78.0%”Every single time now that I see “Todd?” written, I keep hoping that somehow, someway, Manchee made it. i know he didn’t. I know. I just hope he did. I have never before felt such an affinity to a fictional dog. At least, not since Wishbone and he didn’t die…and Old Yeller doesn’t count, because I saw the movie, I didn’t read his adventures. Sad.” page 401
83.0% “*stunned* Wow. Now that was a twist that prior to a few sentences ahead of time, I did not see coming at all.” page 464
96.0%”What a scene. Good on Viola for not letting Aaron win against Todd like that.”
99.0% “Finished with book one. Reading the short story at the end.”
As you can clearly see I may have felt a strong affinity to Manchee.
This story was compelling.
I enjoyed the writing style. I am sure there are some readers that found it distracting or annoying, however, it fit the story element and that’s important. The choice of writing this way was intentional to show how Todd was lacking in education. It worked well I thought. Some may disagree.
The short story at the end wasn’t as page-turning for whatever reason, maybe since I was still living in the aftermath of what all had just occurred to be pulled into prior events leading up to the story beginning, but it was worth a read to get some backstory on Viola.
Book Two opened with Viola badly injured and Todd hasn’t seen or heard from her. The self-appointed “President Prentiss” hasn’t allowed them to see each other. He splits the women from the men, the Spacks from the humans, and the haves from the have-nots basically.
A mind-game power play happens through the first third of the book. An unforeseen death occurs which Viola feels responsible for. The town is very uneasy under their new “leader”.
Viola tries to help out the healers. Todd is roped into working with Davy and branding the Spacks.
Then the bombings begin.
Notes on Book Two: “The Ask and The Answer”
42.0%”I had and do have a funny little feeling about what the “President” is doing tactically speaking here. It is a smart move, very callous, but clever…” page 229
56% “The way that the quiet are portrayed, from the Spacks to the women of the towns, are real to war situations in that the group tries to make enemies of those they don’t understand. Very moving and sad.” page 301
61.0%”I knew it! I knew it! I knew it! That bastard!” page 330
65% “*shakes head furiously* Knew this was coming. Knew it. Doesn’t make it any easier though.” page 347
Todd finds himself doing some things that he didn’t really think he would do. The way that the “President” forces Davy and Todd to work together is as smart as it is manipulative. This man knows his tactics. Not only is he playing psychical chess with these people, he is also playing psychologically with everyone as well.
It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that these books deal very heavily with what happens when those in power try to play games with the people they are “ruling”. The power struggles, the rebellions, the conditioned responses and feelings of powerlessness are all portrayed here in a way that shows more than it tells.
The Spacks are being abused and treated as little more than sheep. They are branded. Even when they co-operate, they aren’t fighting back, that isn’t good enough and Davy makes them suffer.
The women are being abused in all forms and many of the sick at one point not allowed to be healed. The women are quiet in a way too and this irks the President.
There is a quote used a few times “We are the choices we make” and I feel it is a fitting one for the themes covered in this sequel.
Just because you can’t hear them, they don’t talk like you do, they don’t speak your language, does *not* mean that you are superior, better, or that your life is worth more than theirs.
I truly believe this series should be required reading in schools. I don’t say that lightly either. I have never said that about a series before, but I really do think it should be. The series should be read by older teens for comprehension of the themes and also because the highly stylized writing may be confusing for younger readers building their vocab skills.
Filled with moments that tug on the heart-strings without being emo about it, this shows what is happening without telling you how you as a reader should feel about it.
And Oh! That ending!
For whatever reason, I really couldn’t get into the bonus story at the end of this one either. (I had the same problem with the short story of the first book too…and I definitely think it is that I am still in the “story” and swept up in that and can’t focus enough for the slow down and different pacing.) I would be interested if anyone else has read this series, or when they do, if anyone else had that same trouble with the bonus stories.
Notes on Book Three: “Monsters of Men”:
I adored, loved, and shouted to the rooftops really my love for the first two…but for whatever reason I just could NOT get into the final installment of this series. I was trying to ponder why exactly and the answer is I’m not sure. Maybe I just missed Manchee too much, perhaps I wasn’t digging the change of the alliances, could be I just wasn’t that into it anymore due to a small gap time in reading the first two. Who can say?
I can say that I felt bogged down in reading and felt like I had to slog my way through the first 80 pages before jumping ship.
The third one sadly was destined for the dreaded did not finish from my Goodreads account.
Can’t win ’em all I suppose.