My Love Life and the Apocalypse – Book Review

Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“For the end of the world, Earth was looking pretty damn good.”

WOAH. What have I stumbled upon here?! It’s been a long long while since I’ve read anything sci-fi related, but I warmed to this book straight away. The characters, the world building and the description was perfect. In fact, everything was perfect. So happy to be sharing my review for My Love Life and the Apocalypse!

About the book

Planet Earth Sucks.

Humans have gone and cities are empty, looked after by bots.

But not all robots are machines. Echo is part-human, his heart ruled by an unreliable E-Mote chip which means he’s pretty much a normal boy surviving on canned beans. Living his best life.

Then a space-pod crash-lands in his neighbourhood with a girl on board. Pandora.

She’s his last hope, and apparently he’s hers – if they really are all that’s left alive…

The beginning

After just finishing the TV adaptation of The Last of Us and absolutely loving it, I needed something to scratch that apocalyptic itch. My Love Life and the Apocalypse was a perfectly timed read for me, the start of the book sucking me into a world we probably wouldn’t recognise if we saw it. Echo is the first main character we’re introduced to, and he’s quite a unique guy for a number of reasons. After an E-Mote chip was lodged into his brain, and whoever put it there had broken his memory bank, he’s basically become the only bot with human thoughts and feelings, plus he can’t remember anything from before. All the other bots are just that. Bots. No emotions. No feelings. Nothing. Echo really was one of a kind. Imagine if this was you; how isolated would you feel?! Echo seemed much more carefree than myself though and hopefully this personality would keep him sane in a situation where others would go mad.

The opening chapter was one of the most informative introductions I’ve ever read. How I went from having no clue about this book to thinking I was living in this post apocalyptic world filled with bots was completely bonkers. The description of this world and everything in it was just faultless. And I mean it was perfect. So involving, so detailed. We learn so much in such an easily digestible way, and I’ve no idea how the author has done it if I’m honest! I loved how humans did still exist… somewhere. They were safe, and the plan was that they’d be reawakened when the time was right and when Earth became more habitable. Well, that was before a bolt of lightning hit a weird streak of light in the sky and was heading straight for the centre of the city… The author writes all this in a way that I absolutely adored. My curiosity was already at its peak, and I had no idea what would happen next. I just couldn’t get enough of any of it!

“I rolled over, listening to the cicadas chirp in the night, and tried to believe that it wasn’t just us left, that there was a point to our journey. I had to believe we weren’t alone on Planet Earth too.”

We’re then introduced to our next main character, Pandora. Her introduction was explosive…in more ways than one. She’s strapped in a pod and is preparing for imminent death as she hurtles through the sky. I don’t think I took a breath throughout the whole chapter due to how tense and on edge I felt! Of course, Pandora had to survive this, but I wondered at what cost. The author really brings all her characters to life in a way that feels so natural and so effortless, and their personalities really stuck with me! I loved that even though Echo and Pandora had never met before now, they trusted each other. Well, I guess they had to. They were the only human thinking beings around…and there was danger lurking. Aside from dangerous deformed creatures and uncertain surroundings, there is such wonderful humour injected in all the right places; it made me feel right at home. The book so far perfectly balanced the light and the dark moments, filled me with hope and a thirst to jump into an epic adventure with two utterly lovely characters. And we were only a few chapters in!

With a plan to find Pandora’s father and her friends (and some decent clothes, maybe a bit of food) it was clear we’d soon be exploring so much more of this world, and I genuinely couldn’t wait! Echo and Pandora begin to develop a friendship, and maybe there were stronger feelings that neither of them (especially not Echo) could understand right now. It was CUTE. The more we learn about what happened to humans, about what happened to Pandora’s pod gave me hope for the human race, but there was still so much left to uncover, so much to learn about this place and its inhabitants. The more I read, the more I really appreciated Echo’s humour. It was perfect. He was so funny and constantly made me smile when he tried to make jokes or blurted out 90’s references or film quotes that Pandora just didn’t understand. They were such a lovable pair that I couldn’t get enough of. They were so different, but maybe that’s what made them so well suited. ARGH, gimme more!

The middle

Throughout the start, we’re given subtle hints that Pandora was someone pretty special. Someone well known, perhaps. Or at least, she was before all this “end of the world” business. I had fun thinking about this more, toying with the idea that she could be some form of royalty or something! I couldn’t wait to find out what it was and if her true identity changed anything. When Echo and Pandora are finally ready to set off into the unknown – along with Gort, the helpful bot that Echo found annoying, but I found rather delightful – you can tell Pandora is starting to settle in her new surroundings and opening up a little more. I loved her. Every conversation, each bit of dialogue, all the detailed description of a world so unlike what we’re used to made my imagination run wild. Even though the adventure had pretty much only just begun, I was having the time of my life. I don’t even think I’ve said that about a book before! It was so fun, so intriguing and so full of wonder so far, and I knew things would just get better.

Echo and Pandora’s relationship develops at the perfect pace and the author has perfected the sci-fi/romance balance so well. It’s a mash up of genres I don’t think I’ve ever read before but I think it’s my new favourite kind of YA fiction! I think it’s rare when an author can write so well in such different genres, especially in the same book, and the deeper I got into this story, the more clear it was that this author was just in her element. It wasn’t just all this that made this book so excellent, however; the book also covered so much more than I could have imagined. How the world was suddenly crumbling and spiraling out of control. It was here in the book where we really understand who Pandora is and how she lived (whether she liked it or not) and I really felt for her. Whether she’d ever tell Echo the truth, I wasn’t sure! It was awful thinking of a world with no power, burnt rainforests and food rationing. Pandora’s flashback dream chapter scarily brought everything to life for me, and it was written to perfection.

“Ten minutes ago, I was putting on lip gloss. Now I was squeezing blood out of my clothes.”

