This is the second book in Calhoun's dystopian Stone Braide Chronicles. (You can see the review of the first one, Thunder, here.)
At the end of Thunder, Selah had finally found her real father. She and the others had escaped from the Mountain but still had work to do. Selah wants to be reunited with her mother and younger brother. When evidence is found that they have been taken to the Mountain, Selah wants to go back there and rescue them. To add to the drama, Selah's father indicates that something terrible will happen to Selah in nine months if they cannot find The Third Protocol. Unless Glade can find a way west through the mountains, Selah will fragment – her brain and physical functions will fall apart.
We learn a bit more about the post-apocalyptic world Selah inhabits. The native Landers were once ordinary humans who had left the Mountain before the great disaster. They changed afterward, somehow taking on incredible powers. We also find out that Selah, as the novarium, has elements in her blood that some think might heal or produce immortality.
Traveling back to the Mountain is dangerous. There are splinter groups that would like to capture Selah and sell her to the highest bidder. Even some who appear to want to protect Selah are traitors. We meet some interesting people too, such as those who live in trees. I felt this part of the novel was a bit slow and did not move the plot forward well.
Much of the action in this novel takes place back in the Mountain. I found that lack of description frequently detracted from my appreciation of the action. There is plenty of action but I had difficulty visualizing it. The group travels within the Mountain to cities with different color designations but I was unclear what made them different. Even within the Mountain there are many factions and people warring against each other.
One aspect of the plot that I got tired of was the animosity between Glade and Bodhi. It just seemed they would argue, come to terms, repeat.
Selah is an interesting heroine. There were times when she was amazingly effective while other times she was nearly overwhelmed. I had to keep reminding myself she was an eighteen year old developing superhuman powers and then her actions generally made sense and are appropriate for this young adult fiction.
I enjoyed this book in the series. I am still looking for some “Christian” or otherwise redemptive aspect to the book. There is mention of future good and evil so I trust it is coming in the sequel.
You can read the first chapter here.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Bonnie S. Calhoun is Director of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and is owner/publisher of Christian Fiction Online Magazine, now in its seventh year. She is the author of three previous novels and is a web specialist. She and her husband live on 15 acres with a pond. You can find out more at http://bonniescalhoun.com/.
Revell, 416 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.