Author: Jenn Reese
Having taken down Fathom and driven off Scorch, Aluna is confident she and her friends will be able to take on the mastermind Karl Strand. They’ll join a group of Upgraders, posing as captives, and infiltrate the army. Only nothing works out the way Aluna anticipated. Can they still topple Karl Strand when his army is poised to seize full control?
This is, like the previous two books, excellent. It brings a number of things full circle for the ending, which makes the finale powerful and personal. I particularly liked the mythology linked with Karl Strand. A symbol of immortality indeed (and, as the myth, not quite as immortal as it initially appears).
This continues the weird fusion of mythological creatures and future-tech. This time the society that gets the most focus is one that has been present in other books but only on the periphery: the Upgraders. Humans who bind tech to themselves to enhance various parts. Upgraders are almost universally despised, so Aluna is expecting it to be easy to deceive a group of them to use for her own plans. She really should know better by now.
I was impressed particularly not just by what Aluna does, but by what she can’t do. She’s been nearly a superhero so far with her growing ability as a warrior—but back under the waves, she’s finding herself forced back into the role she left. And she’s learning that sometimes the hardest place to be a hero is at home, surrounded by everyone who knew her before and expects her to be how she was.
The end is a tad abrupt—particularly the bit about finding Karl’s heart (it reduces what has been a rather epic fight into about a two sentence finish). And the time skip isn’t immediately obvious as such so it took a few minutes to figure out we’d jumped forward for an epilogue.
All in all, though, the world is bursting with possibility for new adventures, even though the current one is solidly over. I do hope Reese returns to this world (and even, my personal hope, in a more YA series where she might be able to dig even deeper into some of the things that get a glance here). I rate this book Recommended.