Containment by Caryn Lix
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is the second book in a series, following on the heels of last year's Sanctuary. I did like this book, enough to pre-order the third one....but it does have its problems.
I characterized the first book as "the Young Avengers meet the Xenomorphs." The series takes place in a corporate-controlled future, with metahumans being born after the arrival of alien probes fifty years previously. The first book took place on the space station/prison Sanctuary, with its cohort of teenage superheroes coming under siege by aliens. Our protagonist, Kenzie Cord, is the daughter of parents aligned with the megacorp Omnistellar, the owner and operator of the station, and unbeknownst to her an "anomaly" herself. Over the course of the first book, she comes to question everything she has been taught, discovers the truth of her past, and throws in with the group from Sanctuary battling the aliens.
This book continues Kenzie's story, and the kids she has taken up with, her new-found family. The biggest failing in this book is its uneven pacing and often silly plot twists. The first book was taut and suspenseful, but this one has a bad habit of dragging. Kenzie and her group get captured way too often, and although due to their various superpowers they are usually able to break free, this tail-swallowing circle gets tiresome after a while. Someone should have taken an axe to the middle of this book and tightened up the plot. Also, Kenzie's powers are expanding, and so are the other characters'. (Apparently their powers are a direct result of genetic manipulation due to the aliens' life cycle. This doesn't really make much sense, so don't dwell on it too long.) This is handled rather well, better than the overall plot, and the last few chapters do feel a bit better paced. Of course, we end on a cliffhanger, with all the dangling threads to (hopefully) be wrapped up in the third book.
Having said all this, the moments of characterization are where this book shines. Kenzie's PTSD from the first book is acknowledged and dealt with (even if the reason for it is reversed in the dumbest plot twist of the book), and all the main characters show satisfying growth. I wish the pacing could have been kept under better control to allow the characters more of these interesting moments. This book really seems like it could have used another draft and a firmer editorial hand. Hopefully the final book will overcome these problems.
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