Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Children Of The Underground - Trevor Shane




Children Of The Underground
The Children Of Paranoia Series #2
Trevor Shane
New American Library (NAL)
 
Thriller
 
Note:  If you haven’t read the first book, CHILDREN OF PARANOIA, this review is a near-complete spoiler.  Proceed at your own risk.  Better yet, read the first book.

A little over a year ago, a girl named Maria met a boy named Joseph.  The two fell in love and had a baby.  It should have been so simple, but nothing was simple at all.  Joseph was a solider in the War.  Maria knew nothing about the War.  There are strict rules.  One of the rules is that someone inside the War does not marry or have children with a civilian.  Joseph and Maria thought they could violate the rules and run and make a life.  They were wrong.
 
As this book opens, Maria is alone, having lost both Joseph and her infant son, Christopher.  In an act of true cruelty, meant to punish those who break the rules, Christopher was taken from Maria and give to the other side of the War.  Maria is desperate to find him.  The problems with that are infinite.  Maria has no training, no idea how to fight, how to find the people who took her son.  In fact, she has no idea who they are.  Her only hope is Michael, a friend of Joseph.  Her first task is to try and find Michael without anyone from either side knowing.  She documents her activities in a journal that she hopes her son will someday read.
 
A second storyline concerns Addy and Evan, who awake in Los Angeles in a house fire.  They’re both soldiers in the War, and the other side set fire to their ‘safe’ house.  Escaping the flames only puts them in the sights of snipers stationed outside.  After that, there’s no one to trust, unless Addy’s contact in Florida is still alive.  Phones and emails are too dangerous, so the two have to make their way across the country, dodging soldiers from the other side.
 
The second plot (contained in separate chapters) is far more interesting than Maria’s story.  Her story is that of a mother who will stop at nothing to be reunited with her son.  Her transformation from college student to fearless fighter takes place a bit too quickly and seamlessly to be believable.  In a very poignant touch, though, she carries a baby development book, so she knows exactly what she’s missing in her son’s life: his first smile, the first time he rolls over, crawling.  The story of Addy and Evan is far more compelling, both in terms of narrative and pacing.  The big point of this installment is to introduce the concepts of an Underground and a rebellion against this War that no one really understands.  That’s a fascinating concept, and I’m really looking forward to the next book (due out this fall) set within the Underground. 
 
Rating: 7 ½
April 2013
ISBN# 978-0-451-23929-7 (trade paperback)

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