Sunset Rising

Book One

Fiction - Dystopia
469 Pages
Reviewed on 12/31/2012
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

S.M. McEachern (also known as Susan) has an honors degree in International Development from Dalhousie University. As an author, Susan combined her political and resource management background with her love of young adult fiction to create her debut novel Sunset Rising. In March 2014 she published Worlds Collide, the second book in the series. She just finished writing the third book, New World Order, which was released January 2015.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Molly Burkemper for Readers' Favorite

It is 2307, nearly three hundred years since nuclear war destroyed the Earth. Now, the only civilization remaining is the people of the Dome, a sealed refuge from the toxic radiation that remains. The people of the Dome live in luxury, but it comes at a great cost. Their survival depends upon the subterranean Pit, where Sunny O'Donnell lives. The people of the Pit were not meant to be in the Dome 283 years ago when the bombs went off. They had to make a deal to get inside to safety: they signed themselves over as slaves to the Dome, and they would each be killed, or Culled, at age 35 to prevent overpopulation. This is the world in which Sunny now lives. Through a series of events, she finds herself involved in the upcoming marriage between Jack Kenner and the President's daughter. When the situation goes sour, Sunny and Jack must fight for their lives, and for the lives of all who live in the Pit. Revolution is the only solution.

"Sunset Rising" is thrilling; there is no better word for it. It lures readers in with its fresh and tempting plot, and then hooks them with nonstop action that leaves them reading late into the night. The beginning doesn't do the rest of the book justice, but if readers allow themselves to be taken in, they will have a heart-stopping ride until the very end. Romance, intrigue, and action all come together beautifully here to create an experience that will leave anyone asking for more.

Midwest Book Review - T.

If I could give more than 5 stars I would! One of THE BEST dystopian books I've ever read!! The ease and imagery of S.M. McEachern's writing style is so captivating you are truly sucked into the story, without having it forced down. Sunny and Jack are so endearing and brave. The evolution of their friendship and his eye opening experience in the "pit" is such a wonderful experience. This book has it story, good vs evil, drama, suspense......definitely a book you can't put down!

In a nutshell: Sunset, "Sunny", is an urchin living below the "Dome." The urchin's are basically slaves to those born into privilege that live in the Dome. Things have been that way for nearly 300 years, since the nuclear bombs went off in WW3. Born in to their stations of life, the urchins know no different until Sunny is brought upstairs to the Dome because of her beauty and the need for "entertainment" at the future President's bachelor party. And THAT is where the story takes off on a roller coaster ride you will be glad you got on. If/When this becomes a movie....I will be first in line!


This Book was AMAZING! Unlike ANYTHING I have EVER read! I enjoyed this book thoroughly and am eagerly awaiting the sequel! The writer has done a remarkable job with the descriptive writing and the plot was out of this world AMAZING! I look forward to more of her books in the future! She is definitely up there on my top favorite list of authors! :)

The Plot:

Past Time: Year 2024

The World has crumbled! In the year of 2024, World War III has begun! Fighting for survival and searching for any signs of hope, a innocent group of survivors seek refuge with the Bio-Dome Government! But all is not as it seems! They have to pay a very high price for admission! They have signed over their lives and their unborn children's lives and all their other children to come after that! They had to sign a treaty agreeing to become slaves for the Bio-Dome Government and in exchange they were to be granted shelter and protection from the outside world and whatever food they were offered! They are living and breathing, but they are pretty much dead inside, and you could say they just sold their soul to the devil!

Present Time: Year 2307

283 years later Sunny O'Donnell is born into slavery. Forced to do what she's told, when she's told, if she wants to live to see another day! The citizens are subject to the cruel cruelty from the corrupt government called the Bourge! They are forced to do hard labor, while suffering from being beaten from the government! They are hardly given enough food and water to survive and are ALL killed off at the age of 35 prevent overpopulation! And to make matters worse the women are considered play toys and men and women in slavery will be beaten or killed for any reason the government sees fit! Things are not good for Sunny and the other citizens of the Bio-Dome and their in NO sign of hope! That is until Sunny ignited a uprising she did realize she was starting until it was too late!

