Epic Conclusion – Ripped From The Headlines. I’ve had this book for almost exactly 6 months before publication. (Yes, that means it was an Advanced Reader Copy, with all that that entails.) Finally read it (hello, 180+ books this year, all ARCs), and y’all… dayum. This book was written no later than 2019 ish, *well* before the Summer of 2020 that saw massive riots all across the US, many of which seemed to be sparked by outside agitators. And guess what plays into the plot here? Overall the Saunders Sisters do an excellent job of focusing on four key perspectives – the Traitorous Twins, The Hacker, and The Dictator’s Grandson – and yet managing to make the battles *feel* far larger than just those four people. (Much as many films – including Lord of the Rings and the Avengers movies – do with similar character sets.) Fans of the series will enjoy many callbacks to the previous two books, and newbies to the series should absolutely start with Book 1 – The Rule Of One – as each book very much builds on the previous. A truly satisfying conclusion, and yet also one that allows them to come back to this world, should they so choose. Very much recommended.
Excellent Middle Chapter. In this middle entry into the dystopian YA trilogy at hand, we get a solid second chapter that does exactly what a middle chapter is supposed to – continue to build out the world while amping up both the action and the consequences. Here we even get a couple of interesting wrinkles thrown in. And of course the inevitable final clash… that turns out to not be quite so final. Which means it aces the final thing the middle book has to do – get you to come back for Book 3. And in this case, you’re absolutely going to want Book 3 to see just how this gets fully wrapped up. Solidly done in world while perhaps playing a bit to closely to the “rules” of the genre. Very much recommended.