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Antebellum Awakening (The Network Series) (Volume 2) Paperback – September 11, 2014
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About the Author
Katie Cross grew up in the mountains of Idaho, where she still loves to play when she gets the chance. If she's not writing, you can find her traveling, working as a pediatric nurse, trail running with her husband and two dogs, or curled up with a book and a cup of chai.
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I did end up buying and reading it, obviously, but I'm sad to say this one isn't getting a better score. Funnily enough, some of the stuff that bugged me about the first book - the caricature of the Bad Guy, the cliffhanger, the lack of world building in such a fascinating world - wasn't as much of a problem here, and that's great. This sequel had a proper ending. It didn't ramp up the world building much, but my experience with Miss Mabel's had me feeling more tuned in from the start. Miss Mabel was still a caricature, but she played a much lesser part in this volume. (There were others to take her place, though. Maybe I just resigned myself to it?)
And I might have given this one four stars, except for one thing: Bianca. The main character. The one who impressed me so much in Miss Mabel's for her pluck and determination to do what she had to do in order to overcome impossible odds.
She...regressed or something. Now, don't get me wrong. If someone goes through a tragedy like Bianca's, I have some measure of understanding regarding regrettable behavior. But...how to do this without spoilers? Hmm: instead of taking a situation seemingly ready-made for crystallizing all that determination into a hardened, mature, unstoppable protagonist and force of good, she turned into a brat. Whining. Bad decision after bad decision. Sheer idiocy in some cases. I can see not wanting to make her into her own opposing caricature, a model of perfection, yes. But just like in the first book, where I complained about a lack of balance, a good author can give a character flaws, can leave room for further growth, without leaving the MC completely unlikeable. It's hard to write a glowing review when you're not fond of the MC, you know?
That's my strongest complaint, but not the only one. There were other aspects of the story that bugged me as well. Plot elements that never really amount to much... Potential for character development that could have given the story layers upon layers but went unfulfilled... The story wasn't bad at all. But it wasn't great, either.
Anyway, Bianca grew out of her snit...eventually...mostly. And I'm left with a book that, even though it ended on a supremely predictable note (yeah, saw that ending coming by about chapter two), even though I still don't think it lives up to the hype, nevertheless entices me to read on. If book three doesn't take too long to come out, I'll probably read it.
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