“Readers are propelled back into Rhine’s world – one full of constant uncertainty. While Rhine and Gabriel may have escaped the Mansion, they have not escaped what they have left behind. Actually, that’s not true for both, only Rhine. And Vaughn is not letting her get away that easily. He seems to always be one step behind, like Michael Myers in the Halloween movies – he comes out of nowhere, and I like it. I think readers will too.
The two things I really enjoy about this series are plot development and Rhine.
As far as plot development, DeStefano paces this novel a little more slowly than the first. It allows readers to slow down, experience what Rhine and Gabriel experience, and to patiently wait for what is to come. After all, we have to survive Madame just as much as Rhine and Gabriel. Readers will be surprised with the outcome of the escape, of the plan to get to Manhattan, and with the ultimate result of it all. I found the conclusion of this novel not as satisfying as Wither, but that is because I wanted more, not because the author faulted on the story.
For Rhine as a character – I love this girl. I don’t know what it is about her, but I root for her. I’m not even 100% sure what I am rooting for – just that she plays a major role in it. Which, of course she does because she is the main character, but still. I witnessed Rhine’s development in the first book more than in this one, and at the time I did not see what the author was setting up, but looking back I now get it – she allowed Rhine to develop more in the first book, to plot and escape, so that Rhine could slow down and deal with the consequences. And she does!
While Rhine may be escaping from Vaughn, and while he may be absent for a good portion of the first part of this novel, she still pays the price for her escape through the “torture” of Madame. Madame wants Rhine to be her special girl, the one who really brings in the money, but this is not a part of Rhine and Gabriel’s escape plan. There is not more I can say without ruining plot points, but trust me, Rhine would have been better off in that Mansion than in the hands of Madame.
I felt satisfied with this novel as a whole. I felt there were a few elements that could have been tweaked, but I am sure those elements will prove important in the next installment of Rhine’s story. If you’ve read and enjoyed Wither, you should not pass on this sequel. If you’re not sure if you should read it but you have read Ally Condie’s Matched series, then you will enjoy this one (and vice versa).”
chodgens wrote this review Tuesday, March 27, 2012.