Review: Day 21

Day 21
Day 21 by Kass Morgan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

No one has set foot on Earth in centuries — until now.

It’s been 21 days since the hundred landed on Earth. They’re the only humans to set foot on the planet in centuries…or so they thought. Facing an unknown enemy, Wells attempts to keep the group together. Clarke strikes out for Mount Weather, in search of other Colonists, while Bellamy is determined to rescue his sister, no matter the cost. And back on the ship, Glass faces an unthinkable choice between the love of her life and life itself.

At the end of The 100, Olivia had been kidnapped by some unknown group of Earthborns, the camp had been attacked and Asher killed, and Bellamy and Clarke had left to go looking for her. Day 21 begins in the aftermath, with Wells trying to calm down his fellow Hundred while Graham is trying to instigate war on them. When an Earthborn is captured, the rift between Wells and Bellamy, who had mostly a friendship in the 100, starts to erupt. Meanwhile, on the Colony itself, Phoenix quarantines itself from other classes and this threatens the peace there. Glass chooses to go to Luke but her heart is still heavy with the guilt of condemning his best friend to death. In fact, guilt is a common factor among the leads – Clarke over Lilly, Glass over Carter, Wells over what he did to the Colony and Bellamy for Octavia.

For book that promises to be a ‘pulse-pounding sequel’, it did not make my heart race. The drama between Bellamy and Clarke and Clarke and Wells is getting old. Wells getting a new love interest was maybe the only respite. Glass and Luke are back together and we also get to see the vapid Glass from before. There were a few overused tropes in the story though – the I-tell-you-the-truth-and-you-get-upset, the ex-girlfriend-knows-your-secret, and honestly it had more potential than that. I expected it to be akin to Shades of Earth since both dealt with recolonization of a planet, but Day 21 was more focused on teen drama than letting us vicariously enjoy the thrill of exploring a new land. The danger is quite dampened by the romance, and though I loved the couples it does get a bit boring. The exciting parts again came towards the end of the book, and I was surprised out of a hundred convicts, only one was actually capable of killing. It was certainly a surprise who it turned out to be, but too little too late.

The other band of survivors, the Earthborn, also don’t show up much which makes me wonder why they even bothered with the warning killing. The climax was pretty anti-climactic, right until the last moment. It left me wanting for something more exciting because this wasn’t what I expected out of this book. It was a tad bit better than the previous but a letdown, simply.

Received an ARC from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers via Netgalley. This in no way affects my opinion or the review.

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Review: The Hundred

The Hundred
The Hundred by Kass Morgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the future, humans live in citylike spaceships orbiting far above Earth’s toxic atmosphere. No one knows when, or even if, the long-abandoned planet will be habitable again. But faced with dwindling resources and a growing populace, government leaders know they must reclaim their homeland…before it’s too late.

Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents are being sent on a high-stakes mission to recolonize Earth. After a brutal crash landing, the teens arrive on a savagely beautiful planet they’ve only seen from space. Confronting the dangers of this rugged new world, they struggle to form a tentative community. But they’re haunted by their past and uncertain about the future. To survive, they must learn to trust-and even love-again.

The 100 was a book on my TBR for quite some time and the fact that there is a show too got me interested even more. The basic premise of The 100 is the recolonization of the Earth after a nuclear event rendered it unlivable. The survivors who are now living in the space station/Colony are down on resources and want to recolonize the Earth. Not knowing how safe it is, they decide to send a hundred juvenile delinquents (quite loosely used because not everybody’s infraction was major)as lab rats and man, that makes me think what is it with dystopian worlds always going after the teens. What did they ever do to you? The Hunger Games? Teens being sent into death. Starters? Teens being used as dolls. In the future, being a teen is risky business, I tell you.

Anyway, back to the story – I had assumed it would be more on the survival. The three episodes I had seen prior to reading this certainly pointed to that. However, it is more on the characters and their demons. Around half the book is dedicated to random flashbacks, which on the screen, would translate wonderfully, but while reading gave me a headache trying to keep the timelines straight. Don’t get me wrong – I love when there are character back-stories. It gives them depth and we can understand where they are coming from. Clarke’s story was, by far, the most interesting. There are four POV and I found Bellamy’s the most interesting, though. There is something about the voice in which he is written that makes it just right. Glass, is somewhat boring with the rich-girl-poor-boy story and I hope her POV will be more than just letting us know what is happening on the ship. Lastly, Wells – the tortured lovelorn puppy – he doesn’t get a break. He kinda deserves Clarke’s hatred towards him but she is also a bit harsh with the ‘you kill everything you touch’. Overall, though, I feel Morgan made the characters come alive very realistically – I especially loved their reactions to the first sunset they see on Earth. It was beautifully written and makes you wish to know that kind of wonder.

