"Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion. But danger is never far behind.
Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trip, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.
The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine's twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can't seem to elude Rhine's father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the mansion... by any means necessary.
In this sequel to Lauren DeStefano's harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price - now that she has more to lose than ever." ________________________________________________
"We run, with water in our shoes and the smell of the ocean clinging to our frozen skin.
I laugh, and Gabriel looks at me like I'm crazy, and we're both out of breath, but I'm able to say, 'We made it,' over the sound of distant sirens."
If you haven't read the first book - Wither - yet, I very much suggest you do so. I loved that book and was super pumped for this second one. I wasn't sure what to expect, but there's a lot going on in this story.
So, Gabriel and Rhine escaped. But not for long - they end up in the hands of a crazy woman who pretty much runs a brothel in a carnival setting. It's crazy-sauce. Then they're on the run again - trying to get to New York to find Rhine's brother. Of course, they find opposition again and get dragged into very strange circumstances. And THEN... the world falls apart. Well, Rhine's world, at least. I'll leave that vague for ya :).
If the first book shows you what life was like for a sister wife of a rich man and his son, then this book is all about the world outside. How things are dealt with. The perils young women face. The stark reality that there is no safe place. I was a little surprised that it's so different from our world, yet things like mass transit still are in place. I guess that means there are still enough people to continue the cycle of life. Because the first book is so sheltered, I pictured the world a bit more bleak. More... dead. I was wrong, obviously.
One thing that I had a hard time getting through in this book is the amount of it spent in a medicated or sickly haze. There's a lot of it. There's drugs that they take themselves - or are forced on them... and then there's the sickness that leaves reality a bit more colorful. I found it hard to read through these parts - mostly because there was a ton of hallucinating. I understand that it works with the ailments... it just made things hard to read for me. Of course, on the other hand, it gives you even more insight to how things are perceived by our main characters. It occurs to me that the book is aptly named.
While there are crazy things that happen at every turn, I'm not sure any of them are overly surprising. Well, except the very last page. That gave me a shock and hope for the next book. Everything else is almost expected. I have read a couple of reviews that said this same thing. Shocking stuff, but not unexpected. I had a few times that I thought, "Well, of course he did." And, "What did you think would happen?" I liked a few of the characters that were added into this book - Silas and Claire, specifically. I hope to see them in the next leg of the story.
Now, while there are a few things that I had issue with - I still really enjoyed this story. There's lots of action, insane situations, and hope for the future. So I really can't complain. I know that the third book will really pull it all together. I can't wait for that... whenever that might be. If you liked the first book, I absolutely suggest you read this one. And then tap your toes with me for the third. :). I just know it will be amazing.