The siren screaming through Hilo, 16-year-old Leilani’s hometown on Hawaii’s Big Island, is her first warning of coming catastrophe. But she and her father stick to their planned trip from Hilo to Honolulu, where she is to undergo tests for her epilepsy. They fly to the island of Oahu, and that’s when the world veers off course: The president appears on television in a frightened state. Satellite and electrical networks collapse. Commercial airline flights cease. At the same time, Leilani is having epileptic episodes filled with visions of ancient Hawaiian gods.

When the military begins to corral people into makeshift camps, Leilani and her father realize that they must find their way back to Hilo on their own. Thus begins their desperate, horrifying struggle to return home, island by island.

Recommended for fans of Graham Salisbury’s evocative Hawaiian historical thrillers, Austin Aslan’s debut novel, the first in a series, is an action-packed adventure, rich with details about Hawaii’s geological diversity, cultural hostilities and ecological crises.


This article was originally published in the August 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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