I really enjoyed the first book in this near-future post-apocalyptic series, with its carefully crafted world-building and complex characters, be they all-human or modified to a greater or lesser extent. This time we get to know some of the other characters in greater depth and also learn a lot more about how this dystopian future works for its privileged and not-so-privileged inhabitants.
Senator Angela Neko is one of the elite. Previously a top-performing pupil at an exclusive boarding school for future leaders of the free world, she walked away from Kellen Hockley because she believed the breakup would benefit both their careers. Now, seventeen years later, Kellen is back in touch: as part of the team of renegades responsible for killing Angela’s estranged husband. The death of Daniel Neko comes as no great shock or loss to Angela: when she left him two years ago, she replaced him with an android copy, so no one outside her immediate circle became aware of her change in circumstances. Now freed once and for all from her husband’s abuse, Angela sees the way clear to further her political ambitions, beginning with a war against the seceded state of Texas. That is, until attempts are made on Angela’s own life and Kellen’s motley gang of outsiders step in to rescue her.
In the years since Angela dismissed him, Kellen has been working hard to save the planet, one species at a time. A genius at genetic engineering and technological modification, Kellen has upgraded a variety of critters and released them back into the wild, where they can better survive thanks to his upgrades, and are able to relay information back to him and the crew on what’s happening around the world. With help from Kellen’s friends and critters – including an upgraded clone of the cat the two cared for at school – Angela is able to track down those responsible for the attempts on her life, as well as the suspected architect of all the Texan raids that have been taking place along the border recently. She is also able to rekindle some of the feelings she and Kellen once had for each other, but both worry how this new relationship will fare once Angela is returned to the office she worked so hard to attain.
I loved this book. Kellen’s critters seemed just another eccentricity in the first book, but really come into their own here. We also see more of the various forms of life: biological, technological, and a mix of the two, that are trying – not always very hard – to coexist in this brave new world. I really hope this series continues so we can meet more of the gang up close and learn more about the situations they find themselves in.
Read Veena’s review here.
Kellen Hockley usually keeps quiet about his past, but once upon a time he loved a girl named Angela. He hasn’t seen her in a decade, but now he has to break the news to her that his team of rogue treasure hunters accidentally killed her husband. He’s had better days…
It’s not the news that’s delivered to Angela Neko that breaks her apart—it’s the rumbly, Texas drawl delivering it. She can’t believe she’s hearing Kellen’s voice again. But there’s no time for distractions. When Angela’s own life is threatened, yielding up all of her lies and secrets, she and Kellen must figure out how to reverse the geopolitical firestorm she lit to save the world, to save Kellen’s cat.. and just maybe to save each other.
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