This worthy sequel to Hall’s The Line (2010) continues to build a dystopian world rich with suspense and moral choices.
Rachel enters “Away,” the wild area on the other side of the “Line,” the border of the repressive “Unified States.” Life has evolved in Away, even producing such new animals as the terrifying baern and a marvelous, clever sheep-cat named Nipper. There, Rachel meets Pathik, a possible romantic interest, and others of his family and group, many of whom have a supernatural ability. Rachel rescues her father, long thought dead, from a rival camp. Indigo, Pathik’s grandfather and leader of their camp, decides they should relocate to an island that may offer real safety, continuing the suspense and setting up the next sequel. Hall tackles morality in the use of the characters’ supernatural gifts. Indigo, for example, can kill with his mind, but should he, and will he? Her dystopian world comes across vividly, and her characters stand out as varied and real. Although the undefined political repression of the Unified States fades in this book, the tension of a police state remains. The Away people live without electricity in crude huts, but they live freely. As they make their way to their new life (including, one hopes, Nipper) readers will be waiting for them.Another absorbing, suspenseful and imaginative effort in this excellent series. (Dystopia. 12 & up)