Now tricked into a marriage and on the run from the Bio-government with her husband in tow and marked as a traitor, Sunny must figure out how to fix things before she is caught and put to death and made an example out of!

Doesn't that sound AMAZING??? Yeah, I know it was! :) This book is my one of favorite books of 2012!

So Overall I give this book an EASY 5 stars!


This was an exceptional read. Bringing something new to the plate, this book was very interesting. I was very impressed with the world-building, the characters, and the underlying theme: hope.

I'll be honest, this book shocked me. I was expecting it to be as good as it was. The characters were all very interesting and had their own personalities. Each and every one was important to the story in their own way, building up to the dramatic ending.

The romance, although not the main focus of this story, was wonderful in its own way as well. It wasn't forced or unrealistic. It was raw, beautiful, and sweet.

Overall, a great book. I can't wait to read the next one, especially considering how it ended!


Such a great read - didn't put it down until I was finished. Reminded me of a cross between The Selection series and the Red Rising series - an interesting cross without the descriptive bloodshed, including a sweet romance.

Sunset ("Sunny) an "urchin" whose ancestors lived under the Dome for 300 years dig coal and provide the essentials for the 'bourgs' living within the Dome, including the president, his family and the other important families that live under his dictatorship. Trusting in the President's daughter, Sunny's life changes when she accepts an assignment to help her people.

Her sweet and charming personality remain a strong factor within the story and while there are some inconsistencies (of how would she know of certain things while remaining underground her whole life), I enjoyed this book immensely and will recommend it to anyone who's looking for a great romance/dystopian mix that isn't as harsh as some other books out there (which I would still enjoy :)

Bayard West

Sunset Rising tells the story of a young adult born into a post-apocolyptical world where a pocket of survivors lives underground.

This story is told from a first-person perspective. Although not the most common choice, here it is done with such skill that it doesn't distract and the added sense of immediacy works well for this story.

Although the plot borrows an element or two from other works such as Logan's Run by William F. Nolan or The Penultimate Truth, it's not the focus of the plot and the story is fresh.

There is some question about the end. In a classic tale, there might be a build-up to a confrontation where everyone knows their enemies will be there. At the end of Sunset Rising ***Spoiler: none of the bad guys are dead or incapacitated. Although it could be argued that the protagonist's goal is simply to stay alive and she certainly does, there is no point at which she clearly "wins". Without that, the end seems to come abruptly. The protagonist turns one minion against their villainous boss and uses her superior vision to survive a shoot-out.

The author, editors and proofreaders have given this book a polished quality that the last couple books I bought in the store lacked.

Probably the most noteworthy feature of this book is the inability to set it down. Few authors can pull a reader through to the end as this one does. I'm not sure at what point I would have set this book down willingly, but instead woke up to find my Kindle face down on my chest at 4am, woke-up and finished in one sprint.

Jennifer Hiles

I cannot believe this book has been sitting in my Kindle since December 17, 2013. What a gem! I think I've been awake for 3 days reading because I couldn't put it down. I fell in love with the characters as only a good author can make you do. This is the first from McEachern that I have read and I can honestly say that I cannot wait to read more! This book had my heart racing, made me smile and even made me cry. Very impressed. Highly recommend for anyone who enjoys the Dystopian genre. I think it was under Young Adult but I'm in my mid-thirties and loved it.


Let me start off saying that this novel stole hours of my sleep. I could not put this book down. I thought I could just read for about 30 minutes before going to bed and I ended up reading till close to 1am each night. And even when I finally was about to put it down and go to bed, I couldn't stop thinking about it. Definitely addicting and I kept wanting to read more.

The beginning was a bit disturbing and I wasn't sure if I was going to like it but I gave it a shot and I'm glad that I did. For a free book (at the time) this was exceptionally well written. Granted, certain things were predictable with any YA Dystopian style book but the author was able to give us enough twists (especially towards the end of each chapter) to make you want to keep reading. Whenever I get a book for free, and it's part of a series, I typically do not buy the second book because I never want to spend the money or maybe the series isn't worth my money. But this series? I'm hooked. Already bought the second one and I can't wait to read it. The characters are well developed and the author makes you feel connected/sympathetic to their storyline and calamity.

