Review: The Retreat by Kelly St. Clare

Posted July 5, 2017 by Lola in Coyer, Dystopia, Review, Sci-Fi / 18 Comments


The RetreatThe Retreat (The After Trilogy #1)
by Kelly St. Clare

Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Dystopian/ sci-fi

Keepers of Earth.

One hundred and fifty years ago, global warming brought humankind to the edge of extinction. In a desperate bid for survival, four thousand genetically enhanced soldiers–the last slice of humanity–were sent to eight space stations.

To serve. To protect.

Then the Critamal arrived, uninvited. Waves of aliens now work to break through the Orbitos’ defences, the black-shelled creatures seeking to colonise the vacated and barren world.

War is their reality.

All Romy can do is fight alongside her knot and watch from the mocking midst of the stars as Earth rises and falls in the distance. She dreams of a different life–one free from the mark of death and the never-ending touch of loss.

Be careful what you wish for. . . .

When a technical glitch during battle leaves Romy and the four other members of Knot 27 hurtling through orbit towards Planet Earth, Romy knows they are dead one way or another.

If the crash doesn’t kill them, post-global warming conditions will.

Yet days pass as Romy wanders injured and aimless through the bush. Alone. Every second, every day she continues to breathe disputes what they have been told.

As Romy desperately searches for her knot, she comes across a grey-eyed man–a mysterious and close-lipped presence she is not certain she can trust. Especially when he shouldn’t even exist.

Secrets are unmasked.
A different version of Earth bursts to the surface.
Will Romy survive the betrayal and lies threatening to shatter her mind like glass?

Earth was ruined. Humankind destroyed. Or so they were told. . . .

Buy now to experience the first book in an action-packed, dystopian trilogy that focuses on the strength of friendship, the burn of betrayal, and the cutting corruption of power. Set in a realistic future Earth.

My Review:
The Retreat was a great read! If you’re looking for a great YA dystopian, that’s a touch different from most books in that genre this is a good book to pick up! After I read the first two books in Kelly St. Clare’s The Tainted Accords series I decided to give The Retreat a try as I was curious how she wrote the dystopian genre. I have to say that The Retreat is very different from the Tainted Accords series, but I did really enjoy it.

The tone of The Retreat is a bit dark-ish, it does have some typical dystopian features and you’re kept wondering who they can trust, who is speaking the truth and what people are hiding. It doesn’t have as much a depression feel as some dystopian books are, but more of a suspicious feel. Romy and her knot find out about something really big, something that shakes their belief and changes everything they thought was true and even after that they know people are hiding more things. They don’t get straight answers and you just know there’s even more they don’t know yet.

The beginning and the end of the book are quite fast paced, while the middle felt a bit slower. This isn’t a bad thing, but it was very notable. Something big happens at the start and then in the middle it feels a bit as if they are waiting for something else to go wrong, trying to figure out things and prepare for others. And then in the last 10 or percent the pace picks up, big things happen and we learn more about what is really going on. There are some nice twists and reveals. And the ending, wow, I am so curious about book 2 and what will happen next. It is a bit of a cliffhanger ending, but one that worked well in my opinion.

I liked Romy, she’s a nice main character. She cares a lot about her Knot and I enjoyed reading about the tight bond their knot had, they really are like a close group of friends that care about each other a lot. I liked reading about the dynamics in their group and I think Kelly St Clare writes these tight groups of friends really well. Romy is pretty sweet and nice and maybe even a bit naive and I felt so bad for her when she finds out what really is going on in the world and betrayal hits her really hard. She also has to deal with something difficult and I felt so bad for her she had to go through that. She also has an inner strength and determination.

From the side characters my favorites were probably her fellow Knot members, but I also liked Houston the quirky doctor. I only wish we got to see more of him. And then there’s Atlas, the love interest I think. To be honest I didn’t really feel the romance, but I think that’s also because of what’s going on in this book. With how you never know who is speaking the truth and just like Romy I was never sure if Atlas could be trusted and what he is hiding. The end does shed some more light on him and I am curious to see how things will develop in the next book.

As for the world building. This book takes place in the future, humanity has destroyed Earth with global warming and Romy and the others don’t know when they can return or what the conditions on Earth are like. It did feel all pretty realistic and thought out. I loved the scenes when Romy was in a unfamiliar environment and how she described and experienced everything, it was very well written and the author really conveyed well how strange all this was for her. I also liked the part that took place in space and I hope we learn more about the aliens in future books as well and what their motivations are.

To summarize: The retreat was a great read, I liked how it was a bit different from most dystopian reads. It was very well written and kept my attention. The beginning and the ending were pretty fast paced with lots of things happening while the middle was a bit slower and more small events and waiting for things to unfold. Which does fit concerning the story and it’s not a bad thing, but it was very notable. There are some nice twists and reveals and the ending really shakes things up and makes me curious what’s going to happen next! I liked the main character Romy who could be sweet and caring, but also had an inner strength and determination. I enjoyed reading about her knot, which is a very close group of friends and I liked reading about their dynamics. The world feels real and well thought out. I thought it was nice part took place in space as well. All in all this was a great read and with how the ending leaves things I am so curious about book 2!

4 Stars


You can also read my review on Goodreads and Amazon.

What’s the last YA Dystopian book you read?


18 responses to “Review: The Retreat by Kelly St. Clare

    • The characters are actually 24 I think and it doesn’t really read like a typical YA novel, but I think the author markets it as YA. There are a few teenage topics that play a role, but not too much. And the dystopian part was really well done. I read book 2 recently and it’s even better :).

    • I don’t read a lot of dystopians either, but I am glad I read this one as it was really good :).

      The slow middle wasn’t really a bad thing, but it felt very obvious with the fast paced start and end that the middle felt a lot slower.

  1. This sounds like a good conspiracy type of dystopian. I like that its different with them in space and fighting aliens and then she’s back on earth. Good to know about the book slowing down in the middle and having a bit of a cliffie leading into the second part of the story.

    Sounds great!
    Sophia Rose recently posted…Review: Bayou Moon by Ilona AndrewsMy Profile

    • It was nice with there being a space part as well :). I didn’t mind the slow middle too much, but I do think it’s good to know that going in. the cliffhanger was well done, but I know how some people like to avoid those. I read the second book as well now and it was even better :).

  2. I never seem to get tired of dystopians, and this one sounds great. I always like a dark feel and the idea that there’s more they don’t know. 🙂 Interesting too about the Earth being uninhabitable due to global warming and they’re sent up to space stations. That’s kinda cool.

    Glad this one was good. Love the cover.
    Greg recently posted…All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1)My Profile

    • I had this time when i read too many dystopians and then got kinda burned out with them, but I am slowly returning to the genre and picking up some books now and then. This was a great dystopian and I liked the original approach it took and it still deals with typical dystopian themes at the same time. I also really like the covers for this series 🙂
      Lola recently posted…Review: Starflight by Melissa LandersMy Profile

    • I really enjoy sci-fi books, although this one is more dystopian with a bit of space thrown in. It really was a great read. It sure would work well on movie or as tv series too!

  3. I’ve read quite a bit of dystopian books this year – but not so many YA… I like the sound of this one, Lola. Many thanks for sharing in your excellent review.

    • The characters are a bit older actually, around 24 years old I think, but I think the author markets this one as YA. It was a great read and book two was even better :).

    • It really was a great read :). And book was even better in my opinion. The world building was really well done and I liked how it’s a bit different from most dystopians out there.

    • I think this was my first dystopian of the year ;). I by now have read the second book as well and that one’s even better. It’s a great series so far 🙂

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