When I read Three, Book #1 of Legends of the Dustwalker, by Jay Posey, it blew me away and I’ve been anxiously awaiting Book #2, Morningside Fall. In Three, the world building was excellent, the characters grabbed hold and wouldn’t let go, and the storyline was riveting. This is a post-apocalyptic, dystopian series with sci-fi, action adventure, and paranormal elements. It’s got a bit of Mad Max feel to it but it’s so much more than that. Yep, I’m a big fan and I suspect you will be too if you’re into this kind of novel.
Spoiler Alert: Although I guess you could potentially read Morningside Fall without reading Three first, I think this series really does need to be read in order because there is a lot of world building in Three that’s necessary for Morningside Fall to make sense. That said, it’s your call. This review does provide spoilers for Three so you might at least want to read that review first – a link to it appears at the end of this review.
The gated city of Morningside has gone through hell but Wren, Cass, and the Council have done their best to patch it back together again. Some of the citizens still have a hard time accepting the weir among them whose humanity has been restored to them and that causes a lot of tension on both sides.
“’Wren? You OK?’
‘I’m not who they think I am, Mama,’ he said quietly. And his words had such weight that she knew this, at last, had been what he’d been building up to say.
‘Any of them.’ He looked so small to sound so weary. Cass returned to her son and crouched in front of him. She lifted her veil and took his face in her hands. His cheeks were cool from the morning air.
‘Listen to me,’ she said. ‘Last night wasn’t about anything you did, or anything you could’ve done. And you never have to try to be anything that you aren’t.’
Without taking his eyes from hers, Wren said, ‘I do, Mama. I do have to try. Every day.’
He said it with such quite authority, Cass couldn’t think of anything to say…”
To make things even worse, the weir outside the city gates appear to be much more organized in their attempts on the gates – something no one has ever seen before. They’re dangerous enough individually but as an organized force, they could bring the city to its knees; however, Wren and Cass don’t seem able to convince the Council that the threat level has increased dramatically.
Add to that volatile mix an assassination attempt and the discovery of a conspiracy within the Council, and Wren’s governoring is on borrowed time. When betrayal finally strikes, he, Cass, and the guards loyal to them barely escape with their lives.
“A man with a knife was standing in the hall. Wren could feel him, and lay still, absolutely still, like Mama had taught him, covers pulled tight to his mouth out of fear that his breath might escape and somehow invite attack…Whoever was out there wasn’t moving. Just standing. For an instant, Wren nearly pimmed his mother, quietly reaching out to her through the digital connection. But no. He might catch the burst of signal, recognize the warning and then it’d be the same as a scream.”
“The attack had raised so many questions in her [Cass’] mind; there were too many shifting variables for her to grasp anything solid. But despite the cloud of confused and swirling thoughts, something in her gut insisted that someone from the Council had been involved.
With Wren removed from the meeting, the Council members would be off-balance; some would be less guarded, others more so. Reading them would be critical. Cass needed all the focus she could muster. She drew the veil back down over her face. And with a sharp, short breath she steeled herself, and headed toward the Council Room.”
When the Council strikes again, Cass and Wren are forced to hide out in Mr. Sun’s teahouse while they format a plan. Then they are forced to flee the city for Chapel’s village, the last refuge on Wren’s journey with Three across the weir-infested Strand to Morningside. The weir they encounter along the way also exhibit more organized hunting behavior, sounding an eerie call to arms when they locate Wren and Cass. The guard force’s casualties mount as each battle becomes more of a struggle and ammunition begins to run low.
Finally they reach the village, only to find it in ruins. As they sift through the rubble, they’re approached by a group of survivors who’ve returned to gather what useful items might still be found. The survivors tell them that Chapel was taken by the weir in their battle, which saddens Wren immensely. After some discussion, the ex-villagers offer them a place to stay at their new camp while the Morningside group decides where to go next. But all is not as it appears at this heavily armored camp and it makes Wren uneasy.
Should they stay or should they go? Where can they go to be safe while they figure out how to save Morningside from its misguided Council members? Will Morningside even still exist if the weir continue to batter its gates, without Wren there to hold them off? Is there anywhere safe on this world any longer?
Morningside Fall provides additional character development for Wren, Cass, and their cohorts. Wren has matured a lot during his journey and, at times, it’s hard to remember that he’s just a child. He almost literally carries the weight of the world on his back because of his special talents. I was happy to see how Cass’ character has developed from when we first met her. I thought she was a total wimp and victim at first but she has grown into a force to be reckoned with – quite literally. I couldn’t help but hope that Three would be resurrected somehow in Book #2 because I loved that character, but the weir/walker who appears in Book #2 is pretty damn awesome and a great surprise, and Wren’s guards and loyal friends are also an amazing group. All of the characters in this novel are just as well developed and real, and excellent, as the ones in Book #1.
You never know whether Book #2 in a series will be as good as Book #1. Rest easy – although Morningside Fall has to take a different tone because of story development, I feel it’s every bit as good as Three, and it just makes me anxious to read Book #3! I recommend this series to anyone who likes non-stop action adventure or sci-fi or paranormal or post-apocalyptic/dystopian novels – how’s that for a laundry list? This series has all of that along with very well-crafted characters who will quickly feel like friends. So get those keyboard keys clacking Mr. Posey, because I’m ready for the next installment!
Can’t wait to read it?
Morningside Fall was published in the U.S. on April 29, 2014 and will be published in the UK on May 1, 2014, so it’s available from your favorite online bookseller. Just click on the button/link below (or in the right column for iBooks) to get it to read now!
I’d love to get your comments on Morningside Fall, Jay Posey or his other work, and/or this review. Click here to read our review of Three, Book #1 from Legends of the Dustwalker.
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