In the second installment of Lefave’s (The Epoch of Redress, 2017) sci-fi series, twins try to prevent the extermination of a people blamed for child abductions and a viral epidemic.
It’s been a year since Gadlin siblings Elize and Keeto took refuge at Schrödinger University as a student and employee, respectively. They had feared that their father would send Elize away because she had symptoms that were similar to their institutionalized mother’s. Those symptoms disappeared for a while, but Elize recently began hearing voices again and suffering memory lapses. Now the city of Eadonberg is plagued by a virus and a rash of child kidnappings, and the Unification government’s oppressive Ministry holds the Gadlin race accountable for both. The twins respond by joining their half-Gadlin pal Stitch’s underground network to spy on the Ministry. Later, Stitch’s Gadlin mentor Odwin mysteriously disappears. An enigmatic woman named Nepharisse also dabbles in espionage; as a member of Global Health Unit’s catering staff, she gets close to Sothese, the personal adviser to the Pramam, who heads the Unification. Nepharisse, who has a unique method of killing (when necessary), believes that the twins are “chosen ones,” and she wants the same thing that they do: to stop the Pramam from committing genocide. Reading Lefave’s preceding novel isn’t mandatory before reading this one, but it does enhance the experience; for example, the references to Caroline, an essential character in the earlier story, will become much more meaningful. There’s a plethora of strange happenings in this installment, such as the fact that a curious red-granite rock, which Elize retrieved from a murder victim, keeps turning up in her pocket. Some questions also linger from the first volume, particularly regarding the twins’ mysterious father, who has ties to the Pramam. Lefave’s prose remains strong; one particular highlight is when Elize peruses Keeto’s journal, skipping the boring parts and adding her own commentary.
An elaborate, futuristic tale that will draw in new readers with its keen characterization.