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The Starry-Eyed Revue

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For Darkness Shows the Stars
Diana Peterfreund
Never Fade
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Once We Were - Kat Zhang When I read What's Left of Me last year, I thought it was a great addition to the dystopian sub-genre, which was rife with tedium and copy-cat novels.  It was completely unique to the subset and added in a hint of sci-fi that seemed to be missing from other similarly themed novels.  And I still think the sheer humanness of this series sets it apart from all the others.  But for one reason or another, I felt that this sequel lacked the same impact of the previous installment, that je ne sais quoi that compelled me to continue reading.

I realize that not much time has elapsed in this series overall, but I still feel that Eva's a little too naive at this point.  Her sister soul Addy, on the other hand, seems to have matured exponentially.  I empathize with both of their plights, but both souls need to be on the same page if they're ever to accomplish anything.  I do love the bond these girls share, that when push comes to shove, they trust each other above everyone.  I just wish it didn't come to pushing and shoving for them to realize that.

There's really just one major storyline running through this sequel, with an awkward romantic quadrangle thrown in for good measure, but I'll get to that in a minute.  Both of these situations, however, I found utterly predictable, despite the fact that the characters were completely shocked by the turn of events.  The rebellion is all that is discussed in this book, and yet we only really hear from one faction of it, the one willing to risk it all to make a difference.  I'd liked to have seen more of Peter's group and learn what they were doing to subvert Jenson's attempts to cure others like they did Jamie in the first book.

The romance in this series is bound to get squicky...two souls in one body, both vying for the attentions of two completely different entities.  Is it a love triangle...or a quadrangle?  There are four souls involved but only three bodies.  If nothing else, it's messy.  Eva and Addy try to give each other privacy by fading out of existence at times, but they're not quite in control of that faculty yet, and awkward situations are aplenty.

I missed the nuances of the changes between souls that came so naturally in the first book.  I felt that I was being told a lot more instead of being shown who was in control of whose body at any given time.  Maybe it was because the characters have been around each other long enough and grown accustomed to each other that they no longer have to decipher who is who...it's just so obvious.  But this time around, it felt more like the Matrix-y shifting of Mr. Smith than the subtle shifting I observed in What's Left of Me.


This was a solid sequel...it just wasn't what I'd been expecting.  I think the first book was full of heart, whereas this book brought the action, the betrayal, and the heartbreak.  I'll definitely still pick up the next installment, though, especially since I have no idea what to expect from it now.

Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss for the review copy!

This review can also be found at The Starry-Eyed Revue.