Dating in the Apocalypse: Sarah the One: Meet the Apocalypse's Most Eligible Bachelor
Imagine it: New York City. Abandoned. Scalped. Cars ablaze with the fury of a thousand marauders. A quick-witted, sharp-dressed man with a few off-key mannerisms and more than just a reputation as a bachelor. A cool, calculating mother whose name rings out as a beacon of hope. A leader and a selfless act to save her people. Battles. Sacrifices. Kept codes and broken promises. And…your neighbor Bob?
Christopher John Chater’s Dating in the Apocalypse: Sarah the One thrusts you into this world from the first beat to the last period. The story begins when you join Tom Collins, the aforementioned very-single protagonist, flirting with a woman on the run from Marauders. Within seconds (or so it felt), she’s captured by Daryl, one of many human traffickers in the Apocalyptic Big Apple. From there, the story and world unfolds around you as you follow Tom to his mother’s place, where a choice encounter with Lady Sarah takes Tom on an adventure of a lifetime.
I was thoroughly impressed with both Chater’s worldbuilding, writing style, and pacing in this first-of-six novel series Dating in the Apocalypse. Multiple times throughout the piece I both felt present and connected to the civilization salvaged from the rubble. I could feel the emptiness and surrealness of the concrete wasteland all the while Tom and the others dodged bullets, fought baddies, and uncovered more clues to the mysterious Sarah. Chater’s fast-pacing kept my eyes glued to my screen for the entirety of the novel with a few well-placed pauses for important exposition, meaningful connection, and yes, some flirting.
There are a few points, however, that seemed rather shoe-horned into place. For example, the early exchange between Lilith (Tom’s mother and famous owner of Lilith Collins Couture) & Tom seemed a bit choppy or didn’t necessarily flow with the rest of the story. One instance in here was when Lilith revealed an important family secret to Tom, who himself stood aghast at its revelation. While it might fit within the full context of the characters’ relationship (one built on years of trust and dependence), it seems a bit forced from this reader’s perspective.
Secondly, I’d be lying if I didn’t cringe a few times at some of the choice words Tom has as he flirts his way to more information out of Lady Sarah. As a personal user of bad puns (C.D., my business partner, and his wife Kim can attest to this), I understand that these and similar mannerisms can be an alluring, possibly charming personality trait. But I did not necessarily pick that up from every line Tom used to intentionally or unintentionally woo Sarah. One might think “the apocalypse’s most eligible bachelor” would have a bit more than his .50Cal, his smarts, and some bad pickup lines.
With that said, I would still highly recommend Sarah the One for the whip-crack speed, enticing (yet cheesy at times) dialogue, and great worldbuilding. I was impressed by how much Chater fits within roughly 41 pages, both in the scope of storytelling and character building. I’m excited to continue reading the series and hear more about Lilith, Lady Sarah, Tom, and Dating in the Apocalypse.
Writing: 7/10. The solid writing is only dragged down by some choppy points early and a few arguably cringe-y lines from Tom. Otherwise, fast-paced and well-written.
Characters: 8/10. I felt connected to the main characters and enjoyed the sense of humanity conveyed by the author when describing both the pre- and post-apocalyptic wants, needs, and desires of each.
Setting: 8/10. While we only get a small glimpse of the overall world within this first book, the author does a great job of laying out the many settings within the cities.
Plot: 9/10. Two important aspects of first-in-a-series novels are sprinkling just enough information on each page to keeping the audience’s attention and locating the mini-arcs within the major storylines. The author does both of these things well.
Overall: 8/10. Receiving four stars, I’d recommend Dating in the Apocalypse: Sarah the One for anyone who likes fast-paced thrillers and settings in the post-apocalyptic universe. The book deserves every star!