Friday, January 7, 2022

Sunrise by Susan May Warren

Sunrise by Susan May Warren

The first book in a new series by Susan May Warren!

Let’s begin with the summary:

Coming home was never the plan.

Pilot Dodge Kingston has always been the heir to Sky King Ranch. But after a terrible family fight, he left to become a pararescue jumper. A decade later, he's headed home to the destiny that awaits him.

That's not all that's waiting for Dodge. His childhood best friend and former flame, Echo Yazzie, is a true Alaskan—a homesteader, dogsledder, and research guide for the DNR. Most of all, she's living a life Dodge knows could get her killed. One of these days she's going to get lost in the woods again, and his worst fear is that he won't be there to find her.

When one of Echo's fellow researchers goes missing, Echo sets out to find her, despite a blizzard, a rogue grizzly haunting the woods, and the biting cold. Plus, there's more than just the regular dangers of the Alaskan forests stalking her . . .

Will Dodge be able to find her in time? And if he does, is there still room for him in her heart?

And now, my review:

Oh, you’re going to feel chilly reading this novel set in Northern Alaska, but you won’t feel bored!

I call Susan the queen of first lines. Check this out: “By the time Dodge got to the hospital, he’d already broken his first promise.” So good. Hooks you, doesn’t it?

We have SEALs; hot-headed heroes; strong, independent, survivor heroines. What’s not to love?

The hero had a falling-out with his father a long time ago. This makes for an awkward homecoming, but he faces it. Generally, he’s the type to go into denial, to dodge the truth. A fitting fatal flaw since his name is Dodge.

The heroine’s lie is that everyone you love leaves. That makes her doubt they ever loved her at all. She may feel her voice is an echo back from the expanse, without a response. Fitting since her name is Echo. She’s described as having put herself back together, following a betrayal, with anger. I’ve known people like that. They’re edgy and determined, gritting their way through—just the strength she needs to take on the Alaskan wilderness.

Susie uses symbolism throughout, like how tagging a bear teaches them they’re not quite free anymore, which could symbolize how people’s wounds/traumas rob our innocence too.

As a reader of Susie May’s novels, I liked seeing familiar characters peopling this one. It’s comforting, like visiting old friends. Her descriptions are layered and original. Like this: “The stars came out slowly, arching over the nightscape, the moon an eye, tracking her.” (location: 342 of the ARC) Or this: “A shard of compassion separated him from his frustration.” (location 1876 of the ARK)

There were a couple of melodramatic moments in the early copy I read, and some places lacked transitions, leading to confusion, but overall—a very compelling, well-written story with layered characters, prose, and plot.

This is book one in her Sky King Ranch series.  

Highly recommended!