The writing was good – I was so lost in the words I did not know when I came to the end of the book. The pacing was also perfect and I didn’t feel bored at any time. There was, however, a lack of action and the whole survival thing was not confronted adequately in my opinion. Firstly, how did all the teens survive without going into an anaphylatic shock (fancy word for allergy)? They had filtered air on the ship! At least one kid should have bit it because his body wouldn’t have been able to take up all the new allergens they face in a forest! There wasn’t a clear antagonist except the ones mentioned at the end – which makes me think the next one will at least devote a little more to their survival. So, while the book had good characterization and writing, I feel it lacked in some aspects like danger. It felt more like setting the story and while that is good, I feel you wouldn’t be really afraid for them until the end. 3.5 stars for this one.

Received an ARC from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers via Netgalley. This in no way affects my opinion or the review.

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New releases: Sep 14-20

The Infinite Sea (#2 in The 5th Wave)

Release date: September 16, 2014

How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.
Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.
Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave, #2)

Echoes of Us (#3 in the Hybrid Chronicles)

Release date: September 16, 2014

To change the world, I may lose everything
All Eva ever wanted was the chance to be herself. But in the Americas, to be hybrid—to share your body with a second soul—is not tolerated past childhood. Now Eva and Addie, her sister soul, are constantly on the move, hiding from the officials who seek to capture them. But the tide is changing. A revolution is brewing, and people are starting to question the hybrids’ mistreatment.
Then Marion, an ambitious reporter, offers Eva and Addie a daring proposal: If they go undercover and film the wretched conditions of a hybrid institution, she will not only rescue them, she’ll find a way to free Jackson, the boy Addie loves. It’s risky, and Eva will have to leave Ryan and her friends behind, but if she succeeds, it could also tip the scales forever and lead to hybrid freedom.
As Eva and Addie walk into danger, they cling to each other and the hope of a better future. But the price they might pay is higher than they ever could have imagined.

Echoes of Us (The Hybrid Chronicles #3)

The Anatomy of Dreams

Release date: September 16, 2014

“Human beings are more productive than ever before, but they’re also unhappier. They feel oppressed by the limits of their lives: the boredom, the repetition, the fatigue. What if you could use your sleep to do more—to receive all of the traditional regenerative benefits while problem-solving, healing, even experiencing alternate worlds?
Wouldn’t you be capable of extraordinary things?”

So asks Dr. Adrian Keller, a charismatic medical researcher who has staked his career on the therapeutic potential of lucid dreaming. Keller is headmaster of a boarding school in Northern California where Sylvie Patterson, a student, falls in love with a spirited classmate named Gabe. Over the next six years, Gabe and Sylvie become increasingly involved in Keller’s work, following him from the redwood forests of Eureka, CA to the coast of New England.
But when Keller receives a commission from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Sylvie and Gabe stumble into a tangled, dangerous relationship with their intriguing neighbors, and Sylvie begins to doubt the ethics of Keller’s research. As she navigates the hazy, permeable boundaries between what is real and what isn’t, who can be trusted and who cannot, Sylvie also faces surprising developments in herself: an unexpected infatuation, growing paranoia and a new sense of rebellion.

My review

The Anatomy of Dreams

Made for You

Release date: September 16, 2014

When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she’s confused—who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? And why? But before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her. While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old flame, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva’s power to keep her friends—and themselves—alive. But while Eva and Nate grow closer, the killer grows increasingly frantic in his attempt to get to Eva.

