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Red Rising and The Bone Season continue
Two of 2014’s stand-out debuts continue!
Pierce Brown’s Red Rising was on our Best of the Year list. The second book of the trilogy is even better. EW posted a great interview with the author (mind those spoilers!) and you can see the cover of the trilogy finale, Morning Star, on Brown’s website.
The Mime Order is the second in what is projected to be a 7-book series. (See our post about The Bone Season for more details.) Samantha Shannon has a blog titled A Book from the Beginning in which she shares the experience of becoming and being a published author. In Tuesday’s post she wrote, “One thing I’m trying to do in the Bone Season series is to give the reader a very different experience in each book. I don’t like to repeat the same formula over seven books, and I shy away from sticking to one clear-cut genre. My aim is to make it difficult for you to guess what will happen in each installment. The Bone Season was what I might call a “jailbreak” story, much of which centred around Warden and Paige’s relationship, while The Mime Order has a central murder mystery that The Bone Season lacked. Book 3 is no different. This one is shaping up to be more of a revolutionary tale, with Scion itself as the primary antagonist.”
Darrow is back. Having risen from the deadly mines of Mars and won the lethal competition to become a select warrior among the Golds, he is able to infiltrate the inner sanctum of the most politically powerful Gold family. From there he can achieve his destiny—to topple the rule of the Golds and liberate the lesser castes from exploitation. But now that his mortal enemies from Red Rising (Del Rey, 2014) are allies, friends, and even lovers, can anyone be trusted? Can Darrow trust himself as he is further seduced by the indulgences of life as a Gold? Deceits and betrayals abound when The Sons of Ares, the group that recruited Darrow and transformed him into a Gold, terrorize the society and threaten the revolution Darrow feels is his alone to lead. The plot twists and turns as mayhem reigns, civil war is fomented, and internecine feuds become murderous conflict. But whenever Darrow begins to succeed, disaster ensues as others more purposeful and ruthless than him wreak havoc on his plans. It is Brown’s genius that he is able to blend hi-tech science fiction (“carvers” creating super humans out of flesh and bone) with primitive magic (scorpions that detect liars and punish them with a deadly sting) into a believable world. That he wraps it in a page-turner in which action often leaves readers breathless will make it irresistible to teens. The only caveat is that reading the previous volume is a prerequisite to understanding the multitude of characters and motivations in this entry.—John Sexton, Greenburgh Public Library, NY
Series openers set the tone and pacing, while second books show whether the author has not only the vision to carry things through but the technique to keep things different and interesting while pulling readers along. In The Mime Order, Shannon proves she can do just that. At the end of The Bone Season (Bloomsbury, 2013) it’s clear that Sheol I is gone: what will happen to the escapees? Can they survive in London, finding ways to not only live but avoid Scion? The answers will surprise readers and, of course, lead to many more questions (given that this is only the second of seven planned installments). The London created here is fully realized, a semi-steampunk world with a lively underground that Paige returns to, including as her previous role as The White Binder’s crew’s mollisher. When the murder of the Underlord creates a power vacuum in the underworld, the only way to fill it is via formalized mortal combat amongst the various Mime Lords and their mollishers. Will Paige and Jaxson win? More importantly, can they trust each other enough to win? And is there a role for Warden in this London, now that he’s a traitor to his species? The maps and glossary will help readers remember and expand their knowledge of this complex world. Fans of the first book will really enjoy this sequel, and any teen looking for a new fantasy series with something a little different should be introduced to Shannon’s work.—Laura Pearle, Miss Porter’s School, CT
About Angela Carstensen
Angela Carstensen is Head Librarian and an Upper School Librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. Angela served on the Alex Awards committee for four years, chairing the 2008 committee, and chaired the first YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult committee in 2009. Recently, she edited Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation (ALA Editions, 2011). Contact her via Twitter @AngeReads.
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