Book, Hope, and the others continue their desperate search for safety after The Capture (2016) in this trilogy conclusion.
The surviving Less Thans’ camp is being threatened by the intelligent wolves that had been feasting on the corpses of the Brown Shirts killed in the previous book. No longer safe, they pack up their wounded and make their way back to the refuge where they left the Sisters, with the ultimate goal of escaping the Western Federation Territory altogether. Amid forced relationship drama (Hope freezes Book out, convinced her new facial scars make her “damaged goods”), the group splits, and Hope goes ahead to the Sisters while Book takes a small party to the Skullies’ Compound to try to salvage food. Hope (whose chapters are marked by the incessant mantra of “Live today, tears tomorrow”) ends up espying suspicious Brown Shirt activity; she follows to gain information, continuing to swear revenge on Chancellor Maddox and Dr. Gallingham. At the Compound, Book salvages a couple of atlas pages. They reunite with the Sisters for a showdown with the Hunters (the book’s strongest sequence) before separating again from the nameless background characters for a mission to appeal to the president and to unravel what the Final Solution is. The ending relies on nonsensical motivations, inconsistent characterization, and naked implausibility. Aside from Hope and one side character, all seem white.
Flimsy, phoned-in, and forgettable. (Post-apocalyptic adventure. 13-17)