Made for You

ARC Review: The Iron Trial

The Iron Trial
The Iron Trial by Holly Black
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Release date: Sep 11, 2014

When it comes to the fantasy genre, boarding schools have been used so many times over – Harry Potter, Vampire Academy, Hex Hall – that you come to expect certain things. There is always a chosen one, there is a powerful enemy faction that needs destroying, etc. Magisterium, for the first half, clings to these tropes – in fact, I felt it was like the darker version of Harry Potter. Callum Hunt and other kids who show the potential for magic powers are inducted into the Magisterium at the age of 12 for training to control their unfocused powers. They pass each year and earn the metal on their cuff (similar to the beads in Camp Half-Blood) and there are five elements that they can use (similar to Vampire Academy). The fifth element, being from the Void, is dangerous to wield and only a select few can do so.

The prologue itself sets the story like you have it mapped in your head. Callum is so obviously the chosen one, or the dangerous one, depending on how you look at it. He is naturally going to pass the Iron Trial, though he doesn’t want to come to the Magisterium. The reason for his unwillingness is the fact that his father, a former mage, has drilled into his head from childhood that magic can only bring death and destruction. Naturally, Callum is wary of staying and fights it from the start. Magic school progresses – magical things happen, yawn! Callum’s sass is the only thing keeping you going here – because he recognizes the darkness in the school. But! The second half is the game-changer.

Clare and Black just smash all our preconceived ideas about how the book might progress and introduce the chosen one and the antagonist. I was left screaming ‘Oh my God’ in head, when that happened, (well, to be honest, I didn’t see that coming) and then during the climax I was ‘ooh, what will happen in the next book now?’. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what constitutes a good series – leave your readers wanting for more. The writing and the pacing, were, well, brisk, and at times, it felt rushed, but things slowing down in the second half plateaued the plot progression. The development of a bond between the three – Call, Aaron and Tamara, was expected but not realized until the time when Call volunteered to be Aaron’s counterweight. For a middle grade, this one packs a ton of feels, and I am just looking forward to how their friendship will play out with the plot of the book.

All I can say in conclusion is that – go read this, even if it feels like a Harry Potter redo. The book is good and I expect a lot from the sequel (fingers crossed).

Received an ARC from Random House Children’s Publishers UK via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion or review in any way.

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Review: The Girl and the Clockwork Cat

The Girl and the Clockwork Cat
The Girl and the Clockwork Cat by Nikki McCormack
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Feisty teenage thief Maeko and her maybe-more-than-friend Chaff have scraped out an existence in Victorian London’s gritty streets, but after a near-disastrous heist leads her to a mysterious clockwork cat and two dead bodies, she’s thrust into a murder mystery that may cost her everything she holds dear.

Her only allies are Chaff, the cat, and Ash, the son of the only murder suspect, who offers her enough money to finally get off the streets if she’ll help him find the real killer.

What starts as a simple search ultimately reveals a conspiracy stretching across the entire city. And as Maeko and Chaff discover feelings for each other neither was prepared to admit, she’s forced to choose whether she’ll stay with him or finally escape the life of a street rat. But with danger closing in around them, the only way any of them will get out of this alive is if all of them work together

Never judge a book by it’s cover and this one really fits the line. I wasn’t really expecting much when I went into the book, and even the blurb didn’t make it sound that interesting, but this book was pretty interesting. The best part of the book is, of course, Maeko (yay for POC protagonist) who is a street rat in steampunk London and gets into a murder mess through a half clockwork cat. Wait, it gets better – she delves deeper into the murder situation to help out the handsome guy whose father is accused of it, and because she wants to earn some money. As the story goes on, we discover she does it out of a sense of empathy and because she doesn’t want a family to break.

Maeko is a tough-as-nails heroine, and McCormack brings that into focus quite well. She escapes prison twice, fights off a killer, solves the murder mystery and helps out everyone, even though she is viewed with derision by most of the characters. I loved how the plot took some interesting twists, and though the villain was obvious from the start, the way the things played out kept me interested. What wasn’t interesting was the love triangle – I don’t get Chaff and Ash just seems smitten because she is different, I feel. Maeko’s backstory was constructed well, and it showed her motivations for doing things. The ending was left open-ended and since I don’t know whether this is is a standalone or not, I am a bit put off. Anyway, I give this 3.5 stars.

Received an ARC from Entangled Publishing via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion or my review in any way.

