Guided by her mother’s last words, Sev embarks on a quest to find the cure to sleeping sickness, or SS.
After watching her mother die and escaping the burning City in Last Star Burning (2017), Sev and her friends Tai-ge and June hide out in their heli. The goal is to find Port North, which Sev’s mother told her holds the cure to SS, but there’s a problem: No one has heard of it. Radio transmissions train their focus on Dazhai, a farm holding the last of the Firsts and likely a map to Port North. As plans are made, Tai-ge’s old allegiances rear their heads—he thinks stealing a map isn’t necessary when they could work with the Reds, something Sev will never do. And then the last person Sev expects to see appears: Howl, whom she believed to be dead. Sev is horrified. She loved Howl, but his lies soured her on him forever. Now they must work together as time to find a cure runs out. Sev’s struggle to determine whom she can trust takes center stage over intrigue. Though the relationships are carefully wrought, the hard shift away from the action of the first book is jarring. The secrets of Port North finally slingshot the pace back to a familiar clip.
A victim of middle-book syndrome buoyed by a keen sense of the intricacies of relationships. (pronunciation guide, author’s note) (Fantasy. 14-adult)