Flashtide by Jenny Moyer
Book Two of the Flashfall series
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication Date: November 14, 2017
Rating: 3 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher
Summary (from Goodreads):
Orion has survived the tunnels of Outpost Five, filled with mutant creatures and dangers around every bend. She has traversed the cordons, exposed to the radiation of the flash curtain and hunted by forces that want her stopped, dead or alive. Now, with Dram by her side, she has made it to the safety of the mountain provinces, where free Conjurors live and practice their craft of manipulating matter.
But Orion's story is far from over.
With the effects of the flashfall spreading and the might of the protected city of Alara looming, Orion must travel into the hands of her enemies once again. Heart-pounding action and adventure await in this sequel to Flashfall.
What I Liked:
When I first heard that there would be a sequel to Flashfall, I was very excited, though a little apprehensive. I loved Flashfall so, so much. It ended perfectly, just as a standalone would. So hearing about a sequel was exciting, but at the same time, I wanted Flashfall to be exactly as it was. Sequels are often lackluster and disappointing, to some capacity. Unfortunately, that was definitely the case with Flashtide. While I still highly recommend Flashfall, I also recommend stopping there.
In this sequel, Dram and Orion are surviving with the Conjurors, hiding and biding their time, waiting for news of their respective fathers. But when one of Orion's hasty plans go wrong, Orion, Dram, and Roran are captured and taken to Alara. There, they are made Delvers and Brunts, enslaved in a different kind of priso. All the while, the effects of the flashfall are worsening, and Orion and Dram's health is waning. But in the midst of despair there is hope, and a shocking surprise that will change the course of events throughout all of the lands.
I had more dislikes than likes, so this review might seem all over the place. I didn't care for the story in general, or the pacing, and definitely not what Orion and Dram had to go through. Things I did like: Dram, Dram and Orion's relationship, love-triangle-free story, and the ending.
Dram was wonderful even when he wasn't at his best. He suffered so much and had to go through so many nightmares, and it was so difficult to watch. But he is strong, stronger than Orion, stronger than any other character in this book, and I have so much respect for him. He is so brave and selfless, and his best qualities make him a shining star in this story's darkness.
I loved Orion in the previous book, and I liked her for the most part in this book, but somehow I was a little less on her side than I was in the previous book. She made a lot of mistakes and could have handled a lot of things differently. Still, she was incredibly brave and strong like Dram, and even though she messed up a lot, she learned from and made up for her mistakes.
Despite the pair going through all kinds of nightmares and hell, their relationship stayed incredibly unshakable. There were many times in which it seemed like there would be no hope, because of death, or despair, or imprisonment. But I love how strong the bond between Dram and Orion is, and how it seemed to be present even when they were occupying the same space. I hated that they weren't together for many chunks of the book, but I was happy to see them fight for each other.
And YAY for no love triangle. Not that I was worried about one appearing (I wasn't), but it's always good to affirm that there is no love triangle in a book.
This book is awesome YA science fiction, I'll give it that. I love science fiction and so I'm always looking for new ones to read. YA doesn't have a ton of sci-fi, besides dystopias and space operas. This book deals with coronal mass ejections and solar flares and mines, which is so cool.
The ending is very happily-ever-after, and made me smile. Despite all that they went through, Dram and Orion forge on. They never give up hope and they are rewarded for it. I so wish there had been some sort of epilogue, especially if it reflected on Dram's promise to Orion. Hint, hint!
What I Did Not Like:
I really struggled with this book. From the start, I had a hard time continuing with the story. I kept asking myself, what's the point? Where is this going? What is the conflict? Why is this happening and that happening? I didn't get a good grasp of the overall conflict of this book. With Flashfall, it was obvious what Dram and Orion were fighting for and up against. In this book, I got a good sense from scene to scene, but not the overall conflict.
And besides that, I found this book to be a little on the boring side. I had to start skimming pages in order to keep myself invested in the story. I went back and reread some of the passages I skimmed and they added nothing to my understand - or lack thereof - of the story. I was bored, and a little confused, and very disinterested.
I couldn't quite connect with Orion like I did in Flashfall. She made costly mistakes in this book, and those mistakes came from plans that didn't seem like her. Her plans didn't seem calculating and thought-out, like one would expect from her.
I hated how much Dram had to suffer. He had to suffer the most in the book, and it was so painful to watch. Orion didn't have suffer nearly as much. I take so much issue with this because she is the protagonist - why is she not sharing some of this suffering? Why do authors do this? Why shift all of the negativity and pain to one character? Especially the best and most selfless character of the book - why? Dram deserved better. His suffering wasn't specifically Orion's fault - I'm just saying she should have also suffered from something else, or he should have suffered less. Honestly I expected him to have PTSD or something, from all that he had to go through. The poor guy!
Also, the romance is barely there in this book! Yes, it is obvious how strong Dram and Orion's bond is. But they are rarely together, after the one-third mark or so. The romance was huge in Flashfall. It's not such a factor in this book.
I think the biggest thing was that I didn't know where this book was going. What was Orion striving to achieve? At first I thought she was trying to save her friends and father and whatnot. But then, after she and Dram get captured, I lost the aim of the book. And in the climax, what exactly happened? What did Orion do that changed X and Y and Z? What were those changes? I was very confused as to how the "big" things changed. There was a lot going on in the climax and not a lot of it made sense to me. And yes, I tried very hard to read the climax and ending closely.
At least the ending in general was a HEA.
Would I Recommend It:
I actually would not recommend reading this sequel novel. Flashfall wrapped up perfectly and you should stop there. I really recommend Flashfall, as it was one of my favorite books of 2016. But this book isn't necessary (though it is a direct sequel). This book doesn't really add a lot to Dram and Orion's story - well, what I mean is that the ending of each book are the same HEA (which is good... but also I still don't quite understand the point of this book). While I was very satisfied with the ending of this book (and the series in general), I really can't declare that I loved a book based on its ending. I'm relieved that there was a HEA but I needed more than that.
Read Flashfall though. It was excellent. And the romance was so THERE.
3 stars. I'm sad to give this book a meh rating because I adored Flashfall. But this sequel did not live up to its predecessor. The good thing is that Flashfall is basically a contained story and you could shut your eyes and pretend Flashtide was not a thing. And I'm sure people who try Flashtide might have a different reaction than mine. But for me... this book was a little disappointing.
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