Summary: Trapped in a superstore by a series of escalating disasters, including a monster hailstorm and terrifying chemical weapons spill, brothers Dean and Alex learned how to survive and worked together with twelve other kids to build a refuge from the chaos. But then strangers appeared, destroying their fragile peace, and bringing both fresh disaster and a glimmer of hope.
Knowing that the chemical weapons saturating the air outside will turn him into a bloodthirsty rage monster, Dean decides to stay in the safety of the store with Astrid and some of the younger kids. But their sanctuary has already been breached once. . . .
Meanwhile, Alex, determined to find their parents, heads out into the darkness and devastation with Niko and some others in a recently repaired school bus. If they can get to Denver International Airport, they might be evacuated to safety. But the outside world is even worse than they expected. . . (Summary and image from goodreads.com)
Review: The last time we saw our Monument 14, they had split into two groups in order to find help. Those who are safe - or who at least don't turn into monsters in the contaminated air - are taking the bus to the Denver Airport to bring back a rescue squad. Dean, Astrid, and a handful of the younger kids decide to wait it out in the store, in the hopes that rescue will come quickly.
The prospect of waiting around for an unknown period of time sounds interminably dull, but this book was even more gripping than the first. The struggles and fears, trials and triumphs of these kids still rings true to the world that Lambourne has created. It's terrifying. It's plausible. It's compelling. It's certainly entertaining.
This book is marginally darker than the first - not only that the group is dealing with those who have been living outside shelters, but that they're encountering the full measure of the chemical spill and the ramifications that the chemicals have wrought. At one point I started to wonder if we had crossed into zombie apocalypse genre, Maze Runner style, but I think the Lambourne has found a good way of balancing her world in the midst of so many apocalyptic books and creating her own little niche. Understandably the violence has increased, but it didn't feel gratuitous.
Lambourne is writing from the perspective of boys, and while I understand that boys are hormonal and that when they are locked in a building with their crush, things can happen. But I hated how prevalent it was in the story. It was unnecessary and tarnished a series that honestly could have been one of my new favorites of the year. Warning: If you plan on continuing with the series, just go ahead and have Savage Drift, the final book in the series, waiting for you when you finish this one. It's a heart pounding ending.
Rating: Three and a half stars
For the Sensitive Reader: Murders, brutal beatings, and teen hormones running rampant