I honestly don't even know where to begin. It feels like I've been waiting for this book forever and now that it is out I can hardly believe it. I bought it the day it came out on my lunch break and couldn't wait to dive in. Unfortunately, I wasn't sure what the heck was going on so I had to reread Red Queen before I delved back into Mare's world.
As always there is a ton going on, and we are promised another book at the end. Part of me is so excited for another book and another part feels like Mare and Cal just need a break. This book was nonstop action from beginning to end. Mare develops PTSD and depression. Even anxiety. These feelings all resonate with me since I have them too, and it can get to be kind of a hard read sometimes. I delve deeply into books that I love, so I feel what they feel. I'm right there with them. It can get to be overwhelming even if you don't have your own history getting in the way.
Mare is so much less trusting in this book, and there is so much pain. She still tries to be a good leader, a good role model, and just good but she is faced with lose/lose decisions and no ways out. It can be easy to scoff at her reasoning and her mindless determination, but you have to remember how she grew up. Mare was a thief, and did what she could to protect her family and help them out. She didn't have any real education, only her wit and intuition. Could we rise to become what our people needed us to be? Maybe. Would we make mistakes? of course. Poor Mare. Cal is hard to read, and harder to tell what is going through his mind. I kind of wish the book was third person omniscient, even if it just focused on Cal and Mare, or even told from both their perspectives. A companion book, maybe?
Sometimes the story can feel a little choppy. Other times is drags even when there is a lot going on. The alternate ending to Red Queen that was in my copy blew my mind and utterly messed up everything. I wouldn't read it if I were you, I wish I hadn't. There weren't any spoilers, but "what if" questions are always dangerous.