Wednesday 10 April 2024



Title: Evolving Anarchy
Dark Nation
Grace Hamilton
Relay Publishing
Release Date:
10th April 2024

There’s a thin line between trust and survival…

After an EMP plunged the world into chaos, Deb found herself joining a group of hardworking survivors. At first, she’s grateful not to be alone. But her hopes and dreams soon become a nightmare, when she’s left in charge of a group of runaways, fleeing from Mike, the brutal man who kept them captive.

Mike is determined to reclaim Carol and her baby, and to wreak vengeance on Deb for taking his family away from him.

Meanwhile, Carol’s newfound freedom has come with a dark price… Staying off drugs was easy when she didn’t have access. Now, she finds herself torn between her desire to be a good mother, and the addictive cravings that still haunt her.

When Deb learns that her ex-husband Colton and Carol’s children are nearby, she’s determined to reunite with them, in the hopes that there will be safety in numbers.

But with Mike hot on their tail, safety may be one more fleeting dream…

Goodreads Link

Once again, the cover fits well with the rest of the series and could easily be a scene captured from within the book.

In this book the characters from the last book, Deb, Carol, Bobbi and Jonah are on their way to try to find Carols sons who they have been told are living in the area Carol used to live with them before the EMP. Carol has changed a lot from the addict who could only think about drugs, who left her sons to fend for themselves whilst she went in search of her next fix. Now Carol is pregnant and has been clean for quite some time and desperately wants to put things right with her sons and hopefully make it up to them in this new world they are all surviving in. However, Carol isn’t stupid she knows that there is the chance her boys, now grown young men will want nothing to do with her at all, still, it’s a chance she wants to take. When Deb, Carol, Bobbi & Jonah see the market place set up they are surprised by how many people are milling about but are soon sought out and told they need to register at the school for food rations etc. The group are naturally reluctant to do this as it would leave a paper trail as to where they are if/when slaver Mike catches up to them. The group do discuss telling the settlement leaders/security about Mike but after the way they speak to Carol as if she is still an addict the group come to the conclusion, that they need to keep quiet or face the probability that they will be thrown out before they can find Carol’s sons.

Meanwhile Mike is driving what is left of his group hard in an effort to find Carol. Though it is the baby she his carrying that he really wants. Marie is getting closer to Mike and he admires the way she handles his men and keeps them in line for him. IT becomes apparent that Marie has romantic feeling towards Mike too. Its not long before Mike has everything planned out in his head, he needs to get Carol back, get the baby, discard Carol and play happy families with Marie at his side.

With no food ration books, Deb, Carol, Bobbi, and Jonah have to be creative with what they have to barter for what they need to survive. Though Bobbi cannot resist bartering for what is considered a luxury when she sees a little hat and bootees, she immediately begins hatching a plan to barter work etc in exchange for them so she can give them to Carol as a gift for the baby. I felt sorry for Carol returning to her old home only to find it partially burnt out. It was heart breaking the way she held onto the photographs of her boys when they were younger. I did wonder if she was going to lapse into her old addict ways when she found her old stash of pills in her old house, but I kind of understood why she didn’t tell the others about the pills. I guess she was testing herself and then when she uses them to trade on the black market, it turns out she was right to keep hold of them.

Bobbi sees Scarlet and Zack at the market, instantly recognising Zack, and cannot resist approaching him. Sadly, she isn’t the only one who instantly recognises Zack when he sees him and its not long until Mike has Zack held hostage. He sends Scarlett with a message for Carol to turn herself in to him, in exchange for her son’s release. It takes a combined effort to face Mike in a rescue attempt.

By the end of the book, Carol, Deb, Bobbi and Jonah do have somewhere to stay but they’re not sure how long for as with Mike still out there, angry at his losses, still wanting Carol for their baby and looking for revenge will anywhere ever be safe. Carol still isn’t on great terms with her sons, though Zack did warm to her and was protective over her when they were in danger together. Deb is also feeling uncomfortable facing her ex-husband, Colton, who it seems has a child, something he told her he never wanted.

I really enjoyed reading this book, I loved being reunited with Molly, Colton etc and the little community that has been built up. I adored the interaction between the two brothers, Tommy chopping wood, pushing himself despite still not being fully recovered and Zack tentatively trying to help his brother without taking over or making Tommy feel useless in any way. This group of characters are happy with the life they have created together, they are moving on with life as best as they can. You can’t help feeling that there is going to be someone coming along to complicate things very soon. I suppose in an ideal world, Carol and her group will come along and fit right in, but there’s old hurts to be contended with, Carol’s old addiction and neglect of the boys, the fact they are being chased by a slaver with a grudge. Then there’s the fact Deb’s ex-husband Colton is living with and created a family with Molly. I am interested to see how the situation will play out, can Carol’s boys forgive her, or will her group be moved on before there’s chance of a reconciliation because of the threat of Mike returning? Will Mike ever give up on getting Carol back? I think the only way that situation will be resolved is if one of them is dead!

I really love the different plots that are going on, there is so much potential for what is to come from the rest of this series. Such as Mike the slaver, and the other slaver groups that were moving closer to the community and would need to be dealt with soon, though Carol, Deb, Bobbi and Jonah’s arrival has brought this potential problem higher on the list of the settlement’s priorities. Then Carol and her boys reuniting, how will Tommy and Zack react to her, can she even convince them she is clean now? Then there’s a hint of unfinished business between Deb and Colton, how will this affect Molly? What is Mike going to do next to get Carol and his baby? Is there a greater danger to the community now? Is it time Carol, Deb, Bobbi and Jonah just stopped running from Mike and gather allies to face and defeat him once and for all? Then, there are the “normal” once everyday dilemmas to be worked out, pregnancies, illnesses, relationships and community dynamics. I honestly can’t wait to read more of this series.



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