Monday, 25 February 2013

review: The Lives We Lost

by Megan Crewe
Disney/Hyperion, February 12 2013
young adult sci-fi/post-apocalyptic
ARC received via publisher (thank you!)

Kaelyn's best friend Leo has just returned to their quarantined island home -- only to bring the news that there is no hope to come from the mainland. But when Kaelyn finds a possible vaccine in her father's lab, she's determined to bring it to Ottawa in the hopes that someone will be able to replicate it. Joined by Gav, Leo, Tess, Meredith and a few new additions along the way, Kaelyn discovers that the government has emptied, renegade groups have taken over, and no one is guaranteed safety.
The cover:

I am an absolute sucker for huge block text that has been type-masked over an image, and while this colour scheme is a little too dreary (not to mention it contrasts far too much with the initial cover), it definitely evokes the right mood for the novel.

The book:

There are two main arcs to this book: the characters' survival, and the characters' emotional development. Unfortunately, the first isn't engaging enough to carry the story. Even though realistic living needs problems come up and the setting changes regularly, the issues faced by our group of characters grow to become repetitive and a little boring; they simply aren't gripping enough to base the story around. So when the emotional tribulations come around, they're welcome, as we get to see a relationship that was a mere phantom in the former book resurrect and morph.

Kaelyn is a well-pitched protagonist: focused on her goal without seeming overbearing and obsessive. Though her constant state of abject worry may grate, enough emotional fluctuation occurs so that it's not too tiresome overall. Her relationship with Gav also avoids beating the obvious path of a break-up; instead, Crewe introduces a not-unexpected but still-interesting twist to him. With so many characters, though, we don't get nearly enough time to see the characters as their own individual people.

Given that the plot is so very straightforward, the ending comes as a disappointment, as nothing is truly resolved; the protagonists simply decide to move onto another target to continue to try and achieve their main goal. That being said, it isn't a cliffhanger; in fact, to me, it was the opposite. I just didn't find it appealing enough to trudge through a third book to find out the goal of this second book.

Rating: 2.9 out of 5