Raised by the Women’s Independent Territory Church (WITCH), Nel Zapur is a skilled sniper tasked to eliminate zombies. Never having once laid eyes on a man, she has been a prisoner in her tower for eleven long years. A fateful snowstorm leads a mysterious stranger to her window, and saving him may prove to be the best and worst decision of her life.
Special Agent Dane Prince was sent to gather intelligence on the WITCH, and his journey leads him to a mysterious tower in the woods. Snowed in with a virginal member of the feminist cult, Dane is determined to use the situation to his advantage. Not only will Nel provide him with the information he needs, she will also learn to submit to his every desire.
In all honesty I think this could have benefited from a much longer presentation. While the premise is certainly interesting, and its a different twist on the story of Rapunzel (or of surviving Zombies), Quan doesn't establish a firm enough grasp of the world before tossing everything helter skelter. Nel is an unreliable narrator and straight from the start it proves problematic because Quan has the story third person from both Nel's perspective and from Dane's. Nel is unrelentingly certain about everything, to the point that I wasn't sure why Dane put up with her. Dane meanwhile vacillated between 'Gonna shag her and get what I need' to 'Gonna shag her, get what I need and protect her' in a short amount of time.
I admit it was a novel experience to have the guy be the uncertain one. Regardless of anything else Nel has a plan, or at least a routine, to combat anything Dane throws at her (at one point Dane is grumpy about the fact she's all business all day and a seductress at night with nothing in between).
I was often confused by the world mechanics. Nel is sure there is nothing but her Sisters in WITCH, their Mother and lots of dead people. So Dane rocks her world. Okay. She's a straight forward better to tackle this head on sort of gal. Okay. Dane clearly is alive and nothing like Mother said so the logical course of action would be to...ignore this and instead just go about her business? And was she REALLY going to let herself freeze to death? She'd been stationed there for many years--nothing Quan said short of 'this is the first winter in the last decade' would have me believing that she didn't know when to call it quits.
The chemistry is good however and Nel takes to sex like a fish to water (which is only slightly weird given her celibate lifestyle and upbringing). Dane is more or less your typical guy--hot woman+passionate nature=lots of sex. Once he got over his moral quandary about shagging her and leaving her high and dry, he's actually very protective and nurturing. A bit fatalistic also (he doesn't see how he can get her away safely since he's not sure how he'll get away safely), but mostly encouraging of her independence surfacing.
I do like that in the end Quan shows us practical growth in Nel. I hope more is explained. Its all rather rapid fire let's hit the Happily Ever After button, so some of the loose ends (and world building holes) aren't wrapped up neatly. Still I'm interested to see what her next entry is!