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(Strain #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,778 ratings  ·  312 reviews
In a world with little hope and no rules, the only thing they have to lose is themselves.

Rhys Cooper is a dead man. Cut off from the world since childhood, he’s finally exposed to the lethal virus that wiped out most of the human race. Now his only hope for survival is infection by another strain that might confer immunity. But it’s sexually transmitted, and the degradatio
ebook, 1 edition, 375 pages
Published February 17th 2014 by Riptide Publishing (first published February 15th 2014)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  1,778 ratings  ·  312 reviews

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Jenni Lea
Dec 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing

This ain’t your mama’s love story!

This is dystopian fantasy at its finest. It’s dark. It’s intense. It’s gruesome.

It’s devastatingly beautiful.

The story is woven into a pattern that is complete fantasy yet somehow utterly believable.

I was captivated.

I was stunned.

Such amazing depth to the characters, even the secondary ones. Each one of them flawed, each distinct, each so incredibly real.

The storyline, the action sequences, the dialogue, they all held me in thrall. I eagerly anticipated gettin
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
**3.5 stars**

Well that was something different!

While I like me some kinky sex, I don't like dub-con or non-con, I don't usually like the darker reads, and I'm certainly more of a fan of monogamous relationships than menage or partner-sharing. With all of that, I was expecting to have some issue with the sex content of this book. However, that ended up being my favorite part of the story. Huh. What I ended up having issues with was the the characters themselves. Who've guessed it!?

I'll start by
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Reread from 9/5/15-9/9/15.
Yup, still enjoyed it. Can't wait for the sequel!


Men are most complex, because we think with two heads.

That's what I thought reading this book. I will go more into that later, but "Strain" was exactly how my pants felt while reading.


In this post-apocalyptic world, a viral plague has swept the world as the result of a biological warfare gone wrong. The result of this are the creation of superhuman soldiers (named Jugs, short for Juggernauts), the termi
Emma Sea
Never have I a read a book that so highlights the anguished relationship I have with my enjoyment of rape fics. Make this M/f and I'd be having a conniption fit.

Seriously, people. Rhys has to be gangraped for 8 weeks or HE'LL DIIIIEEEE. This is so much wrong. An Antonov full of wrong. Yet rarely, if ever, have I been so turned on. There is something very, very amiss with me and I should not be allowed to mingle freely with the general population.

And then I cried my way through the end of the bo
Jan 31, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
DNF at 64%

That's it. I just can't take it anymore.

Where the hell is this story going?!

Rhys is a 19 year old teen who spent his teenage years in hiding in a monastery after a zombie apocalypse destroyed society as we know it.

However, the 'zombie' virus is actually a bio-weapon gone bad. And wasn't it ridiculous how the scientific background of the virus was designed EXACTLY to justify the torture that Rhys was supposed to go through in this story...

There are several strains of the virus. The orig
I am fine by the warnings, but not stories that romanticize violent and abusive relationships. Rapefics are rarely love stories. Entirely subjective and in-depth discussion to follow.

The novel follows the experience of Rhys Cooper, a young man exposed to the virus that is turning humans into “revenants” (i.e., zombies), and the squad of soldiers who take him on and offer him a chance for survival. Survival comes with a caveat, however: the virus Rhys must contract in order combat the first can o
Lilia Ford
Terrific. I had my doubts about this because I’m not a zombie fan, and I considered the set up really risky. TV writers sometimes use the phrase “coinkydink” to refer to an overly convenient set of conditions, in this case a deadly virus that can only be cured (possibly) by having as much sex with as many people as possible. I’ve read a bunch of Evangeline Anderson stories with a similar idea—e.g. a demon who must have tons of oral sex with a woman or he’ll implode; a vampiric alien who must bit ...more
Feb 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is one of the those books that I wanted to think about before writing a review and now I feel like time is stealing it away. The feelings are evanescing.
"Who you fuck and how you do it has jack shit to do with whether or not you’re a decent guy."

What I liked:
1. The Journey format
2. Sizzling kink

What I didn't like:
1. The Yo-yo conflict Rhys takes us on
2. Poor judgement about another character creating the main conflict later.

