Something a little different today, I’m going to be reviewing this entire trilogy of science fiction romance novels — Off The Grid by Alyssa Cole. This series is set in modern times and the first book, Radio Silence, starts out a couple of months after the electricity goes out. No one seems to know what’s going on as there is no communication from the authorities. After holding things down in the city for a while things start to get dangerous as law and order breaks down so Arden and her roommate John decide to trek up to John’s parent’s place, a secluded house in the country. When they get there they find John’s brother Gabriel and his sister Maggie but their parents left the previous week and haven’t come back, they all fear the worst. Sparks fly between Arden and Gabriel but will they get over their immediate dislike of each other to explore their chemistry? Well, of course, this is romance! 😀
These are first and foremost romance novels, and Alyssa Cole does her thing here playing with romance tropes while keeping things fresh and new feeling. Besides the amazing chemistry between the couples in each book (really, Alyssa Cole is like the master of chemistry in romance novels–all that UST just sparking right off the pages) I really loved the family dynamics between the siblings and also the friendship between Arden and John. Arden and Gabriel’s romance was fantastic and one of my favorite set ups with people misunderstanding each other right off the bat and then, having come to know each other better, falling in love. It’s kind of the classic Elizabeth/Darcy set up and I am alllll about it. I also loved the sense of tension that she created with the uncertainty of the situation–the power has gone out and no one knows why. They don’t know if they world’s been attacked by aliens or some country or if it’s something else. There’s an underlying fear that works really well.
Each of the books focuses on a different sibling and each romance is a little different–something I really appreciate because romance can get so formulaic (it is, after all, the only genre that demands a certain kind of ending so you always know what to expect to some extent). The second novel, Signal Boost, takes place a few months after Radio Silence and focuses on John. There still hasn’t been any communication about what caused the power to go out or if the government is still functioning. Society has been left on its own for the most part and John’s family is making do as best they can, living off the land and their dwindling supplies. Can I just say how much I appreciated this book? I read a lot of romance series that focus on a group of friends or siblings, but they’re always all straight romances! It’s so great to have a mix of different kinds of romances within the same series because, well, isn’t that how life is??? Thank you, Alyssa Cole! I really loved John’s romance, it was very sweet. But also this book gives us a lot more info on what’s happened in the world and why the power went out, some things that have been happening with the government. I really appreciated all the science in this one!
The last book, Mixed Signals, features Maggie and her romance with a family friend. This one takes place a few years after the last one. Maggie is going away to college (the first school to reopen since the power outage) and while things are still a bit unstable, society is trying to make a new normal. I loved the set up in this one for the romance. ‘My brother’s best friend’ is also a romance trope I’m a fan of and it’s done really well here. I love that we see Maggie coming into her own here, trying for the college experience even though things are far from the way they used to be. I also love how she makes some new friends and has to learn not to just instantly judge people. Sometimes people aren’t who they might seem on the surface. I also loved the world building in this, the way that society has broken down and groups have formed seems pretty on point.
Each of the books have a good mix of action and romance. They sometimes deal with darker things–trauma, assault, sexual assault, etc–but they are ultimately romances so even if there are some dark things you know that things will turn out okay for our characters in the end. Overall, I really loved these books and read them all so fast because I just couldn’t get enough of them. 5/5 stars.