Children of the Underground
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Publisher: NAL Trade
Children of Paranoia #2
Format(s): Paperback (400 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
Even if you have choices, sometimes you have only one worth taking.
The war had been raging for as long as anyone could remember. The secret, endless war between two opposing sides—one good, one evil. Neither side knows which is which; it is kill or be killed in an invisible conflict where assassination is the weapon of choice.
When she was just seventeen, Maria was pulled into this secret war and they killed her lover and stole her child. Now they are telling her to go home. To ignore what she knows is going on in the shadows all around her. They told Maria to forget all she’d lost. The trouble is, some things simply can’t be forgotten.
Now, with a loose-cannon killer at her side, Maria is going to do whatever it takes to get back what belongs to her. And that means starting a war of her own…
When we first met Maria in Children of Paranoia, she was a seventeen year old girl who’d fallen in love with a dangerous man, gotten pregnant, and realized, too late, that the world wasn’t what she thought it was. Instead of the rules she was used to (flirting with an attractive man, attending university, growing up), she discovered that a secret war, perpetuated by fear and vengeance, was being waged all around her, and had been for so many generations that no one could say for certain why the killing began in the first place. This war was dictated by an entirely different set of rules. Rules that quickly and brutally destroyed everything that she loved. No longer an innocent in “the War,” she’s now determined to take back what was stolen from her so long ago, no matter the cost.
Although this isn’t a genre I typically choose for myself, I have very much enjoyed the novels in the Children of Paranoia series so far. Children of the Underground was even more clever and intricate than its predecessor, the characters’ stories unfolding via dual storylines playing out simultaneously, offering the reader a view of the future unfolding alongside the present, and tying both together within each chapter. It isn’t nearly as confusing as it sounds. By telling Maria’s story via her journal entries to her son, Mr. Shane continues what he began in Children of Paranoia, while opening the door for her son, Christopher, who may be a messiah in the making, to tell his story in the next book.
Children of the Underground is not light reading. Nor should it be read as a standalone. There is simply too much story contained in the first novel in the series to fully appreciate the second without, and I wholeheartedly recommend starting this series from the beginning. Both sides of “the War” believe in their own righteousness, as well as the other side’s inherent evil, yet neither really knows which is which anymore. Innocence is lost. The “good guys” don’t always survive. There is plenty of death, and blood, and pain, yet there is always an undercurrent of determined hope. Maria’s hope for her son is pervasive, and is, in itself, a kind of salvation for those who are touched by it. And that salvation, while it doesn’t guarantee a happy ending, makes life worth living again for as long as it lasts. In the end, Maria’s story is one of sacrifice and love, and I will be eagerly awaiting the next novel in the series.
Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)