In this sci-fi sequel from Buckler (Seeker of Time, 2017), two teens go on a mission to an alien planet and undertake a journey of self-discovery.
Eighteen-year-old Elara and her twin brother, Cyrus, grew up on Earth. They were born, however, on Aroonyx, a pastoral world held in thrall by the callous dictator Zenith and his private army of Collectors. There are two types of people on Aroonyx: Solins (born during the day and having great strength) and Lunins (born at night and having great powers of endurance). Zenith was born during a rare solar eclipse, and, as a result, he has both Solin and Lunin traits. Elara and Cyrus were born during a lunar eclipse; Elara is Lunin and Cyrus Solin, but when they’re together they can channel each other’s powers. It’s for this reason that Jax, a Lunin with his own dark history, has brought the twins to Aroonyx—so that they may challenge Zenith and overthrow his rule. But first Jax must train them. How long can they stay on the run from Zenith’s Collectors? And when Jax gets captured, how will Elara and Cyrus survive? Buckler takes her human protagonists to an alien world and introduces several new, memorable players. The prose is often unpolished, but the key to the book’s appeal is in the rough honesty of its characterization. Despite the fact that Elara and Cyrus are touted as would-be saviors, they remain young people with relatable problems; for example, Elara struggles with her romantic feelings toward Jax. The author allows the twins to show anger, jealousy, resentment, and irrationality and then cope with these emotions, which enhances the book as a whole. However, the dialogue sometimes suffers as a consequence—few real people talk through their issues as much as Elara and Cyrus do. As the plot later heads off in unexpected directions, and the liberation of Aroonyx falls somewhat to the wayside, empathy and open communication emerge as the story’s true themes. YA and new-adult readers will likely appreciate this adult lesson underneath the romantic to-and-fro.
A sound middle installment to a trilogy that builds nicely toward the saga’s conclusion.