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Book Review: Morningside Fall

Morningside Fall by Jay Posey, Legends of the Duskwalker #2

The lone gunman Three is gone, and Wren is the new governor of the devastated settlement of Morningside, but there is turmoil in the city. When his life is put in danger, Wren is forced to flee Morningside until he and his retinue can determine who can be trusted.

They arrive at the border outpost, Ninestory, only to find it has been infested with Weir in greater numbers than anyone has ever seen. These lost, dangerous creatures are harbouring a terrible secret – one that will have consequences not just for Wren and his comrades, but for the future of what remains of the world.

Around this time last year I read another one of my favourite debuts. Three from Jay Posey. AND WOW!! Yes it really was that good. I am still fired up by it. My god I can still slap myself when I think that Three escaped my attention, luckily I was notified by Angry Robot about the release, was send an ARC and totally lost myself in the world that Jay Posey created in Three. It had a very raw feeling and the lone gunman Three readily pulled the story forward. Three was one of those protagonists that only raised more questions and didn't answer any, however nearing the ending Three parted ways with Wren and Morningside. When Angry Robot mentioned they send out a review copy I put my tent next to the postbox, I needed this book. Badly. But the big question does remain, can Jay Posey live up to his stellar debut Three? You will find out below... 

I don't know whether I should say that you should be warned when you pick up Morningside Fall, but just a note upfront: the tone of Morningside Fall is different that Three. A lot of other readers let it owe to the fact that Three if out of the picture, and they feel they lack strong characterization. Well to be honest, I find that the characterization is just as strong but since the whole point of view has been changed it just took some getting used to. Though it is a direct sequel and leave the thoughts that you want to have Three in the picture again. My advice focus on the current characters and the amazingly rich and yet again creative story that Jay Posey manages to put down.

Ok, first off, the prologue to Morningside Fall. This was really, really great, directly in the action-packed lines of what I have come to learn from it predecessor Three. It shows some of the troubles that might start to run rampant later on in the book. Jay Posey keeps a lot of things unclear but near the end of the prologue he does drop one name. That of Painter. If this is an "episode" he goes through regularly it could proof more that troublesome... With this prologue Jay Posey had put the mood just right for the continuation of Three

After the prologue the story of Morningside Fall focuses on the young boy Wren instead of the lone gunman Three, Three left Wren behind in the settlement of Morningside at the end of book one. Wren showed that he has an amazing gift, being able to "awaken" the Weir. It's by these powers that he has been held in awe by most of the inhabitants of Morningside. However it does soon come to show that not everyone is in favor of Wren being the new governor of Morningside. The situation becomes so dire for Wren that he has to face off assassins and starts to fear for his own life and that of his mother Cass. After all the lingering threats that Wren had to fight, the council, his mother and Wren himself find that the best solution is to flee Morningside, but whether this is a temporary solution or permanent they don't know yet, but it is the safest so far. Now that Wren, his friends and his mother have left Morningside behind they find themselves yet again in the midst of the destroyed wastelands, they were relative safe behind the walls of Morningside, but out in the open, with hardly any protection, you will start to fear when the Weir start to cry out at night... They still roam the wastelands in many, many numbers... I mentioned that I loved the aspect of the Weir in Three, these are a bit like zombie creatures, only a bit though! As you soon come to learn that the Weir are changing... certain assumptions were made about them in the first book, but be sure to abandon a few a long the way, it seems that they are evolving into more powerful beings. This is what Wren and his cohorts find out when they roam the wastelands yet again and proves to be a troublesome happening. Earlier "remedies" to fight of the Weir don't seem to be that effective anymore, a new solution has to be found...

Now there is one thing that Jay Posey adds to the storyline. Have you seen the guy on the cover? When I read Three, I directly knew it had to be the character Three. In the case of Morningside Fall, you have a blindfolded man, with some wicked blades strapped to his belt. I went through several secondary characters but just couldn't place him. He does look awesome doesn't he? So who could this one be? Luckily soon after the introduction to the story of Wren there is a short change in perspective where you focus on this man, he is powerful and a one to be feared of but there isn't a mention of WHO he is... Jay Posey keeps the identity of this man obscure for a long, long time. Each time his chapters were over I was looking forward to the next, I don't know how to describe the feeling I got of of him, I think it was the mysterious vibe and he was pretty awesome with his knives though. Anyway later we luckily learn that he is an old acquaintance, but who, I won't spill either. I liked the addition of the blindfolded man to the story and later with the follow-up of the events of Wren and end of the books does again hold a lot of promise. 

As for the characters of Morningside Fall, above I mentioned that the focus is on Wren and the inhabitants of Morningside and that Three is completely out of the picture. So for Wren character, not a lot of time has passed between the Three and where the story picks up in Morningside Fall. He is still a young boy. During his travels with Three you really saw him shine when he had those pads on his back, and for me it seems that he has grown tremendously by the guidance that Three gave him. For his age, Wren knows a lot, he is a clever and resourceful boy, he might have a bit of naivety in him but don't we all? However he is still faced with impossible situations, situations where he has to choose between whats will work for the good and for the bad. In the settlement of Morningside, he was a bit static but later when he ventures with his mother and friends on the wastelands he starts to develop more and more, really something that I wanted to read about. If I like back on the whole transition of Wren's character, from the start in Three down to the last page in Morningside Fall I can only but smile and say yes. Compared to Three there are much more secondary characters that make an appearance; many of the friends that Wren has made in Morningside amongst others his friend Painter (does that name ring any bells?), his mother Cass and many of the guards that come along during Wren flight from Morningside. Even though there is a strong focus on Wren's development, these side characters weren't just plain cut-outs, Jay Posey makes them all be unique and interesting, with just a few guiding sentences to introduce them and build on that for the remainder of the story, neatly nestles them into the storyline. 

The ending of Morningside Fall is again one that provides a lot of speculation of the direction where the hopefully third book will go. So far in the series we have seen a lot of the destroyed wastelands and places that were, lived the high times with Wren and Three but also their low times. But with the appearance of the blindfolded man and the journey their are about to embark on, could there still be a possible light at the end of this dark, dark tunnel? I am still living on a high when it comes down to these first two books in The Legends of the Duskwalker series. 

I have to say that I did expect a different kind of book for being the sequel to Three. But when I reflect on the whole story in Morningside Fall and combine this with all that has happened in Three I have to admit that I couldn't have wished for a better sequel. It has a lot of the cool idea's of the first book, but instead of being the introduction, Jay Posey further explains and builds upon these idea's. The focus isn't necessarily contained on one single person like the first book by Jay Posey broadens the whole scope of his post apocalytic story, involving many more different factors like human emotions, that can run pretty high when there is hardly anything left in the world that Jay Posey has build. Switching the focus on Wren instead of leaving it a Three might be difficult for some to accept, Wren is just as great a character as Three but on many different levels. Wren is a very smart boy but has that naivety that makes him easily relatable to, I am very eager to find out how Wren and the blindfolded man will manage in the third book. A great sequel to Three and Jay Posey clearly shows that he has one creative mind, bring on more of his stories! 


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