This is the second book in the Exceptional series.
Ally lowered her hands and stared at the pile of ash in front of her. They made it four hours into their morning travels before they ran into another pair of Exceptional Guards. The Guards had approached Ally and her group with ease, expecting an easy catch. Once again, Ally had raised her hands and eliminated the Guards before they took another step toward her or the others. She stood over the pile, breathing heavily.
She felt Stosh come up beside her, his arm brushing against hers.
“Seven,” she said in almost a whisper.
“I know,” he responded, taking her hand in his.
Ally is finally outside the City walls, with her brother and her best friends.
Luke is still inside the City walls, with no memory of the girl he once loved.
Life in the Wilderness is dangerous, and they soon find out that they are not alone. Will Ally continue her journey to the Southern City, or will she risk it all to help the boy she loves?
As the blurb states, this story picks up where the first book left off. Ally, Stosh, and their friends are traveling through the wilderness to escape the Guards while trying to locate other settlements. On the way, they do encounter some Guards, which Ally has to kill. They come across a settlement, which is more like a town, called Champaign. Champaign has at least a couple thousand residents, and they have electricity, running water, etc. Heath, the town’s leader, has allies that are Guards.
Enter Max. He is Heath’s nephew, and starts falling for Ally. Ally then runs across some information from Kemp. She gets that info and tries to figure out who she trusts enough with it. She decides she trusts Heath with the vaccine information. A raid by the Guards in the town of Champaign lands Stosh and Sabine in the City jail. Ally decides to no longer wait for Heath’s plans to enter the city. Will Luke be there when she enters? What will it be like? She has no idea Luke had his memory wiped clean of her.
While all of that is going on, the story follows Luke in the City as well. You watch things that he is doing, knowing the old Luke would never do them. He is becoming more like his father, Aden. Aden gets sick, so Luke is placed into power early. Pax is by his side, which you do wonder about him since in the first book he killed a friend of Luke’s with a smile on his face. Luke has the city plan for evacuations, and prepares for the Rogue attacks. But how well can you really plan for a war?
Okay, I did enjoy this book. I re-read the first in the series before starting this one to get to know the characters again, and I’m glad I did. You see how Luke and Ally fall in love, and you see how that is taken away from them. You do want them to get back together, but is it really in the stars for them?
This book had some suspense, love, fighting, and of course two swoon-worthy guys! You feel sorry for Ally having to deal with all of this when she is only 18 years old. And Luke, you are angry that he is acting like his father. Even though his memory has been erased, he still knows he is missing something-some sort of shadow. And the people Ally and Luke trust- are they really trustworthy? I stayed up late last night finishing this book because I was so into it. You do have to read the first to understand the second. Character development was good, plot was good, and twist at the ending was good. The ending helped explain some things, but also left a few questions in my mind. I’m excited for the next book, but I know I’ll have to wait a while.
I give this 4.5 out of 5!