Four years ago, a meteor crashed into the moon, altering the Earth’s gravity; the world is an ever-bleaker place in this fourth of Pfeffer’s gripping series.
Seventeen-year-old Jon Evans, the younger brother of Miranda, protagonist in two of the earlier novels, lives with his stepmother and half brother in an enclave called Sexton. After countless natural disasters and proliferating disease, humanity is now plagued by rigidly cruel class stratification, in which a person is either a respected “claver” or a disdained “grub,” a system so ingrained that Jon struggles to understand whether or not he thinks it is right. Featuring a plot that delivers twist after twist, this is a vivid take on the man-as-monster theme common to the genre. While the individual relationships depicted at times stray into melodrama, there is a persistent undercurrent of dread running throughout due to the novel’s realistic portrayals of mob violence and bigotry. Short, dated excerpts from Jon’s third-person perspective lack the immediacy of the epistolary style employed in the installments narrated by Miranda, but they do a fine job of illustrating a young man in a moral quandary.
Action-packed and completely unpredictable, this latest will be widely anticipated by the series’ many fans. (Post-apocalyptic adventure. 14 & up)