The Pulse by Shoshanna Evers
Series: The Pulse #1
Excerpt: Yes (scroll down)
Emily Rosen lives in a military camp at Grand Central Station, where women sell their bodies to soldiers for extra rations. When she discovers a dark secret—that America is rebuilding outside of New York City, and everything the city’s refugees have been told is a lie—she escapes, the soldiers hot on her heels…
But Christopher Mason, a convict who broke out of prison after the Pulse, finds Emily first. Although he’s survived this long on the streets by looking out only for himself, Emily is beautiful, alluring, and impossible to leave behind.
Now Emily must convince this intimidating, magnetic stranger to be her guide as they journey out of New York and into the unknown. She’ll barter with her body, but sex with Mason can never be currency—it’s pure passion, and everything she desires. Despite the crumbling world around them, can Emily and Mason discover true love blooming in the darkest of places?
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Erotica isn’t my usual thing but I was so intrigued by the premise of THE PULSE that I had to request it on Edelweiss. I love a good dystopian, especially one that looks like it will tackle significant issues, like the despotism and lack of basic humanity that can emerge. And Evers does a good job of creating a very dark and depressing world. New York is run by a power-mad colonel who has built a society in which only soldiers live well, and not that well at that, unless you’re one of the chosen few. Women have been reduced to a commodity and are forced into the sex trade, which is extremely uncomfortable for me as a women, particularly since this already happens in the world. It’s a depressing post-Pulse world and it was just a smidge too real. I was very discomfited by some of the things that happen to the women in this camp, in a way that doesn’t usually happen when I read. I usually empathize but fiction doesn’t usually hit me this way. The behaviour of some of these characters made me quite sick (not literally but it was off-putting enough that I did put the story aside sometimes). To a certain extent, this is a credit to Evers’ ability as a writer, building a world that was truly horrifying, but it also made it really hard for me to like the book, particularly once I got further into it and THE PULSE started to feel like a story about unwanted sex and hardship.
Things for Emma get better once she meets Mason but there was still something very hard about their interactions, particularly at first when Emma feels she needs to perform sexual acts for Mason after he helps her. I’m sure it’s supposed to indicate how far people have sunk in New York but it did contribute to my discomfort.
As with any erotic novel, sex has a very large role in the story. It’s well written and very frequent, to the point that I felt the world and the “main” plot became secondary. I don’t read much erotica because I don’t like it when the sex becomes foregrounded at the expense of the plot. This wasn’t the case in some parts of THE PULSE but there were sections that were just page after page of intercourse, which didn’t help keep my attention, especially when there were these other factors making it challenging to stay invested in the story.
At the end of THE PULSE, I had really mixed feelings. There are some interesting plot threads and characters I came to like but also an overwhelming amount of sexual content, some of it quite heavy. I would only recommend this book to people who are looking for that type of content. THE PULSE is definitely not for everyone, myself included.