For those of you who enjoyed Hunger Games and/or that theme of a dystopian future, then you will love this. One advice though: Do not buy/read this book during a week where you have deadlines or things to do. Nothing will get accomplished. I read it for 5 days straight whenever I had a chance even if it was only for 5 - 10 minutes of waiting for someone/something. Definitely a good summer book too for those of you out of school.

Kenzy Cook

I read dystopian books the way most people breathe.. constantly. To say I have a few under my belt is a serious understatement, and in all honesty they have became quite boring. But this was a breath of fresh air, it intrigued me an keep the pages turning continuously until the end! The characters were well rounded, likeable, and the story was a little unpredictable which was nice. (Usually by the second chapter I can tell you the ending!) Five stars wasn't enough for me to rate it to finally have a book that kept my interest again!!

Sarah Canning

Imagine not being able to feel the sun upon your face, or the wind caressing your skin. After World War Three in 2024, Nuclear Warfare forces 567 people underground - bringing a halt to a Democratic Government and forcing people to adopt a Dictatorial Government. Almost 283 years later, Seventeen year old Sunset O’Donnell has never been above ground and she's never been free. She will never be free, unless she rises up for what she believes in. But, she can't do it alone. One man, Jack Kenner, who has always lived freely, will take an extraordinary and unanticipated journey with her. They will, against all odds, fight for the freedom of an entire community of peoples, uniting them against an unjust and abusive Government.

I’ve always been a big fan of dystopian novels and have read a few interesting ones, but Sunset Rising is one of the best ones I have read. What makes it so remarkable is the realism illustrated in this story. It’s not incredibly far-fetched to anticipate Nuclear War and what that would mean for desperate people seeking shelter, fighting to stay alive. As a reader, I was hooked early on in the story because I kept on asking myself, “What would I do?” It’s almost too scary to think of in great detail because it isn’t an unfamiliar fear.

One of my favorite themes in this story is the possible love developing between the two main characters because, throughout the entire book, even as they are fighting to stay alive, the possibility of love overcoming all obstacles is always beautiful. I liked how the author, S. M. McEachern, didn’t allow the main character’s feelings for each other dominate the storyline. She tastefully and realistically evolved their relationship throughout the story, which not all authors have the ability to do. I’ve read too many books, where the main characters fall in love way too easily and have an unrealistic relationship, seeming forced and unnatural.

I am honestly glad that I gave this book a chance and look forward to reading more of what S. M. McEachern has to offer, including the next installation of this promising series.

Riley Finn

I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by this book! I would put it up there with the likes of other dystopian novels like Divergent, Delirium and The Hunger Games. I was impressed with the quality of the writing and had trouble putting this book down. I am eagerly awaiting the release of the next book!!!

Roberta Jean Vengley

Speechless. Okay. WOW! I have never been at a loss for words but I am now going to try to use some in a vain attempt to explain the overwhelming experience I had of being drawn into a novel so quickly and so wonderfully immersed in reading this gem of a book. I could not put your book down. Sunset Rising literally went everywhere i did. I skipped sleep. My computer went cold. I read instead of worked, and being on production pay meant nothing because Sunset Rising was well worth it. I skipped meals. I did not call friends and all calls to me went to voicemail. I skipped the holiday parties, did not play with firecrackers or sparklers or watch fireworks or the ball drop on New Year's eve or even toast the new year with champagne; all family traditions, and all of which did not matter while I was immersed in your engrossing novel and the gamut of emotions which overtook me. My experiences are all I have to try to explain how much I loved reading Sunset Rising and I wholeheartedly apologize for being so self centered about my own experiences that I cannot explain how wonderfully enchanting Sunset Rising is. I have never read something where I actually took the time to praise a book and author, but Sunset Rising has captured my heart and mind so intensely that I have to say I loved and adored Sunset Rising. My words seem so inept compared to the awe I have for this novel. Thank you is not even enough. Nope, I cannot come up with the words to do justice to the sparkling beauty of the diamond which is Sunset Rising.