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Review: Shimmer

Shimmer
Shimmer by Elena Dillon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Chandler Raines and her “dad” are on the run. Never staying in one place for very long. It’s just not safe. When they arrive in Lafayette, Louisiana, Chandler quickly realizes this is the place she wants to call home. Friends, a cute boy, and competitive cheerleading have her taking dangerous risks to have the life she always wanted. Risks she promised she wouldn’t take.
When her lies catch up to her, a decision has to be made. Stay or run? Will the evil that’s chased them for the last four years catch up to them? When Chandler’s past comes screeching into the present she’ll have to sacrifice everything to keep what she loves safe. But will it be enough?

This book doesn’t suffer from the Sequel Syndrome, that’s for sure! Shimmer is in fact quite better than Breathe. In my review for Breathe, I said I found it okay and sort of average. But it seems the author improved a lot in this book. Firstly, the characterization and writing, though already good enough in Breathe, were better this time around. You get Chandler, a girl who is used to slipping in and out of identities from the past four years. She is on the run from her mom’s murderer and her ‘dad’ isn’t really her dad, but they both haven’t been in one place long enough to get caught by the murderer. Seemingly close to Breathe, but the character of Chandler is set in a whole different way.

Chandler can be be who she wants to be, and this time around she likes the town of Lafayette enough to mingle a little. Yes, the same Lafayette of Breathe, which means we get the characters from the first book too, just 4 hours years older! Say hello to older Lily and Caeden (boy, he grew up!) and Chandler falls easily into place with them. Caeden is initially a bit wary of her and behaves like a jerk, but eventually their outer snark with each other gives way naturally to a sweet relationship. She doesn’t tell him the truth like Jasmine, but keeps it to herself since hers is more damning. The plot of the murderer was slow to develop and most of the story was focused on Chandler flying under the radar, but I enjoyed the story this time around. Maybe not expecting a mystery worked in it’s favor – and the hints about the murderer were there earlier on anyway. Basically, it was more contemporary and I found Caeden and Chandler very cute together. Lily and Abby are best friends and such sweet girls – I liked how they immediately made Chandler at home. Finn was also around, and still intent on wooing Lily, just not by breaking her phone this time around ;).

Overall, I felt it was a good book. Things really picked up in the last quarter of the book. I loved how Chandler had a cool head in the situation, and the ending was very neatly resolved.

Received an ARC from Mark my Words Publicity via Netgalley. This in no way affects my opinion or my review.

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Review: Breathe

Breathe
Breathe by Elena Dillon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jasmine’s life wasn’t normal for a 16 year old girl. It hadn’t been normal since the murder of her older sister, Daisy, two years ago. Her life had been changed forever. The monster that murdered Daisy was never caught. That was the reason her family decided to move away from their hometown in Southern California, to start over. Hopefully in a place where the last name Rourke wouldn’t bring on staring or judgment or morbid curiosity.

In Lafayette, Louisiana things are quite a bit different but in a good way. Good manners, Cajun accents and a whole lot of Southern Hospitality all make her think things are going in the right direction. On top of that the most gorgeous boy she has ever met is interested in her. Her new friends are better than she could have hoped for even if she is worried about what they might think when they find out who she is. Life would be perfect if odd things didn’t keep happening. Creepy phone calls, texts, and flowers in her locker start adding up quickly to something terrifying. Could the Monster have followed them to Lafayette? Was he coming after her this time? Maybe she was just worrying unnecessarily…or not.

It’s been a month since I read any contemporary and the fact that this one is a mystery got me intrigued. Okay, so Jasmine is the sister of a murder victim – a serial killer’s murder victim, who never got caught. The murder of her sister itself causes enough upheaval in her life and now when after two years her family moves into a new town for a fresh start, she is ready to put it all behind her and move on.

Roughly the first half of the book is her settling into her life, though the fact remains that overall she and her family members are more wary now and almost paranoid about strangers. One such incident leads to a meet-cute with the love interest and she immediately starts crushing on him. Things are really looking up when she is asked out by him (who is quite a good guy) and she finally feels happier in this life. The past is still looming over her, however, when she starts to get messages from an unknown source. Her paranoia having a basis, she is afraid but refuses to involve her family into it. In fact, as a character, I loved that about Jasmine – she has multiple facets to her personality – she is the naive teenager, but brave enough to know when to speak up as well as very caring towards her loved ones. In fact, in a dystopia she would have been hailed a hero. For his part, Easton is also a good boyfriend, though his over-protectiveness (even though it was justified) grated on my nerves at one point. He is however a gentleman and kind of her knight in shining armor even though she didn’t need him to be.

