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.