Skip to main content

Mirage

Sequels are scary things. This is why I approached reading Mirage by Jenn Reese with equal parts excitement and trepidation. I LOVED Above World (my thoughts) so much. I wanted to love this one. I needed to love it because I haven't loved many books yet this year. It fulfilled all of that yearning plus some.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
The desert is no place for ocean-dwelling Kampii like Aluna and Hoku, especially now that Aluna has secretly started growing her tail. But the maniacal Karl Strand is out to conquer the Above World, and the horselike Equians are next on his list. Aluna, Hoku, and their friends — winged Calli and Equian exile Dash — race to the desert city of Mirage, intent on warning the Equians. When they arrive, Strand’s clone, Scorch, has gotten there first. Now the Equian leader has vowed to take all his people to war as part of Strand’s army. Any herd that refuses to join him by the time of the desert-wide competition known as the Thunder Trials will be destroyed. To have any chance of defeating Scorch and convincing the Equians to switch sides, the four friends must find a way to win the Trials. The challenge seems impossible. But if they fail, the desert — and possibly all of the Above World — will be lost to Karl Strand forever. 

Aluna, Hoku, Dash, and Calli-they all have pieces of my heart. These are some truly wonderful characters and Reese took them and grew them in this second volume. Aluna learned so much from her first journey and it is wonderful to see her apply those lessons in this book. She proceeds with more caution and listens more carefully. She still makes some mistakes, but I love that her character has not stagnated and is moving with the story. We learn about Dash and his past in this book and what I discovered only made me love him more. His nobility, honor, and loyalty are great attributes and his charming ways only add to that. It was interesting to watch Calli-still torn between what she knows she must become and what she wants to do. She's so caring and diplomatic, and yet there are times when I'm not as sure of her as I am of the others. Not unsure of her loyalty, but what she'll choose to do with it. It keeps her from being too perfect. And Hoku. GAH! His quiet heroism in this book catapulted him past Dash as my favorite I think. I love how he refuses to back down from his ideals and tries to figure out ways to make them work in the world he lives in. It also has me very afraid for his continued safety. I always say I love it when authors aren't afraid to hurt even their main characters and Reese certainly isn't. It doesn't stop me from not wanting her to. 

The friendship these four share is my favorite element of this trilogy. They met and began it in the first book. This book sees it challenged and grow in amazing ways. It is clear too that they are all learning from each other and becoming better people because of each other. There are scenes that actually had me tearing up-and that is not an easy thing to make me do. One particular scene between Dash and Aluna had me actually shed a tear. I love how Reese uses their friendship and interactions to reveal more of their characters too.

In addition to our four intrepid heroes there are a host of new and amazing characters added here. I loved Tal, Rollin, and  Nathif especially.

The world building continues to be impressive. In this volume the setting switches to the desert. Here two different types of people dwell-Dash's Equians and the Serpenti (half snake people-and let me say that whole concept is just awesome by itself). The history of these groups is fraught and rich with detail and these were wonderfully incorporated into the fast moving plot. While Karl Strand and his evil plans shadow this book, the story here is less about confronting a nemesis than it is about learning to grow and change. The story focuses on the desert peoples and the workings of their traditions and politics. There is again a lot of food for thought here on honoring tradition and history while not clinging to it to your own detriment. This fits well with the themes of hope, unity, and strength in community that continue into this story from the first. The way Reese is able to do all of this in a plot that never once drags or even slows down is impressive. I also appreciate how she knows how to end a book. Yes, there is more and they are not done with their struggles, but this book ends with a sense of completion. I still really want the next volume while at the same time don't have cliffhanger rage. 

Mirage gave me an adrenaline rush and book hangover like I haven't had in quite some time. I love books that can do that to me and am eagerly awaiting the third and final installment of the trilogy.

I received this most joyfully and gratefully from Candlewick via NetGalley. Mirage is available for purchase today, March 12. (I have an 8 year old eagerly awaiting our copy's arrival. She is quite annoyed I already got to read it.)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Shorter Musings MG Fantasy

Here are some shorter musings on recent MG fantasy reads. Anya and the Dragon   by Sofiya Pasternack This book is fun. It is a book full of adventure, an obvious bad guy, some more complicated morally gray area characters, and a strong, brave heroine. It is also a book about friendships, community, and fighting for what is right. All things that usually work for me really well. While I enjoyed this, I did feel it was a little overlong and there were certain plot points at the end I didn't love. However, there were things I thought were done really well, such as Anya's Jewish faith and the idea that power needs to be challenged. In the end it was a middle of the road read for me, but it is one I will certainly be recommending to dragon and fantasy adventure lovers I know! R is for Rebel   by J. Anderson Coats This is tough because I usually really like Coats's books. I had such a hard time with this one though on so many levels. It's difficult to get into because t

TTT: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by  The Broke and the Bookish  and now hosted at  That Artsy Reader Girl . This Week's Topic: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List From Most Recent to Least: What books have recently caught your eye?

Future Favorite Friday: June 2018

I take the 2nd Friday of every month to highlight some upcoming releases I am looking forward to that I hope are Future Favorites. Feel free to do your own post, just please link back to my blog and tell me about your post in the comments. Two Naomis  was one of my favorite reads of 2016 so I was understandably excited it's getting a sequel.  In this sequel to  Two Naomis , now that Naomi Marie’s mom and Naomi E.’s dad are married, the girls have learned to do a lot of things together, like All-Family Sunday dinners, sixth-grade homework, navigating the subway system by themselves, and visiting their favorite bakeries. Until sixth grade in a new school presents a whole new set of surprises and challenges. Trusting her gut has worked for Naomi E. all her life, and she figures that it will be an asset to her role as a Peer Mediator—until she realizes how much of the job requires the Art of Compromise, which she’s only just starting to get used to at home. Naomi Marie i

The Reece Malcolm List

The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding surprised me. Enough people I trust enjoyed it so I knew I would like it, but wasn't expecting to like it as much as I do. It is a really great book that is fun and has real heart and soul too. Synopsis: Things I know about Reece Malcolm: 1. She graduated from New York University. 2. She lives in or near Los Angeles. 3. Since her first novel was released, she’s been on the New York Times bestseller list every week. 4. She likes strong coffee and bourbon. 5. She’s my mother. Devan knows very little about Reece Malcolm, until the day her father dies and she’s shipped off to live with the mother she’s never met. All she has is a list of notebook entries that doesn’t add up to much. L.A. offers a whole new world to Devan—a performing arts school allows her to pursue her passion for show choir and musicals, a new circle of friends helps to draw her out of her shell, and an intriguing boy opens up possibilities for her first love. But the

Ash & Bramble

I have established that I love fairy tales and fairy tale retellings. You know what else I love? Books written by Sarah Prineas. Both her MG series are great favorites of mine. When she happened to mention on Twitter long ago that she was working on a YA, I followed closely eager to read whatever the result was. Ash & Bramble  is a fabulous work of genius. (I consider Sarah a friend as well as an author I love, and she sent me the ARC I'm reviewing here.) Pin lives in the Godmother's fortress sewing clothes with the other seamstresses tasked with producing the beautiful one of a kind ballgowns the Godmother uses for her mysterious purposes. Pin has no memories of her life prior to the day she begins her work as a slave to the Godmother's will. Everything that came before is a blank nothing. While she has no memories, she is still a person with a will and a fierce defiance to live her own life. She gets a chance to plan an escape when she is used as a foot model for