Awakening (Children of the After, #1)
Summary: Six months ago, Jack's father locked him, and his two younger siblings into a security bunker in their apartment and told them to "stay in there as long as you can". And he never came back. Now it's been as long as they can, they've run out of food, the power is becoming unreliable, and the water tastes funny. So with no idea what's outside, it's time to open the door.
This was a kindle freebie, and it's a decent read. The pacing is pretty good, the characters are reasonably believable and the author has done a good job of differentiating between action-man jock older teenage brother Jack, thoughtful gothy younger teenage sister Sam, and grade-schooler Will, giving them distinct voices. The novel does switch POV between the three, although only rarely giving the same action from different POV's, so it's not redundant.
In particular, for a male author, Laszlo has done a really good job depicting Sam. She's a little philosophical in that oh-so-self-important way only teenage girls can really pull off, wavering between trying to be motherly to youngster Will, and screaming like a little girl at occasionally the wrong moments, mourning the loss of twitter before remembering she has no friends to tweet to any more, and obsessing hilariously over her hair and make-up even when sleeping in a pile of boxes in an abandoned convenience store walk-in. I realise that made her seem very shallow, but she's also the smart, practical one, who often has the smart ideas and keeps the group together and moving forward in as good spirits as they can manage.
Once the kids are out of the bunker, they are faced with a destroyed city, and no idea what happened, who did it, or if anyone else survived it. Their first couple of days are a bit of a mess, as they trek through the ruined city, trying to get to a place that was always safe in their childhood, and hoping it might still be so.
I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that they had no idea what was going on, or if they could trust anyone they met, if they should meet anyone. Youngster Will insisted it was monsters, Jack that it was a war, and Sam thought it might be aliens, so they compromised on a war with alien monsters. By the end of the book, they still don't know - and neither do we.
It does end on a cliffhanger, of sorts, but I'm considering picking up the next book in the series, once it's complete, so I can read it through if I still like it.
Relatively well-edited, compared to most of the tripe out there. Only one instance of jewel-eyes and checking ones-self out in the mirror, and it's right up front in the first chapter. (Also, it pains me that I feel I need to mention these days, when a book is readable, and fairly typo and grammar-snafu free, but, that's the brave new world we're living in.)