Review Detail

 
Cross Fire Featured
Young Adult Fiction
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0

YA Sci-Fi At It's Best

Smart, well-paced, and intensely thought provoking. This series is on track to redefine sci-fi expectations for the YA genre.

Once again, the story is told in third-person past tense—entirely from the viewpoint of young soldier Donovan Reyes. Donovan is still mentally recovering from his time in captivity, and the loss of both parents to opposing ends of the conflict over the alien colonization of Earth. His instilled-since-childhood loyalty to SecPac and the Zhree is evolving—as is his perspective on Sapience, the recently fragmented extremist group his sort-of-girlfriend belongs to.

The human resistance (Sapience) is seemingly getting what they’ve always wanted. Thanks in part to the terror attacks and opposition they’ve been met with in recent years, the Zhree homeworld has decided that Earth isn’t worth developing or protecting any longer. They’ve ordered an evacuation of their entire species. And they’ve decided a small percentage of their human collaborators will evacuate with them, to preserve the human species in some form once the planet inevitably falls to the scavenging Rii.

But many Zhree were hatched on Earth and know no other home. For those carrying eggs, the trip back to their technical homeworld would endanger or doom their brood. And all would look forward to being dismissed and discriminated against as “offworlders.” As for the humans, the consequences are even more bleak. The evacuation of human Exos demands that most leave some or all of their families behind to face certain death—either at the hands of a vengeful Sapience anarchy, or eventually, to the whims of the genocidal Rii.

Oh, the sociological and political nuances!

There are still no easy answers to any of the moral conundrums we encountered in Exo, and I love it for that alone. But in Crossfire we do see that the prioritizing of survival demands a mighty shift in the power dynamic. The interpersonal aspects are truly honed in this installment. The closer relationships between the SecPac soldiers and some of their Zhree comrades illustrates the interrelational conundrums in their uneven governing structure. The tensions between homeworld Zhree and Earth colonist Zhree highlights a vast cultural and political complexity within the alien species itself. And the empathy-building connection between Donovan and Anya is used expertly to show both “sides” (or more accurately, the grey-area gradations) to the underlying issue of colonialism.

The ethical quandaries abound. Is propaganda a means justified by its ends? Is access to tech advancement a privilege or a right? If you could guarantee your children a better life and doubled lifespan with the 1% chance of mortality up-front, is it worth the risk? Can there ever be true equality between fundamentally different species? What, exactly, constitutes “freedom?”
One thing is certain—this series isn’t done asking hard questions that may never have clear-cut answers. Which should leave many a reader pondering the story long after they’ve reached “the end.”

Again, we see the romantic angle is more of a side-note amid the much bigger picture. But in this book, said angle felt more natural and enhancing than it did in Exo. There is now the sense that these star-crossed almost-lovers could actually be a catalyst to some desperately needed unity. If they can restrain their biases long enough to find some common ground to stand on…

Final Analysis:
Superb worldbuilding, solid character development, lucid descriptions, and high action balanced by compelling introspection. It’s rare to find a series in which the second book actually surpasses the first… but here, Fonda Lee has done just that.

Was this review helpful to you? 

Comments

 
 
Ordering 
 
Already have an account? or Create an account
 
 
 
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

One Week of You
For Lizzy Winston, one week will change everything. Fifteen-year-old...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Legacy (The Biodome Chronicles #1)
She is from the past, locked inside a world...
 
4.0
 
4.6 (3)
Grenade
It's 1945, and the world is in the grip...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
The Lines We Cross
Michael likes to hang out with his friends and...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Uncharted
Seventeen-year-old Annabeth prefers the fantasy of her books and...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Dark Divide
Secrets have a way of coming out. Divided by...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Orphaned (Ape Quartet #4)
Before humans, and before human history, there were the...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Heirs of the Round Table: Reclaiming Camelot
Imagine discovering that your ancestors were part of King Arthur's...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Wicked Nix
A visually stunning, middle-grade classic in the making about Wicked...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Journey of the Pale Bear
A runaway boy befriends a polar bear that’s being transported...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Camp Valor (Camp Valor #1)
When Wyatt gets framed for a friend’s crime, he thinks...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
The Attack of the Plants: A Branches Book (The Magic School Bus Rides Again)
Next stop...The Magic School Bus heads to the Galapagos to...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Robot Farm (The Magic School Bus Rides Again)
Wanda proudly hosts this year's school harvest feast, but she...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Aphra's Child
Tula is a chimera in a world where chimera are...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
One week on an Alaskan cruise, three teens, and an...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Homework Strike
Gregory K. has too much homework. ...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Brightly Burning
 
3.3
"An ambitious work of YA speculative fiction—a post-apocalyptic premise fused with the plot of a beloved classic. I’d like..."
Ascent (A Peak Marcello Adventure #3)
 
5.0
"After their disastrous climb in The Edge, Ethan, Alessia and Peak are looking for some adventure that is a bit..."
Grim Lovelies
 
5.0
"Seventeen-year-old Anouk has never left her house in Paris and stares down at the 'Pretties'. She and others in the..."
The Hanging Girl
 
5.0
"“The Hanging Girl” was an intense YA thriller that was impossible to put down. Skye (Candi Skye Thorn) has had..."
Brightly Burning
 
4.0
"Seventeen-year-old Stella Ainsley wants to leave the poverty of her spaceship behind. So she applies for a governess job on..."
Game Change
 
4.0
"GAME CHANGE by Joseph Monninger follows its main character Zeb Holloway for one week in his life--and what a week..."
The Hanging Girl
 
4.0
"The Hanging Girl was a quick, suspenseful read. Author Eileen Cook has a great writing style. The story picked up..."
The Hanging Girl
 
4.0
"Skye Thorn is a fake. Her so-called psychic abilities are all a scam. Then she gets involved in the biggest..."
But Then I Came Back
 
4.0
"But Then I Came Back is a beautifully written contemporary YA novel focuses on the main character Eden, who has..."
How to Make a Wish
 
4.7
"The one thing that kind of threw me off was just how much of a music prodigy Grace was. It..."
Booked
 
5.0
"Kwame Alexander does it again - and does not disappoint his fans. Like The Crossover, Booked is written in verse..."
Waste of Space
 
4.0
"A satirical look into a reality show set in Outer Space. Readers get a back seat into witnessing what..."
Lost Stars
 
3.7
"What I Loved: LOST STARS by Lisa Selin Davis is a charming and heart breaking story that follows Carrie..."
With Malice
 
4.3
"I am telling everyone to grab this book, a giant glass of lemonade, a towel, and hit the beach and..."
Suffer Love
 
5.0
"It's well-known that parents are scarce in YA literature. Either they're dead, or they're absent, or they're around but strangely..."
With Malice
 
4.3
"Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital bed with no memories of what put her there. Then she..."
Suffer Love
 
3.3
"This book was told in the dual POVs of Hadley and Sam, two teenagers struggling with the consequences of choices..."
Suffer Love
 
4.3
"I have no words for this book. I’m having a hard time trying to express my thoughts about the book...."
Wax
Wax
 
5.0
"I love Gina Damico. I just do. I feel like she gets my sense of humor. I loved the Croak..."
A Creature of Moonlight
 
4.0
"Marnie has spent her entire life hidden in plain sight. The daughter of a runaway princess and a mystical..."