Eight years after the fall of the Corp during older brother Anthem’s rebellion in Coda (2013), teenage Alpha struggles with its legacy.
Alpha left the Web for Los Angeles, needing to get away from tracking—the use of encoded music tracks as a mind-altering drug—as her childhood exposure left her with lingering problems, such as flashbacks and an addiction waiting to take root. In Los Angeles, she’s not only safe from the temptation to use, but able to pursue medical studies, with the lofty goal of finding a cure for the special addictions forced on her and her twin, Omega. When she gets the message that her older brother (and Coda’s protagonist), Anthem, is succumbing to ill health due to his use as a human battery by the Corp, she returns home to say goodbye, accompanied by a few others, including her Los Angeles–native boyfriend. But strange things are afoot—someone’s sending peculiar messages to Alpha, and tracks are somehow getting back to Los Angeles. Someone is resurrecting the Corp; Alpha must find out who it is and stop the Corp again. Slow pacing in the first half stretches the story thin, and the action-packed ending is disorienting, particularly due to the large number of characters any given pronoun could refer to. Although Alpha is a weaker protagonist than Anthem, most of the plot twists are effective.
All things considered, though, an unnecessary sequel. (Science fiction. 13 & up)