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Pandora's Children (The Pandora's Trilogy Book 2) Kindle Edition
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As for the rating, I would have given the book 5 stars in a heartbeat, but for one plot twist that I couldn't quite buy. I guess this qualifies as a spoiler, so stop here if you don't want to know. One of the main characters, the charismatic leader called "The Principal," is set up in the first book, Pandora's Genes, as a violent pedophile. Then, in this book, he makes a complete turnaround and falls in love with an adult woman with whom he is gentle and loving. In the real world, pedophiles, especially violent ones, are not "saved by the love of a good woman." On the other hand, I'd like to believe they could be, so I managed to set aside my doubts and go with it. Please don't let this small criticism stop you from reading these books. Maybe if Lance writes another in the series (hint, hint) she can explore and explain this transformation a bit more.
There are new foes and dangers for Zach, Evvy, and Will the Principal in this book, and I was hardly able to put the book down because I just HAD to know who was doing what to whom. There were twists and turns and surprises that kept me guessing the whole way through. As soon as I finished I started the third and final book, Pandora's Promise, because I just wasn't willing to leave this world.
I continue to wish I had a fox-cat like Evvy's Baby. The depth of her understanding of what the humans need (sometimes even before they need it) and what they explain that they will need makes my cats look as smart as bricks. My Clinchfield doesn't even grasp the "Get off the table!" concept. Baby would not only stay off the table, but would make sure everyone else would stay off, too.
Lance explores the sociological aspects of this post-apocalyptic world in a realistic way, artfully portraying both the positives and negatives of the different factions. The scientific community of the Principal is ruled through logic, hard-won research and tough rules, but the seamy underside that is a part of any society is revealed proving nothing is perfect. While the religious zealots are obviously the antagonists, they are not simply cardboard enemies propped up only by the plot. There are reasons the religious Traders fear science and knowledge, and these reasons are explained in a very realistic, plausible way. Like human nature itself, it is possible to be sympathetic and repulsed by a character at the same time, and Lance shows us how it's done.
When a third group appears called the Road Men, we are suddenly reminded of the wider world of which this story is only a piece, the unknown on the horizon. The Principal now faces a larger threat to his community even as he faces ongoing personal peril. Will's search for Evvy is stymied by foul men and foul creatures alike, and Evvy fights for her very life against zealots who would sacrifice her to their God. All these exciting story lines are braided together quite satisfactorily in the end, but I am surprised there is no third book. There is still a fascinating world to explore, a fantastic setting with intriguing characters.
Kathryn is both a compelling story teller and oddly prescient.
My only complaint is that there was no third in the series, and I wanted to know what happened later in Evvy's and the Principal's lives.
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