Mirage (Above World #2)

Title: Mirage

Author: Jenn Reese

Aluna, Hoku, Dash, and Calli saved the Kampii, but uncovered a plot that threatens all of Above World. Karl Strand and his clones are going after slaves and energy sources, and the group heads out to warn Dash’s people, the centaur Equians, next. But Karl’s clone, Scorch, has already laid plans. And Dash risks much in returning to the people from whom he has been exiled . . .

This book takes everything I liked about the first and ramps it up a notch. Aluna and her friends live with the Equians long enough to get a good feel for how the herds work, the types of people they are, and how they’re the same and yet different from each other. Dash, being home, really gets a chance to shine. I like his reserve and his honor, and how he responds to situations that outsiders like Aluna and Hoku find horrifying. He is very like Aluna, which is why their relationship moves slowly and frustrates both of them.

And I liked that Hoku and Calli are starting to move past the first stages of a crush that they were in last book. Hoku is too shy to ask her how she really feels, and now that he has a potential rival he’s not at all sure how to handle the situation.

I also really liked that Hoku finally gets a teacher. Aluna has had the opportunity to train with warriors in every culture she comes across, but Hoku’s big dream of learning tech seemed more likely to come true as a self-study program with Calli’s books. I like how well the story captures his thought process—Aluna thinks like a warrior, but Hoku thinks like an engineer. It’s in the way he approaches problems, or how a batch of fiddly bits can distract him from tension, or how he always turns to tech as his answer to the problem.

The world continues to unfold in glimpses. I’m looking forward to the next (and presumably last) leg of the journey. I rate this book Highly Recommended.

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