this second book, published just five months after The Book of Koli, is even better than the first, and feels much much bigger, even though it is only slightly longer in actual page count. part of it is the splitting of the story between koli and spinner this time, circling back to show, through spinner’s eyes, what happened after koli left his village (no spoilers), while continuing to move koli and his traveling companions forward on their adventures, exposing him to more of the world beyond his heretofore limited experience.
this book widens the scope of what we’ve seen so far, and broadens the part we’ve already seen with a different perspective; fleshing out koli’s village and its social structure with details that would have been kept from him.
none of the specifics of what happen will make sense to anyone who hasn’t read the first book, so i’ll avoid any of that and do more of a big-picture take on the series so far. i love the worldbuilding, and the fact that it’s an aftermath sitch taking a number of factors into account. the changes to nature, to society, to language, how the postcollapse dangers aren’t just the affected plants and animals, but the diminishing human gene pool, the lack of medical care, and, i suppose, also the cannibals. the bottom line is that these climate-changing, world-breaking problems are the result of humans doing bad things, and those explanatory/accusatory parts are a little heavy-handed and preachy to the choir that is me, but i do appreciate that some of the remaining technology in this world is a little beyond what we have now, so i take comfort in the suggestion that our collective doom, which will certainly come soon, is not quite here yet.
between the first-person POV and the fact that both spinner and koli are telling their stories looking back from some point in the future, there’s less tension in the ‘will they survive?’ category, but we can still worry about the fates of all of the secondary characters, whether or not they are flesh-and-blood, and carey’s done a great job developing them into complex characters you feel for and want to see stick around for the duration of the trilogy.
i am enjoying this series mightily, and am grateful that they are coming out with only a few months in-between them (part three, The Fall of Koli is scheduled to be published six months from now, in march 2021), so i won’t forget the details with my these-days-addled mind.
i’m ending this with an excellent quote that applies to this book, all books, and Life Itself:
There ought to be a rule in the telling of stories, my husband complained to me once, after I had brought him some dismay with a sad one. You ought to say before you start whether things will be brought in the end to a good or a bad case. That way them that are listening can gird themselves up somewhat, and be ready when the ending comes.
I told him I was sorry for the hurt to his heart and promised to give him fair warning next time. But I thought more thereafter, and in the end I came to this thinking on the subject. There can’t be any rules in the telling of stories. They’ve got to go where they go, which is not always where you would want them to. And as to the happiness or the sadness of it, that depends on where you’re standing. A happiness for one is sometimes a sadness to another. Or it might only be a happiness when you squint one eye. Or you might not know, even after it’s all done, whether it came out well or badly.
in the future, nature gets a little weird.