**WARNING — POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD (FOR BOTH THIS AND THE PREVIOUS BOOK IN THE SERIES THREE**
I raved, not too long ago, about Three, the first book of the Legends of the Dustwalker series by Jay Posey and I was both excited and fearfully nervous about starting this second book. After all, Three was so good, it would be impossible to follow it up with something equally fantastic or even better, right? Right?
So Morningside Fall didn’t quite live up to all that Three offered, but it was still an incredible read that had me hooked as soon as I began. You don’t have to read Three first … I think that Morningside Fall covers all that is needed to know to understand the current batch of characters, though I do think the reader might get a better grasp on why the characters act as they do if Three is read first.
A quick summation:
The child, Wren, is the Governor of Morningside. His mother, Cass, is his constant companion and advisor. A board of officials are mostly respectful to Wren, but it becomes quickly clear that Wren is nothing more than a figurehead to them, despite his having shown the potential for incredible power. But this is a book of politics, power, and war, and typically a child will come out on the short end in such a struggle. But as is usually the case, there are always those few who will serve, follow, and protect the leader no matter what is age might be.
This book takes a turn from what we had in Three, but the turn is a natural progression of the story. This will seem like a bit of a departure, but I am reminded of the movie Alien. If you are over 40, you might remember when Alien came out. It was awesome. It was like nothing else at the time. And then they came out with a sequel, Aliens. There was no way it could live up to the first movie, right? The sequel had soldiers, with massive weaponry, as opposed to the first movie’s rag-tag crew and solitary heroine. So it was clearly a different movie, with a couple of the same characters and settings. And it worked. Here, we have something very similar. Instead of the small party working their way across a landscape riddled with dangers, we have some of the same characters in most of the same setting, with armed guards. And it works. Mostly.
It feels like there’s a lot of set-up here. Once in the (relative) comfort of Morningside there isn’t a lot of physical action. The physical action of Three (and ‘the three’) against the odds in the first book really moved the pace along. Here we spend more time with political backstabbing and the introduction of a few new characters. Author Posey does introduce a character, a blindfolded man, who would rival Three for pure action. After reading the first chapter with this new character I thought: ‘Yes! Posey definitely knows how to write an action sequence!’ I think I was holding my breath during the entire chapter! It is these scenes that keep us going, and we can sense the simmering unrest in Morningside, and this is what keeps us turning pages, waiting for climax.
We do learn just a little more about the Weir (a strange, electrified zombie) and they take on even more of a dominant role here. And, as we see with the Weir, it seems, in science fiction, you can’t count anyone down, even if they die, so it isn’t unrealistic to expect a few familiar faces.
I mentioned, in my review of Three, a connection to a Christian theme, and I see that continuing here, but I’ll wait for the final book before remarking more on this.
My biggest issue with this second installment in the Legends of the Dustwalker series is … (if you’ve been reading my reviews you can probably fill in the blank before I do!) … that it isn’t a complete book in itself. Whereas in Three you could read to the end and feel satisfied that you had a complete book, with an ending to the story, Morningside Fall ends with a big question mark. There are too many unanswered questions to feel like a satisfying conclusion to the story at hand. There is clearly another book to come. Instead of a beginning, a middle, and an end there is a beginning, a middle, and an open door. And while Posey sets up the blindfolded character tremendously, he could easily be written out of the book without disrupting the current story. I can only assume (and hope) he plays a much bigger role in volume three.
But even with these criticisms in mind, Jay Posey still writes one heck of a darn good yarn! I’m sold on this Legends of the Dustwalker series and will eagerly read the third book when it comes out. I’ll also read anything Posey puts on paper. For me, the highest compliment I can think of for a writer is that I would buy his/her book in hardcover as soon as it’s released. There are only four writers for whom that currently holds true for me. Now five.
Looking for a good book? Jay Posey’s follow-up to Three, Morningside Fall, continues the high adventure in a dystopian world and is a fantastic read. It is a part of a series and a book that should be on your read list!
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author: Jay Posey
series: Legends of the Dustwalker #2
publisher: Angry Robot
paperback, 432 pages