And, as is often the way with sequels eagerly awaited, this was a disappointment.
The first book, 'The Knife of Never Letting Go', dealt with hero Todd and heroine Viola as they raced across New World away from the chasing army of Mayor Prentiss and towards the town of New Haven. As they ran they tried to understand why they had to run and the reader was encouraged onwards with the dribble of information leaking from sparse clues (it was a brilliant move that Todd, carrying a map and a book, could not read and was too ashamed of this fact to let Viola read for him). A wonderful twist was the fact that hero and heroine both succumb to temptation, both are flawed. And of course one never but never knows whom to trust.
Book 2 begins exactly at the cliff hanger where Book 1 finished. Todd is is prison, later being made to work at a Spackle farm, being corrupted by the everyday presence of evil around him. Viola works as a healer. But Viola's friends become freedom fighter, terrorists, bombers, as a resistance movement grows against the army into which Todd is being inducted. Throughout, President Prentiss manipulates Todd and Viola, tricking them into betrayals of themselves and one another.
Perhaps I was unhappy that Todd has sunk so low. Perhaps I have become bored by the minimalist prose, otherwise so fresh and exciting. But I think the reason why this was a good read rather than a great read is that it has become more predictable. I know a lot more of what is going on in New World so this is now a fight between Good and Evil (and, yes, it is still true that I am not always certain who is good and who is evil) and thus less interesting.
Still a good read though and I have already started book 3, 'Monsters of Men'.