All of this is made more complicated and enriched by the disc
Dec 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, kindle-archive
I received this book as an ARC through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

I have to say that I really enjoyed this book, but I also think enjoyed is almost the wrong word. It is a dark, often hard book. The relationships aren't pretty, or sentimental, or really all that romantic. People come together out of necessity, out of situation, and out of convenience. There is a huge age gap between our main characters. There are elements of non-con, dub-con, and hard kink. Elements that would h
Feb 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing

One of my favourite sub genres within M/M Romance is Post Apocalyptic novels, I love the raw grittiness of them, where life is stripped down to baser instincts and the most intrinsic and essential need to just survive becomes paramount, mix that with some D/s power exchange and BDSM elements, throw in a slow burning, intense and extremely erotic relationship between two MC’s and I’m ecstatic. Especially, when the author does it all to perfection and Amelia Gormley did just that, she captured my
To all the Vanilla Priscilla’s considering this one. Don’t. This is not your romance story; it’s not a pretty story. Post-apocalyptic stories rarely are but this is really not pretty, and I’m on the fence about how I feel about it…

This premise intrigued me - intimidated me even. Would it be a plausible plot or simply a clever device for porn with purpose I wondered? On one hand it works, explained away by science and on the other, it doesn’t, but not for the reason you think, and I’ll get to tha
ETA: it's funky. Aspects of Strain had me suppressing the urge to gag (ill-excused bukkake heavy multi-partner fest) whereas there were other parts that had me reading open-mouthed with my heart pounding in my throat (topnotch D/s, rough sex and humiliation). Which goes to prove, I think, that few books have left me so conflicted as this one.

Hello dissociative identity disorder!

Heather C

Heather can go dark when she wants to!

First, let me give you a little bit of back story on how I came about reading this book.  Months ago, in Atlanta at GRL 2013, I had the opportunity to hear the author read an excerpt from the book (Chapter 3), and before she could even finish reading the excerpt, I was already searching the Riptide website on my phone.  Let me tell you how upset I was when I saw that it wouldn't be releasing until February 2014...a whole 4 months away!

Second, if you know me

Hmmm, this sounds good!

This book won't be for everyone. If you do not like the following -

Dubious consent, rape themes - just grey areas around sex in your reading. A D/s power exchange relationship that is not built on safe words but need for survival and...more I can't discuss

Truly dystopian books - not romance books that pay shiny lip service to the end of the system we now know, all while everyone is comfy

Lack of sweet love and romance throughout. I'm not saying that people don't care,
~ Lei ~ Reading Is An Adventure ~
ETA: Reread 4/2018 because I read Juggernaut and it had been four years since I read Strain. Juggernaut helped to fill in a lot of the details about how the Bane virus affected the world which enhanced this reread (Juggernaut was published after Strain even though it's a prequel). I still stand by my 4-star rating.
Thought-provoking in that way of was the end result - Rhys surviving worth his endurance? Dubious consent at best, non-consent at worst. Rhys could endure as long as his an
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2014
Maaaaan, what did i just read? This book needs more tags to it and it also needs to be about 300% less rapey. I mean there's dub-con and then there's this it's like reading a car crash you know you should just stop reading it but you're like...ok let's see where this goes...let's see how these actions will be justified...and guess what they never are. The whole plot is, you get the D or you die that's it...that isn't what i thought this book was about, so it's probably my fault for reading the b ...more
♣ Irish Smurfétté ♣
Working for a life in a dying world you’re trying to save… on Prism Book Alliance


Ok, barely a dozen pages in, I was hooked and that thing was dug in deep. My. Kind. Of. Book.
By the beginning of chapter three, I had that ever present inner grin when fully engaged in what someone does with words like this. Even into a dying, nearly dead society, with survival almost as the punch line. This punch line, though, has some bite. His name is Rhys. His name is Darius.

X-Military -- check
Quite simply, this was one of those stories where all sorts of superlatives could be thrown into the hat for the writing alone..... outstanding, superb, fantastic, exquisite, fascinating; however, add to that the highly imaginative storyline and all the descriptive words used by the author to convey the bleakness and despair of this dystopian world, and the nightmare existence its survivors have to endure and you have one of those stories that comes along once in a blue moon.

I fell in love with
Overall, I’ll say I enjoyed this, with a few notes about what didn’t work for me in a bit. The world is a tumultuous place in this novel, with a man-made Alpha virus making superhumans and the mutations from Alpha, called Beta and Gamma, causing either Rot (death) or changing humans to Revs (similar to zombies but not actually dead). The superhumans have to find any survivors and quarantine them but each side lives a very lonely, desolate life.

This is how Rhys Cooper and former Army Sergeant Da
Eden Winters
This review was originally posted on Cryselle's Bookshelf.

From start to finish, Strain by Amelia C. Gormley was a non-stop, unapologetic journey through darkness and into, if not light, then the pink-around-the-edges promise of dawn.

