In this sequel to Corr Syl the Warrior (2013), Rogers’ (Arizona Wildlife Notebook, 2013, etc.) hero takes on East Asian militants to save his best friend.
Still reeling from the violence of his first mission as a warrior, Corr Syl returns to his family in the Wycliff District. He’s a member of the ancient Tsaeb race, all of whom are descended from various animals and capable of living harmoniously with the Earth. Corr and his friend Rhya Bright are descended from rabbits and can use their fur as camouflage and think in multiple “thoughtstreams.” As they travel to the Continental Center to work on human psychochemistry research, agents of Ya Zhou, the Imperial Minister of the Taoso nation, capture Rhya. Her duplicitous traveling partner, the lynx-descended Able Remington, facilitates the kidnapping, which will lead to a confrontation between Corr and Zhou—and with his warrior training and advanced senses, Corr is prepared for the challenge. He heads after Rhya in the miraculous IOZ-1899 airship, a Tsaeb creation that interacts with a pilot’s mind. However, Zhou has teamed up with the foul Lactella, a power-mad black widow from the previous novel whose venom allows her to control human hosts. Corr must not only save his friend, but prevent Zhou from raising an army that could dominate the world. In the slim second volume of Rogers’ YA series, he continues to develop his idea that humans should emulate animals, who live better within the bounds of nature, in order to ensure the prosperity of all life on Earth. The author doesn’t mince words on this subject; for example, Ryha mentions helping “humans overcome their mental limitations.” Environmental awareness remains at the plot’s forefront, as when Zhou serves water that is found to be a “stew of lead, arsenic, antibiotics, and hormone disrupters.” Most intriguing, though, is when Rogers merges science fiction with animal facts; Tsaeb warriors hold a discussion, for instance, by “using projected scents, sounds, movements, and thoughts, the electromagnetic fluxes generated by brain and body.” Swift pacing and an action-oriented plot quickly conclude this second Corr adventure, although not before setting up an intriguing third.
A riveting entry in an environmentally aware YA series.