“My world has changed, but I cannot recall how. The celling above my nose looks the same; the hard bed beneath my aching body feels the same; and the groans from my team that welcome the new day, sound the same. But I know nothing can ever be the same again.”
Author: R.E. Palmer Published: 2017 Pages: 281
I really loved the first book in this series; the author had me hooked with the storyline, and I thought it was a really original idea for a dystopian narrative. This novel picked up where the last one left off, and threw me back into an underground world where everyone does their job, ruled over by ‘Mother’, and all work towards The New Dawn (getting to the surface in order to begin their lives again). After the revelations of the first book, Noah struggles to come to terms with his surroundings, and the authority he is supposed to obey. But while he wants to expose the truth behind it all, he is torn because why should he defy the one person who has kept him safe his whole life? If Mother really is lying to them, what will happen if they were without her? Could they really survive without the one thing which has made sure they are kept alive?
Whether it was because the author had told me the second book was the hardest to write, or whether it just conformed to the general consensus that a lot of trilogies dip in the second book, this one did not have me as enthralled as the first. I think what I found a little hard to believe, was that despite Noah doing everything wrong, and rebelling against his leader, he was miraculously not punished as other people who had done the same had been. I think this is a problem with a lot of dystopian protagonists; they all seem to have a kind of luck for getting out of situations that would have been detrimentally harmful, or even fatal, for others. I know that, obviously, they can’t go and die 2 pages in, but I would have liked to see Noah treated in the same way as the others, and although this was somehow justified by the author (because of his bloodline), it wasn’t quite good enough for me.
On the other hand, I did enjoy the twist about Mother, and learning more about the truth of where they were and where they were headed in the future. I also liked that we got to learn more about Moses, and I particularly enjoyed the passages about the spiders. Plus, I liked that Palmer added a dark element to the novel by showing how ruthless Mother had been in order to stay in control. I think, as a villain, that made her more legitimate and terrifying.
I also enjoyed all the other characters too, I think Palmer is successful in creating very empathetic characters which makes me more invested in the book and finding out what happens to them. Given the build up in the first one, I would have liked to see more of Rebekah, but then I suppose he used her well as a reason to keep turning the page, because she was what was driving Noah.
I think the reason I did not rate this book as highly as the first is because I felt like I was waiting for something to happen, but it never did. While there were a few very exciting revelations about their surroundings, I don’t actually think the plot progressed much, the book could have almost been at the end of the first on and condensed into about half the amount of pages. HOWEVER, I do have a lot of faith that the final book will be satisfying and gripping, so I am very excited to get on to reading that.
Thank you to the author, R.E. Palmer, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.