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    Well, hello, cliffhanger…

    I had this one pre-ordered the second it was available, and you'd better believe I dropped what I was reading the second it hit my Kindle. After The Young World, I just had to know what would happen next. There's a particular pattern when it comes to trilogies, and so far, this one is following it to a T. The first book is awesome chaos, drawing you in and leaving you dying to get to the next part of the story. The second book is a bridge, resolving some things from the first part and setting you up for the ultimate resolution in the next installment. And the final book sees everything coming together and ending exactly the way you want it to (ummm…hopefully). I can only hope it sticks to that formula, since the way this one ended had me all kinds of frustrated. In The Young World, we saw the end of society as we know it. The youngest children died from a mysterious illness, as did all the adults. All that's left are teens, and with them in charge, everything is in chaos. Without authority, order, or all the trappings of modern technology, things have gone the way of Lord of the Flies, and Darwin's theory regarding the fit is playing out across the country. Some teens have remained inherently good, helping the ones they can while doing their best to remain safe and alive, and some have turned their enclave of the city into a post-apocalyptic nightmare. But the end of The Young World leaves us with a clue that all is not as it seems, with at least a few adults still around and capable of restoring order, should they see fit. As it turns out, the end of the world didn't really happen. It was simply the end of the United States, and elsewhere, life continues as it always has. The American military is still a force to be reckoned with, and they're located around the globe to protect their interests and (hopefully) rebuild the country. Donna and Jefferson have been separated, but they eventually find themselves back together on an aircraft carrier, surrounded by soldiers who seem to want information from them. More and more facets of what really happened are revealed, and it's the stuff of dreams for conspiracy theorists the world over. Add in the not-so-subtle commentary that pertains to our very real present world (the reorganization of global markets due to the collapse of America, etc), and The New Order is a brilliant observation of modern society. But back to the story… On the military ship, it's pretty bleak and scary, though nothing really seems to happen for a while. There's a sense of being left out of the loop, of being wanted for something more than what's being admitted, and certainly of imprisonment. When the group is finally allowed back together, my heart just soared because… Well, it's Jefferson and Donna! But of course this is the aftermath of the apocalypse, and being plucked out of the hellhole they were in doesn't mean they're all saved. But how exactly does one escape hundreds of soldiers on an aircraft carrier far out of sight of land? It's hard to write this review without giving away some major turns in the story, but the things I can't talk about are the things I have the strongest opinions about. Their time on the island with the psycho doctor did in fact yield a cure, so it's no longer about living in the moment; it's about living, period. But the United States is still a disaster, kids are still dying (mostly from killing each other), and Jefferson's little crew is getting precious few answers. But just as everything seems to be coming together, it all falls apart again, separating our teen lovebirds a way that makes reuniting feel impossible (though I'm sure it's not), and taking readers on a journey deep into Dammit! I just want them to be together land. And that's pretty much where it ends. There's lots and lots of intriguing stuff in between, including a look at the rest of the world still functioning as if nothing ever happened, a “return from the dead,” and a gigantic clue as to why it all happened in the first place, but for me, it all comes down to that ending. Well, hello, cliffhanger… Guess I'll be chewing my nails off in anticipation of the final book, huh?

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