So at the end of the last book, the ambush and takeover of The Grove, the last place known to have planted trees that had been kept hidden by the Ministry, the government in charge of air supply back in the pod, Alina, Bea and Quinn have been separated. Well, Bea and Quinn are together until they have to separate again to find help for an injured friend. Meanwhile, everyone who had survived the attack, which The Ministry estimates was nobody, are trying to regroup to hatch a new plan. The one plan they have is to go to Sequoia; a supposed haven, and another with trees. Somewhere that will help the survivors fight - and breathe.
Now, my my, was this a satisfying breath of fresh air. Even though I'd forgotten most of the characters, minus Alina, Bea and Quinn of course, oh, and the hilarious hag Maude, I'd forgotten how interested I actually was to see what the next step of bringing down the Ministry was. Essentially, being in control of the world's air, or the pod's air at least, and making profits out of it, both brings in the bucks and makes them the kings. I think I'm going to start taking back what I said about not liking duologies and preferring trilogies. Dualed, Proxy and Breathe have all had only one sequel which had been a big improvement. And after Siege and Storm, maybe the feel of finishing the whole thing up so fast is not so bad.
A good portion of the book features the characters trying to reunite, and while I remember a few moments where I thought the several character viewpoints were devouring the pages a little too much, the end result was satisfying. One advantage Sarah Crossan gives herself by promising at least a fight, hence the cover and the difference between it and the cover of the first, makes you keep turning the pages to find out, with a romantic relationship without spoiling the idea of surviving with not much time or food on your hands. Picture the situations of the rebels as running low on money - except there's no insurance or assistance after you're bankrupt, and the account enforcement officers are after you. This was the same way it was back in Breathe, but I think I enjoyed this sequel more, because of my experiences with finales that made a main character pass out as an excuse to end the fight without taking over and this book was a far cry from that. Having numerous viewpoints thankfully prevent this.
A few things I could've done without this book (and there are few) is that one character gets injured and I felt there could've been another way for her to get hurt. From their focus, it seemed a little unlikely. And maybe if there was just a little more development of Sequoia, maybe more detail on the surveys and sheets that are supposedly made out of stone and how this guard comes across a paper book, the environment would've felt more creepy. And I was close to only giving this a 2 or a 2 1/2 but it's when the final battle arrives when the muscles really start to flex.
There is an intriguing character death that I think indirectly reminds people the importance of equality; this character suffocates in an environment where there are people used to breathing air that feels like "swallowing boiling water". There is also a death I really didn't see coming, and though it wasn't as heartbreaking as the one at the end of Shredder, I dwindled in finishing it up for a while. Sarah Crossan somehow managed to fit an ending into a brief set of pages without seemingly rushing anything important and the numerous twists were both original and unpredicted.
In short, I mentioned in my Siege and Storm review that sometimes you like and dislike books in the same series and it can take a while before you choose if you recommend it or not. Resist makes it so I recommend the Breathe series. I just may flip through the first book again to take another look. And though this is only 3 stars for now, I'm giving it a strong 3 stars like the grade I gave to Crusher. Maybe I'll bump it to a 3 1/2 or 3 1/4 like Flyte. Let me think about it while I choke on my next book.