Kudos to the author for taking a risk on a volatile subject and giving us front-row seats to every possible angle, and some of the best, well-drawn characters I’ve ever encountered in fiction. Although the POV switches between Rhys and Darius, our main couple if you
Leta Blake
Feb 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The last 20% of this book, especially, is really damn amazing. Obviously, all of it is good, but around the 75-80% mark, I started having that feeling of, "Oh, God, noooo. I've just gotten completely involved and invested and now it's almost overrrrr." That's one of the best and worst feelings, isn't it? Because there's never enough book left at that point.

I'll admit I had a few niggles about emotional continuity, some logistics, and a few other things, but then I have to ask myself, "Leta, whe
Jason Bradley
The world building and character development in this story were phenomenal. The author's writing style was smooth and rhythmic so that I could sink into the movie playing in my head and forget I was reading a book. And the sex? WOW! Yeah, good stuff.

Only one thing messed with my movie, and even that wasn't enough to lower my rating.

(view spoiler)
Kaje Harper
Feb 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
In a dystopian future, viral bioweapons have escaped containment and almost wiped out human civilization. An isolated young man is attacked by infected zombie-like Revs and at the last moment is rescued by a group of immune soldiers. But for his rescue to actually work, his recent exposure to the Revs' bioweapon viruses has to be counteracted by exposure to the immune one of the soldiers. By sex, over a period of weeks. With multiple men in the rescue group.

The set-up for this story felt slightl
4.2 stars for being absolutely filthy. This was a great read, very dirty and self-indulgent. What I would call 'smart smut'. Set in a future dystopia where a horrific virus has turned pretty much everyone into cannibalistic monsters, the author has created this complicated explanation for why huge super soldiers need to basically gangbang a 19 year old survivor in order to save his life. Something to do with engineered mutating viruses (to be honest the virology was a bit dodgy). Anyway, it was ...more
My first thoughts and primal reactions:


The Earth has not been the same since a virus infected the population and turned people into revenants.


Some years have passed and isolated groups have managed to survive. Rhys lives with his sister and three more humans in a monastery until one day some revenants find and attack them.


Rhys would be dead if not for the Jugs’ intervention, leaded by Darius.


Unfortunately, Rhys and the other survivor, Jacob, are infected by the virus, the Beta or Gamma strain,
Ije the Devourer of Books
I read this a few weeks ago and didnt write a review because I didnt really know what to say. This story was just not one for me. I thought the writing here was good but it wasnt what I expected. I thought I was going to get some kind of sci fi story but I didnt enjoy it.

First of all there were just far too many dub con/non con/rape scenes. I am not going to try and define these scenes, all I know is that there were just too many. I have read stories which feature rape or some kind of sexual vi
Sep 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Pixie by: Adrian Fridge
DNF’d at 61% - Dubcon is actually worse to me than Noncon and this is why…

Everyone who knows me knows my bio dad was an abusive fuck. I remember being sent to live with him when I was 12 because my mom was going to Desert Storm and there was no one else to take me. We both knew it wasn’t the greatest scenario but well…I’d survive, you do what you have to do. Several months in I remember a teacher approaching me & saying she thought something was going on at home and if I only told her she could
Vanessa North
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Review to come, once i've gathered my thoughts :)
Ashley Williams
Nov 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m
What a dirty, filthy, exciting, interesting zombie book!!

I really enjoyed reading Strain, it was a different sort of read, but totally kept me on my toes! There were a wide variety of smexy scenes ranging from vanilla to hard-core s&m. And though the theme of the book revolved around sex as a treatment for the disease (yes I did say sex was the cure!!!), it wasn't, for me, the forefront of the book. It kept me flipping the pages the whole time.

I loved the post-apocalypse-zombie-ish setting that
May 2020
So, I finally got around to reading this. I wouldn't have picked this book up if it weren't for a challenge, but it fit a certain criteria and this was an opportunity to decrease my on-hold list.

I don't often even want to read post-apocalyptic books but, maybe because of our current circumstances, this book held my attention.

Original review - Sep 2015
Dropped at 22%.

I'm really not in the mood for something like this right now. Maybe I'll finish it at a later date, and maybe I wont.
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Amelia C. Gormley published her first short story in the school newspaper in the 4th grade, and since then has suffered the persistent delusion that enabling other people to hear the voices in her head might be a worthwhile endeavor. She’s even convinced her hapless spouse that it could be a lucrative one as well, especially when coupled with her real-life interest in angst, kink, social justice i ...more

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Strain (2 books)
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