I absolutely LOVED this book. I stumbled across it while on Amazon's Free Kindle Books. I read the description and decided I might try it. When I read the high reviews it was getting from others, I pushed it to the top of my reading list and started reading immediately. It was one of those books that I couldn't seem to put down. This book was adventurous and exciting, caused different emotions, and I thought was very well written and created. I was a huge fan of the Hunger Games series (even though I wasn't fond of book 2: Catching Fire) and I actually loved Sunset Rising more! I really hope the sequels do not disappoint. I am putting it on my top 10 list of most favorite books and can't wait to continue the journey with the characters in the next books.


First things first, love the Hunger Games series, and this just feels like its right out of the same dystopia ballpark. Okay, maybe I am not your average reader, I also don't mind Shakespeare either. Why am I bringing these two opposite worlds up? Because as the plot goes on, that what you will discover, a romance straight out of a very dear Shakespearean play with the action of Katniss and Petra. Just remember that there is also a life outside of the book once you start.


This book falls loosely in the sci fi category in that it deals with a distant future affected by technology and the stupidity of man. I enjoyed the story line up until the point it turned into a romance novel. It was hard to reconcile the two. I think the book would have fared better without the teenage angst of first love and lust. I was intrigued enough to buy the second book to see how it ended. Its not a bad book. Just be prepared for the overwhelming mushiness which interfered with the interesting part of the story.


Fun dystopian read. I can't wait to see what happens next. If you like Veronica Roth, you'll like this. I'm glad I tried a new author.


I love, love, loved this novel!! I'm a huge fan of post-apocalyptic fiction and this exceeded all of my expectations. Civilians seek shelter from the impending nuclear war at the government's self-sustaining bio-dome. The price of their safety is their enslavement to the `elite' ruling class. The novel is set several hundred years after the nuclear explosions, following a young teenager Sunny O'Donnell who lives in `the pit'. She finds herself an unwilling participant in the political scheming of the ruling class, which in turn sparks the flames of rebellion.

I read it in a day, I was literally unable put it down. I cannot wait for the second novel in the series!!


Wow! What an amazing book! I couldn't put this book down. As global nuclear war devastates earth, a large group of civilians storm a bio-dome that has been previously prepared for military and government officials. The Dome wasn't large enough to handle the additional people so the civilians are reluctantly forced to become mining slaves to purchase a place inside. Two hundred and seventy three years have passed when we meet Sunny, a "pit" slave. Life is brutal for her and the other slaves. They are regularly beaten and abused by the "Domers" and "culled" or exterminated when they turn 35 years old. Through a surprising turn of events, Sunny's destiny becomes intertwined with a Domer, Jack Kenner, who is different. They challenge their beliefs and the governmental system as they run for their lives.

I am shocked this is this author's first book. It is excellently written, fast-paced, and loads of fun. I highly recommend this story to anyone who enjoys post-apocalyptic fiction. It reminded me of Jeanne DuPrua's The City of Ember, but even better! I would rank this book up among some of my other favorites in this genre, such as Suzanne Collin's works, (such as The Hunger Games and Gregor the Overlander) and Neal Shusterman's Unwind.

Ramez Issa

No spoilers.
This book truly blew my mind. It is pure GENIUS. At first, I thought it would be another boring dystopian novel. But as I got into the book, it sucked me in and did not let go. I finished this book in under two days because I could not stop reading.

The general idea of the book is that since WWIII has occurred, the air is radioactive. Hundreds of people force their way into a structure that will help them live. The bad part is, everyone except the so called "government" are bound to a treaty which is otherwise known as slavery. People live in terrible conditions underground, are beaten if their work is not done right, and have limits to everything. Including age. Hundreds of years later, a teen named Sunset is caught in the middle of a situation between the brutal president's daughter and her fiancé. Sunset finds herself the hero of her people down in the Pit and the people are starting to rebel.

Hunger Games fans will by thrilled to have a new book on their hands. I NEVER compare books to the Hunger Games, but this book is definitely worthy. This book is as good, if not BETTER, than the Hunger Games. (Sorry Suzanne) Yes, I went there. Dystopian lovers MUST read this book.