As for the mystery, well, I wasn’t as much satisfied with it. Things didn’t really look up in the mystery department until 70% of the book (yea, I notice such things) and the ending was resolved but I felt some things were left unanswered. Like, who put those articles on the lockers? I’m sure it was Lisa but it wasn’t ever explicitly answered. Secondly, how did the hospital never find out that she was made unconscious, not became unconscious? Seems like a thing they would know, plus her flimsy excuses wouldn’t have ever made me believe it. So, in the contemporary department – it scores with good characterization and dialogue. But in the mystery – eh, not so sure with the somewhat okay plot and uneven pacing. I would give this a solid 3.

Received an ARC from Mark My Words Publicity via Netgalley for review purposes. This in no way affects my opinion or my review.

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Review: Deliverance

Deliverance
Deliverance by C.J. Redwine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Everything hangs in the balance, and nothing is certain: Rachel has been kidnapped by enemy forces and is being taken to Rowansmark while Logan, imprisoned and awaiting trial, is unable to leave Lankenshire. Separated from each other and their Baalboden comrades, each must find a way to achieve what they desperately want: to rid their world once and for all of the Commander and the tech that controls the deadly Cursed One.

Fighting through her pain and embracing the warrior she’s become, Rachel will do whatever it takes to escape her enemies’ clutches and join Logan in his fight. But when she learns a secret that changes everything, she realizes that escaping Ian and his tracker friends is no longer an option if she wants to save the people she loves. Instead, she’ll have to destroy Rowansmark from the inside out—if she can survive the journey through the Wasteland.

Logan needs allies if he wants to thwart Rowansmark’s power grab and rescue Rachel. But securing allies will mean betraying his beliefs and enlisting the help of the man he hates more than anyone: Commander Jason Chase. Driven by his fierce love for Rachel and his determination to make their world safe, Logan may be just the weapon the city-states need to defeat the Cursed One.

But as Rowansmark bears down and uneasy alliances are tested, will Rachel and Logan’s love for each other be enough to surmount the unbelievable odds against them?

Deliverance truly delivers a good finale to the Defiance series. At the end of Deception, I was afraid for how it will all go down. I knew it would all converge at Rowansmark, and a happy ending is to expected but the causalities are a fear every reader is accustomed too. And since Defiance and Deception had quite a death toll, and there was a war brewing in this one, I was truly apprehensive. I needn’t have worried though, with Redwine delivering (I will keep doing this, guys :P) a great finish to the series.

At the start of the book, Rachel is en route to Rowansmark, a prisoner of Ian while Logan is sitting in a Lankenshire prison cell, hatching a plan to go after Ian as well as take out the Commander camped outside the gates of Lankenshire. Running through scenarios, he knows he has to compromise somewhere, ally with his mortal enemy for the chance to get Rachel back. Rachel, meanwhile, is fighting tooth and nail to escape her captors. She is injured, which slows her plans but not her spirit. However, when she gets to know her captors and their plans, she realizes that bigger things are at play and her she will have to sacrifice her freedom to save her people.

The plot winds through the other city-states, with a new character in the form of Connor joining Logan’s inner circle and winds up in Rowansmark, where Rachel gets firsthand experience in how cruel James Rowan is. The ending is happy but the journey certainly is not – I was cringing each time the protags endured something so physically painful. Rachel learns to let go of her anger, to not follow down the dark path she was on during Deception. Where Deception was largely devoted to the emotional obstacles, Deliverance was on the physical ones too. Besides the main characters, secondary ones like Quinn, Willow and Frankie really shine. I was so emotional when Quinn declares Rachel to be his sister and Logan calls Willow his family – it was so leading up to that moment right from book one. Nice work, Redwine! Actually, a lot of events tie into the first book, which makes me commend this series for the splendid plot construction. And as always, the writing is perfect paced with the story flow, keeping you interested and invested all the time. This book goes on my favorites shelf, for sure!

Received an ARC from Balzer+Bray via Edelwiess for review purposes. This has in no way influenced my opinion or my review

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Review: Outcast

Outcast
Outcast by C.J. Redwine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Quinn Runningbrook knows a hundred ways to kill a man and make it hurt. He can track, ambush, and torture his prey with terrifying skill—just like his father taught him. But every kill consumes another piece of him, and Quinn longs to stop, to save himself and his sister Willow from becoming like his father—a man who kills for entertainment.

