things alone that maybe its just as its supposed to be really brought forth the tears!
On a brighter note I'll talks about characters that don't necessarily meet their end. . . I loved the tenacity of Merrill, when others reluctantly want to give up, he stands tall and firm and becomes the father figure to Zoey that she hasn't really had. Merrill continues to be the voice of wisdom throughout the book. His partner Chelsea is also a constant in this final book of the series. Chelsea is there when things go bad as she has the most medical experience. Chelsea is pregnant herself but still tries her best, never backs away but pushes on and attempts some risky operations than have varying outcomes. I guess if Merrill is a kind of father figure to Zoey, then Chelsea is the mother figure head.
Two characters I hated in the previous books are looked at in more depth in this book. As readers we finally get to know who the person in charge of what happens at the NOA really is! We also learn about Vivian, and though her story doesn't make you like her, it does strangely make you feel a level of sympathy for her. You get to read why she became the cold hearted, narrow viewed, obsessed scientist she is. I think some of you will be super shocked to read that I also felt a level of sympathy and empathy for the Reaper in this book. By the time you finish the book you will understand what I mean. Neither Vivan nor the Reaper are innocents like the women and children held by the NOA, but I have to say after finishing this book, they are still victims of the NOA system.
A new place, a chance at a better life is shown in this book, but I cannot say more about that without revealing large spoilers but I must add that the revelation of this "place" gives yet another meaning of the phoenix rising from the ashes on the book cover.
I think you will know without my sum up that I adored this boo and am really sad its the last book in the series. In fact I have asked Joe Hart the question that immediately popped into my head upon finishing the book, which was. . . Could there be a spin off series? A novella set a little further on from the ending of this book? . .Or something more? As yet I have received no answer. If/When I do I will add Joe's answer to the bottom of this review. I can truly say I have adored reading the whole of The Dominion Trilogy. What would I compare The Domion Trilogy to in books I have read? If you have read and loved Sophie Littlefield's Aftertime series, then I think you would really enjoy this series.

My "Final Thoughts" that I typed into Goodreads upon finishing the book were as follows. . .
This book takes the characters on yet more dangerous missions, Zoey has to face more people obsessed by what they want from her. We get answers revealed in sad circumstances and quite a few cruel twists for Zoey but those things prove that this world created by Joe Hart is a realistic one not so different to the one we all live in now that contains both good and bad with various shades of white, grey and black within it. The biggest question I hoped Zoey would get answered is answered I did have an inkling as to the identity of Zoeys mother, and I guessed the identity of her father about a page or so before it was revealed.
Brilliantly written, and emotional read, happiness for some, death for more than one of the fantastic main characters. I found myself gulping and tearing up in so many places.

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