There were a few surprises along Echo and Pandora’s journey, some of them dangerous and unpredictable. After not seeing any other human for however long it’s been, the sight of a few unfriendly faces at first was both terrifying, but welcoming in a way – especially after thinking they were the only ones left. It was sooo good getting to know even more characters and to learn more about this world and what the future held for them all. We also got that bit closer to all the answers Pandora had been seeking. It was a relief to hear about the New Republic of the People – a seemingly safe place filled with other people. HUMANS! But did Echo feel the same? I was constantly amazed by how this book was evolving, how much there was to discover. I loved how this community had been built and how they’d been self sufficient for so long, with Echo never realising they existed before Pandora crash landed. It was all just blowing my mind! But something was quite unnerving about the place. Were they truly safe here?

I love how adventurous and curious Echo was; he seemed to need answers just as much as I did! I enjoyed reading about him sneaking around, scoping out what was going on after hours and seeing how he could speak to the Chief without getting caught. It was super dangerous for him and who knew what would happen if he got caught. But before they could move on with their journey, they needed answers. Even though these two characters were quite the opposite, there were certain traits they had that were similar, causing them to disagree and fight for what they believed was the right thing do do. But… what was the right thing to do? The development of Pandora in particular was so well written; I loved how she felt she had the confidence and bravery to put her foot down and speak her mind when she needed to. There is so much passion in these characters and they were such brilliant characters to follow. After being pretty much forced apart before they’d completed their journey, I wasn’t sure what life would hold for them now.

The end

Pandora worries about Echo; their disagreement causes Echo to take a step away. But where was he, and was he safe? We still learn so much about the time in the twenty first, and Pandora even manages to get two characters to change their mindset about synths like Echo; people like him weren’t really welcome in a place like the New Republic of the People. The things we learn, the discussions we become a part of made me think about this book even when I wasn’t reading. I became so engrossed in this way of life, how different the world had become that I just never wanted it to end! There was one piece of information that could be so crucial to how Pandora continued with her journey – news of another potential pod crash site – something which was hugely exciting for me and could be completely life changing for these characters. Would Pandora’s curiosity get the better of her? Would Echo ever return? The story, even at this point, continued to be so compelling, so full of wonder and intrigue that absolutely anything could happen.

After I’d grown so attached to Echo throughout his and Pandora’s difficult journey, I became a bit nervous seeing him in trouble. Surely he was strong enough and knowledgeable enough to worm his way out of this, but there were some dangerous people around. Who knew what they were capable of! It isn’t long before Echo, despite the danger he feels he’s in, has the opportunity to find out more about his past, which was super exciting for me as we don’t know that much about it. And neither does Echo after he had his memory messed with. I think a story following Echo’s early life would make an awesome prequel, just sayin’. It’s difficult not to give any spoilers here, but what I will say is that I wasn’t prepared for the emotion. I wasn’t prepared for the decision Echo chooses to take here. I understood his reasons, but it didn’t make it any easier! I still wasn’t sure if he’d go down this path or if it was all talk, but just the thought of all this, of all these important decisions had me feeling all the feelings.

“Three years with no answers and up rocks this dude with everything I’ve ever asked. Seems a bit of a convenient coincidence if you ask me.

I didn’t think I could be more impressed with this book, but when we see what Pandora discovers at this point in the story, I was gripped more than I’d been before! What a twist in events! I think I made some sort of surprised noise that made my dog look up from her snooze, but good lord, it was so exciting, so shocking. But was Pandora any closer to finding her father? We catch up with Echo, just moments away from a completely life changing moment, and he also had a really exciting time with an important job to do. I could feel things escalating, becoming more tense and suspenseful, and I just knew we were at the start of an action-packed finale. Each scene, each conversation played out so clearly in my mind, and I was suddenly so aware of how attached I was to these characters and how much I cared for them! Even though I had no clue how the final chapters would go, I absolutely couldn’t wait to see how all Echo and Pandora’s experiences had shaped them, how their journey would affect their futures.

There are some horrifying truths and moments where I thought everything had gone so badly wrong. But there were also moments of relief, of happiness and of hope in those final chapters. As a result, my emotional self returned and I ended the book with a tear in my eye and a huge craving to read about life after all this! The ending was absolutely mind-blowing. I was so incredibly sad my journey with Echo and Pandora had ended. I felt like they’d truly become my new fictional friends, and I can 100% see myself rereading this one in future. Even after finishing this, I found myself wondering where these characters would be now, how much further things had developed. It was definitely very scary imagining how we’d all cope with something like this in our lifetime! I loved this book so much – it’s definitely one of my new favourites. If you’re a lover of YA fiction, or if you’re looking for something a bit different to your normal go-to genre, this is it. Please give it a chance – you won’t be disappointed!

Overall thoughts

My Love Life and the Apocalypse is a clever, thought-provoking post-apocalyptic read, (wow, what a mouthful) with a sweet, gentle romance between two very lovable characters. The world Melissa Welliver has created is one of the best I’ve ever read, even though reading about a dying world filled with bots was pretty scary. The description made everything come to life and feel so incredibly real, each chapter was so captivating and awe-inspiring. Everything just worked. Welliver weaves the fun and the adventurous side of her characters with the surprisingly dark side of a crumbling world, and it works even better than I could have ever imagined. Echo and Pandora felt like my own friends at this point and it was very difficult to close the book on that ending chapter! Perfect, perfect, perfect. Definitely recommend to everyone!

HUGE thanks to the author, Melissa Welliver, and lovely Liv at Chicken House for my copy of this book! You can grab a copy of My Love Life and the Apocalypse for yourself right now over on Amazon or wherever you buy your books. Make sure you’re following the author over on Twitter and Instagram for updates!

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