But when Quinn refuses to torture a group of trespassers caught too close to the Tree Village where his family lives, and instead kills them quickly, he disobeys a direct order from his father . . . and Willow is forced to do it instead. Suddenly, Quinn isn’t the favored apprentice to the family business of “protecting” the Tree Village anymore. Willow is.

When Jared Adams—a courier from the nearby city-state of Baalboden—is caught traveling too close to their borders, Willow is ordered to torture him for information. But Quinn knows that Jared doesn’t deserve torture or death. And he realizes he has to take action…or the fate chosen for Willow and himself by their father will remain carved in stone.

I almost forgot about reading this book and took it up while reading Deliverance. Though it is a companion and only gives the story of the events mentioned in Deception, I felt it prudent to read it before the end of the series *sob* and so I did.

Outcast’s story is of Quinn and Willow – when they lived in their Tree Village, apprentices of their sadistic abusive killer father, who only wanted to create another version of himself in his kids. Since Quinn, a boy of honor refuses to conform but too scared to say so, his father manipulates him by making Willow do the work. Basically, both siblings are being manipulated by their father to protect each other.

You see Quinn struggling hard against being a killer, Willow being fiercely protective of her brother and generally, the loving relationship between the two. Jared Adams is also an addition to the story, a fact I liked because we see him from an outsider’s view, not just from Rachel or Logan’s.

Highly recommended for fans of Defiance series – you will enjoy the writing and the characters.

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Review: Deception

Deception
Deception by C.J. Redwine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Baalboden has been ravaged.

The Commander’s whereabouts are unknown. And with a ragged group of survivors struggling to stay alive, it’s up to Logan to become the leader they need – with Rachel by his side. Under constant threat from rival city-state Carrington’s army, which is after the device that controls the Cursed One, the group leaves their home and takes their chances in the Wasteland.

But soon their problems intensify tenfold: Someone – possibly inside their ranks – is sabotaging the survivors, picking them off one by one. The chaos puts unbearable strain on Rachel and Logan, and it isn’t long before they feel their love splintering. And soon the group begins to question whether the price of freedom may be too great – and whether they can make it out of the Wasteland alive.

Now THIS is how a good dystopian book should be! Baalboden’s survivors on the run, crossing through the Wastelands while running from the Commander’s Army as well as trying to eliminate a threat on the group. The title obviously points out to a threat within the group, and is the major suspense of the story and while I predicted who it might be, I couldn’t have imagined the reason.

In this book, the protagonists Rachel and Logan are in the position of protector and leader respectively. It’s a 180 from how Logan was to be her Protector in the first book and now she is one who is his protector. Big win for strong female protagonists. While Logan is burdened with the responsibility of getting over a hundred people to the nearest safe city-state, as well as keep the Rowansmark tech out of the hands of the Commander, Rachel’s tribulations are more of the emotional one. We see her spiraling from rage to vengeance to apathy to grief – and her emotional journey is something that bonds you to her. She is this strong-seeming warrior, who constantly has to remember the guilt of killing a nearly innocent man, the guilt of being helpless to protect the ones she loves and her ever-burning vengeance against the Commander. Logan tries to get her to open up, but she sees the troubles he is going through and keeps it to herself. Logan, on the other hand, is plagued by self-doubt and constantly runs through scenarios in order to protect the survivors. The weight of those lives, as well as constantly having to prove himself, does put him in a position which makes him distant from Rachel but he tries. The moments between Rachel and Logan are sweet, and intense but flow well with the storyline.

The other significant characters from Logan’s inner circle, siblings Willow and Quinn are well-rendered. They don’t just remain secondary characters, and in fact we get their backstories too. Quinn especially is a big player in Rachel’s story arc, and he is emotionally close to her in a way Logan could never be. Now before you get thoughts of a love triangle, I am going to stop you right there and tell you to go back to the first line of my review. ;)

Overall, I loved how Redwine’s writing brought the story alive. It was a very intense book; enjoyment wouldn’t even be the right word to describe it. It was more close to an experience rather than an adventure, if you get my meaning? I wouldn’t even describe it as beautiful, but more like a feeling of home. In short, I loved it – each and every bit of it.

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