Hardcover, 564 pages
Published February 26th 2013 by Balzer + Bray
Kira Walker has found the cure for RM, but the battle for the survival of humans and Partials is just beginning. Kira has left East Meadow in a desperate search for clues to who she is. That the Partials themselves hold the cure for RM in their blood cannot be a coincidence—it must be part of a larger plan, a plan that involves Kira, a plan that could save both races. Her companions are Afa Demoux, an unhinged drifter and former employee of ParaGen, and Samm and Heron, the Partials who betrayed her and saved her life, the only ones who know her secret. But can she trust them?
Meanwhile, back on Long Island, what’s left of humanity is gearing up for war with the Partials, and Marcus knows his only hope is to delay them until Kira returns. But Kira’s journey will take her deep into the overgrown wasteland of postapocalyptic America, and Kira and Marcus both will discover that their greatest enemy may be one they didn’t even know existed.
I wasn’t as blown away by the first installment of this dystopian series as I had hoped to be. I thought it had been interesting but hardly presented anything new in the way of a dystopian world and setting. I also wasn’t really keen on reading the sequel but for some reason (also known as Wendy Darling) I picked it up and decided to give it a go. I’m glad I did so because the sequel blows the first one out of the water as far as plot and narration are concerned.
We still follow the core characters and there are a group of them which is great as it spaces out the conflicts and makes the omniscient point of view the novel is written in seem very natural and apt. There is just enough interiority present to anchor us to the characters narrating the story but not so much that you become stuck on one character and want to stay with them. The conflicts are complex and I like how issues of morality are thrown into the mix – survival of one versus the other. Kira also faces some tough choices and questions of her own identity keep on resurfacing as she tries to find a balance between the human nurturing she has been given and the Partial genes in her DNA.
There is also a character present, a human, whose existence I am not sure the narrative needed. I am not sure why Wells chose to introduce him into the story because he didn’t have much of a role – unless his existence is just to add more tragedy to the mix which we really didn’t need. One of my friends is writing her thesis on environments in dystopian worlds as presented in children’s lit (or near enough) and this novel provides a fascinating look at that. The utter chaos of the wars is reflected in the shattered cities and the poisoned land Kira and her friends travel through.
I also liked the diversity of the characters present in the novel. This book is action oriented and it really works in this genre. But at the same time, there are moments of intense internal conflicts which helps buoy this novel and sets it apart from the many other dystopians floating around. Wells presents a world that gives a glimpse of what our reality and our future could look like. There is no one villain here but circumstances and greed and capitalism all combined to break the world.
There is a little bit of romance present. The love triangle is there but not wholly formed. It is difficult to think about feelings when you are running for your life. But I liked it like that. The novel ends on an interesting note and I wonder how the last one in the trilogy will unfold.