Let me just begin by saying . . . I COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN. What a ride!
Second books are normally the make it or break it for most series. This book far surpassed my expectations, which is a really cliche thing to say. But it's true. I practically read the book all in one day. And that's rare for me.
The story is emotionally gripping. And the mind games? So. Intense. I don't know who to believe, who to trust. I can't even trust Lune's judgement about . . . anything. The secrets continue to unearth and only grow more haunting and more intense.
The story's pacing was brilliant and kept me flipping pages. I swear, I barely drew breath! And the writing. Gah! The writing was gorgeous.
Characterization didn't waiver. Not once. And honestly, that's what sold this book to me. Especially the middle. I wanted to scream and pound on Lune for easily falling into trust, especially with a certain character. ESPECIALLY after this character confessed their ability. My red flags were waiving furiously. And yes, I intentionally obscured gender as to not spoil. Because, OMG.
Worldbuilding is amazing. I love how well thought out this post-apocalyptic world is. And, I love that it's plunked in the middle of nature. So many dystopian / post-apoc stories are sterile and/or in wastelands. But this world teams with nature, even mutated nature that feels terrifyingly prehistoric at times. The primal nature emerging from the infected human DNA is sensorially rich and . . . downright animal.
And that ending (!!!)
READ THIS BOOK.