book two of The Internment Chronicles
by Lauren DeStefano
to be published by Simon and Schuster
on March 3, 2015
read as an ARC
After escaping through the bottom of Internment, Morgan and her fellow fugitives aboard the great mechanical bird land on the ground to finally learn what has lived beneath their floating island home all these eons.
The ground is a strange place where water falls from the sky as snow, and customers watch moving pictures and visit speakeasies. A place where families can have as many children as they want, their dead are buried in vast gardens of bodies, and Internment is the feature of an amusement park.
It is also a land at war.
Everyone who fled Internment had their own reasons to escape their corrupt haven. But caught under the watchful eye of another king that wants to dominate his world, they wonder if coming to the ground will drag Internment down with them.
"There is a need, in every world, to believe in things that cannot be seen."
This second installment of The Internment Chronicles is my favorite DeStefano book thus far: she takes the concept of the second-book slump and turns it on its head, filling Burning Kingdoms with intrigue, suspense, thrilling romance, and believable, almost tangibly real characters. This novel is a perfect example of why I love reading.
Fresh off the mystical, floating island of Internment, the one Morgan calls home, she finds herself in a new, strange land. (Hint: the ground.) Stranger than all is the war that builds in front of her eyes, brutal and terrifying.
"'That's the illusion of war,' he says. 'You think the world is over when your city comes down. But then you realize that you're just one city on a planet the size of ten million cities.'"
DeStefano packs her prose with gut-wrenching emotion, from vivid descriptions to soulful sociopolitical commentary. Her writing talent adds to the impact carried by the strong, steadily captivating plot and the believable, distinguished characters, creating a smart YA fantasy novel that packs emotional punches.
Even the included love triangle feels fresh. The issue of the love triangle is, to put it lightly, divisive among YA readers, but I am personally not against it if it works. In Burning Kingdoms, it works; I find myself rooting for both sides, something that takes characterization talent to accomplish.
The conclusion to The Internment Chronicles cannot come fast enough! I will be awaiting it with greedy, open arms.