so this book and i went on a journey together. let me just say straight-up that pure was one of my favorite reads of last year, and a totally unexpected surprise. at first, i thought “ho-hum, another dystopia marketed to look like a YA book but i will read it because i read books, and i can read it for free, so hooray.”
reader, i loved it. and i was so captivated by the premise and the characters and the grippiness of the plot. and i was so over the moon when i got an ARC of this sequel. and i thought i had a good handle on my memories of the first one. i remembered many scenes vividly (the mark of a great book), and i thought that would be enough to dive right into part two, blissfully.
but i was lost for a good portion of the beginning of this. too many books read in-between, too much time had passed, and i was completely frustrated and baffled and genuinely sad that it was taking me so long to get into this book.
but i wasn’t about to give up.
just…do yourself a favor. skim (or reread altogether) pure before you start this one. when the third part comes out, i will probably re-read all three of them just so i can appreciate the immersion, because i hate feeling lost when i am reading, when it is for the wrong reasons; when it is a failing on myself as a reader, rather than intentional authorial obfuscation for effect.
but no matter, because even in the beginning parts, where i was floundering, i still found the story fascinating; i was confused and lost and waiting for the magic that i felt reading the first one to kick in, but i was still intrigued. although i felt like reading it required a lot of effort on my part, to force myself to read through my confusion, i was still entertained, and at one point, i just decided to pretend i was reading an all-new book whose characters i had never before encountered. and that helped.
and once i finished it, i felt rewarded.
the mothers are phenomenal. they are far and away the most complicated, heartbreaking, and beautiful result of the detonations.
and i am so in love with el capitan/helmud. i had forgotten just how great they were until about halfway through this book, when i started to get a little choked up and i think i has a book-crush.
but speaking of crushes, and this is kind of a major gripe for me: i don’t dig romantic emotional confusion. i genuinely don’t remember the circumstances in the first book that make pressia so reluctant to acknowledge her feelings for bradwell (and i just re-read my review for pure, in which i state flat-out that there was very little in the way of romantic subplot, while in this one, there is a ton, so maybe it was just building up to this? and that’s why their struggle seemed so confusing to me?) but the romantic elements in this book really bugged me. it might be that i have just read three books in a row where the female lead is confounded by or actively resisting their desires, and i don’t care what kind of situation you are in—you know what you want, even if you have never wanted it before. there is too much creeping-up-to and then running-away-from, well, feelings. and it bothered me, as a reader. there is only so much backpedaling you can read before it just feels deliberately forced; like it is only being done to draw out a foregone conclusion. there may have been eye-rolling. this is not “nooo we can’t be together because of this or that…” this is “wait, i like you?? maybe?? do you like me?? i know there are all these very obvious signs on both sides, but can it be?? blink. blink??” pressia, you are neither an ingenue nor a dope. don’t act like one.
yeah, this is just a reader-response “review” more than a meaty plot-based one, but this book isn’t coming out for a while, and those of you who loved the first one are going to read this one, regardless of my blatherings, right?
so lemme just say: apart from the really draggy love-bits, the action in this one is great. i love this world, and the last quarter of the book is just splendid. the ending is a complete and wonderful clusterflock of plots racing and exploding and things happening and then—rarrrr!!! and then it ends.
and now i have to wait again, to see how this all plays out. this partridge/lyda thing is going to kill me with my wanting-to-know. oh, and iralene. tell me!!!
cuz i am dejected.