Sequel to The Young World, a post-Apocalypse novel set in New York City where a plague has killed everyone except the teenagers.
At the end of the last novel, Jefferson and Donna (and their band) have explored New York City, discovered the Cure, fallen in love, and been rescued from feral children by the arrival of the U.S. Navy.
They find themselves onboard the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan, where they learn that the existence of survivors on the American continents has been kept a secret from the world. The Navy, sole superpower in the world, imprisons them and shows them propaganda. Meanwhile, a shadowy group known as the Resistance says the Navy plans to let all the surviving teens back on the mainland die of the plague, and offers to help them bring the Cure back to New York City.
Who do they believe? What is the real situation? Who can be trusted? What has become of the Washington Park tribe? Can Jefferson unite the teenage tribes – racists, cannibals, thieves, traffickers – and create peace? And why are certain people so fixated on the United Nations building?
And by a quirk of fate, Jefferson and Donna are soon separated, as she becomes a guest of British intelligence. She, too, must discover what is happening, and whom she can trust. Will the lovers ever be reunited?
The author once again uses alternating first-person accounts, primarily from Jefferson and Donna. As in the previous novel, he does an excellent job of portraying teenage characters, and the novel is a fast read.
Unfortunately, the novel lacks the tension of the first book, and has the problem of revisiting places the reader already saw the first time around. It is hard for Jefferson to be a hero when he is being controlled by the Resistance, and as for Donna, her subplot is just not that exciting or believable.
The cliffhanger ending sets things up for the next volume in the series.
Note that some sexual descriptions, gay and heterosexual, are hinted at or described without a lot of detail. Also, I know Donna survived hell in New York City, but in the United Kingdom, isn't she underage? There is also violence as you would expect in the situation, described but not to excess.
Can you wargame it? The one battle described is very one-sided, but others hinted at (a multi-tribe free-for-all in an auditorium, a terrorist assault) would make great scenarios.
While I like the author's characters and the way he writes about them, I found this novel to be not that exciting or interesting. It feels like just a bridge between two other novels.
Reviewed by Editor in Chief Bill .