In Reid’s debut horror novel, an unstable young woman gets in touch with her inner survivor—at the expense of the entire human population.
Jeanie has come to Paris with her best friend, Ben, to celebrate the New Year and a new beginning. She's mourning the recent death of her father and hopes her French friends will help her move on and embrace life. Instead, at midnight, the power goes out, and by morning, Paris is engulfed in a fiery apocalypse. Jeanie and her friends fight their way through the city trying to find salvation, along the way adopting an orphaned newborn who gives them hope and the strength to survive not only earthquakes, but also the mysterious moribund, undead vampiric creatures who feed on both emotions and human flesh. Reid makes liberal use of the end-of-chapter cliffhanger, and the novel moves compellingly at first, driven by the mystery of both the creatures and the origin of the devastation as well as graphic descriptions of Paris in flames. Ultimately, however, the story loses momentum and human interest. Reid’s thematic insistence on “fate” feels instead like “boredom” as each character meets his or her expected end. The end-of-world imagery (rising temperatures, etc.) and monster creepiness cancel each other out.
Watching Paris burn is oddly sentimental, and the heroine has teeth, but by the end, it’s all just too exhausting.