This sequel to The Islands at the End of the World (2014) finds Leilani reunited with her family on Hawaii’s Big Island as humanity slowly adapts to the new, post-apocalyptic normal.
In the wake of the events of the first book, Leilani must persuade the Orchid, the extraterrestrial responsible for the global nuclear meltdowns, to absorb the radiation threatening to plunge the planet into nuclear winter. While the island’s peace-loving residents grow crops and barter goods, gangs battle for control of vastly diminished resources—including the antibiotics Lei’s friend Tami desperately needs. Worries mount: material expelled by the Orchid hits Mauna Loa; Lei discovers someone working against her efforts, pushing the Orchid to leave too soon. She’s heartened when the attractive soldier who helped her escape Oahu shows up—but so does the sheriff of Hana, a brutal psychopath with plans for using her powers. Lei’s epileptic seizures are in abeyance, but she fears they’ll return after the Orchid leaves. Sharing its predecessor’s strengths, a suspenseful plot and compelling characters with emotional depth, this sequel effectively depicts the true and lasting costs of violence, even when its use is justified. As in the prior book, the ways the characters react to growing chaos remain entirely convincing, and the setting is vividly realized.
Exciting and fast-paced entertainment with a thoughtful subtext asking readers to ponder the interconnectedness of life on a fragile planet. (Science fiction. 12-18)