Limerance by Charlotte McConaghy

There are so many YA dystopian clones out there that it really is hard to find a decently told story. With The Cure, I was fascinated by book one, disappointed with book 2, and back in love with book 3. By this volume, the author clearly hit her stride with the characters, each of which is nuanced and often very antihero. The story has a natural arc that finishes neatly but not sweetly. It’s a fitting end to a really enjoyable tale.

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Story: As Josephine grows apart from Luke, things begin to unravel at the camp. When Jo refuses to kill the furies a division begins that could mean the end of the small group of rebels and lead to the entire City being ‘cured’.

With the first book, we were introduced to an intriguing set of characters – Josephine who becomes a monster with a blood moon, the doctor trying to understand/help her, and the Blood warrior sent to watch her and remove her. It made for a great story since so much was unexpected. With book 2, all of the tension and originality flew out the window for a story of cat fights and moodiness. With book 3, all the original thinking and action is back to conclude the story in a really satisfying manner. Honestly, I would have just excised all of book 2 since it didn’t further the story.

Writing an entire series in a non-linear fashion can be either intriguing or disastrous. Fortunately, the conceit not only works here but it makes the story even better. Hints, traps, unexpected changes in personalities all work to pull the reader in to find out what happened or what will happen. It makes for short chapters of several view points and small or large jumps in chronology. I should have hated it (and have hated that style in nearly every other book that I’ve read) but it is just so effective here.

Author McConaghy really hit her stride with this book 3, with each of the characters fully realized and heavily nuanced. This isn’t a sappy YA dystopian romance. And there are plenty of twists and turns along the way. If I had a nitpick, it’s that this is very Australian in places. I kind of wish it had been identified as taking place in Oz beforehand rather than made to seem like a random US city.

In all, I greatly enjoyed books one and two for presenting a vicious anti-hero as the heroine of a YA dystopian. And for giving us a strong character who doesn’t fall apart whenever the ‘hunky’ guy comes along. Yes, I’d prefer to forget book 2 completely but that doesn’t detract at all from book 3. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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