This story is about a rookie researcher, who was forcefully dragged away from his restful life, compelled into facing various killers and zombies, always having to risk his life at the brink of death, and finally becoming an advanced researcher that is acclaimed by all. And throughout his adventure, he met an alluring(?) killing machine, who he started to have fantasies on after they had an accidental kiss… Xiao Yan: Did I fall for him? But he’s a man! Maya: Who knows…. maybe it’s the other way round?
There is a lot to unpack here, oh boy. The story didn't have a unique idea nor take on the apocalypse genre, the story mostly lies within the two main characters' relationship and its progression throughout the apocalypse which is unique and different in it's own way.Though, it is disappointing that the only real antagonist is another organisation, humans fighting other human in the apocalypse just lead to self destruction. Fighting the ongoing zombies seem more in theme with the apocalypse, though the twist wasn't unappreciated just a little aggravating and stupid for me. There are many plot twists and layers in the story, it really makes you be suspicious of everything, if it's real or not? Are they trustworthy? I know now that I have trust issues because of this, most of the time you don't know that it's an illusion or reality which plays with your feelings on how the story will work out or how the characters will move past this. There are times where it surprised me with it's realism, the advice, motivation, logical explanations, the reasoning behind actions, even though this is a Sci-Fi novel. The world building is amazing, not too much where everything is explained in great detail, but enough to understand how things work and flow with the characters as well as take liberty's as to how you see fit. Now with the characters, another can of worms. (Some characters may have different names, depending on the translator.) Xiao, the main character, is a well developed character. He has his flaws which hinder him throughout the story, he's a pushover and gets used at times not to mention oblivious to emotions, but he has his moments. His character development was well deserved and satisfying at the end, at times you think "wow he's gone so far." He is totally a different person but not unrecognizable, he does what he needs to and more, achieving his dreams and goals while becoming more than what people thought of him. Heine, the main lead, is like most male leads. Cold and indifferent, however, everything he does there is layers behind, even if you don't understand at first. Yes, some of his actions are extreme but considering everything, he has to do what he has to do. A well thought out character and very complex, especially when we see him express his feelings. I really enjoy the character actions between these two, (the sex part infurated me but I understood alot after I read.) even the times where Xiao was oblivios to Hienes emotions and, I'll admit it infurated me, but after knowing what I know it made sense why it took so long, why there is doubt and fear. This is a story that needs to be reread or thought out to fully appreciate its entirety. I can fully say that this relationship is one of my favorites, even with the minor bumps in the beginning. The villain was the typical crazy lunatic, and not many layers to him, he has a goal and will stop at nothing to achieve it. Nothing more needs to be said about him, the author really makes you dislike him. As for side characters, they all have their unique personalities and characteristics, not as complex as the main, there is depth to them, but not inferior in uniqueness as the main. The second main lead, Jane, was also complex with a lot going on, you feel the same complex feelings as the main character when you see him. It's a roller coaster of feelings with him, but you love the author's effort to flesh out these characters. It's not just Jane that gets fleshed out, usually the characters that repeatedly appear. Which brings me to another topic, I don't like how the author uses these really well developed characters then throws them away, they're only there to develop the plot then never appear again. Even in the end most characters don't get closure, such as Lily, General Xia, and Sharon. They appear for a short time and then leave. Other than that the characters were great and their interactions were phenomenal, you can see how close the characters are now and the changes in d'minor. Overall, I loved this story, I wouldn't mind reading it again. The pacing was really slow in the beginning, and it really dragged on. But, it added charm to the story, some parts make you wish they just realize, or just communicate. However, there are reasons why Heine didn't tell him and there are reasons why Xiao didn't realize his feelings or Heines when it was obvious. The more you read the more the puzzle pieces fit, why the characters act in a way, the actions.Truly magnificent. We see Xiao grow and develop, which was so satisfying to see. To see Heine and Xiao get their own happily ever after. I do wish we get to see more of the side characters in the end, just to see what there up to, but I suppose it's up to the reader to decipher what happens next, there are hints throughout the story that tell you how each character will be with and do after everything calmed down. The problem I have is that some actions are really see through, such as who the traitor is and who the Surge (different name depending on translation) is after, why are the characters acting dumb and oblivious to these obvious things. And why was only Xiao able to help with humanity? Wasn't there other people to make the same conclusions? Everything also went perfectly after Xiao became a researcher, developing everything that we need, and rather quickly too, seems too unreal, but I suppose that's just how it is. The other proplem is the rape part, I don't condone rape nor do I support it, and the sex scenes were not safe and not done probably. I don't think they should have gone into detail about sex because it was not done properly. But after reading 'Stray' review on the book explaining everything I grew to love how complex everything was, don't judge it at first glance, I can see it wasn't just the ML being horny there was more. I suggest you read it before you read the book so you'll understand, If I didn't I would have dropped the novel and never experienced such a masterpiece. The review you should be reading before the book: https://www.novelupdates.com/user/158198/Stray/ Go to the 'Reviews' tab to see it. there is only one review on there.
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