Volume 2 of any post-apocalyptic series is the epic journey from frying pan to fire, and Maryam’s harrowing adventure delivers.
It was only sensible to flee the Holy City, where the white rulers were draining the blood of Maryam’s people to save their own lives. Now Ruth, Joseph and Lazarus must fight to survive as they sail though a potentially depopulated Pacific. They’re a mismatched set: “two brown Blessed Sisters, two white Apostles,” plague-stricken Joseph, believer Ruth, skeptical Maryam and Lazarus, whom Maryam had witnessed attempting rape in the first book (The Crossing, 2013). They’ll need to work together to survive the surprises that await outside the Holy City’s long isolation. In a land once known as Australia, they encounter violence, apathy, cruelty and foulmouthed racism oozing filth across every conversation. After the mystical colonialist violence of the Holy City, the dangers of the Confederated Territory for Christian Territorials (where unsubtle, occasionally explicit comparisons to present-day troubles abound) cast an unforgiving lens on the modern world. The new villainies Maryam encounters make more sense than her origin story—a modern indigenous population too-easily tricked by white missionaries—and make for a more thought-provoking dystopia.
Though the focus too often shifts from Maryam’s quest to differentiating good white people from bad, ultimately this dystopia will please fans of the genre and leave them awaiting Maryam’s trilogy-ending heroics. (Post-apocalyptic romance. 13-16)