Return of the Continuums by Jennifer Brody

Return of the Continuums feels very much like a filler book, with whole parts not really adding to the story so much as giving our characters something to do. I kept wishing that the last part of book 2 had been the ending of book 1 – it would have gone a long way toward softening the abruptness of the first book and the ennui of the second. Admittedly, I was also wishing for more surprises – the story ticks off all the marks for a decently written book but it never seems to elevate the parts into a more interesting whole.

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Story: Myra and her friends have washed up on the East Coast US. Aero, on the other hand, is in an area of desert (New Mexico?). Both have to get their friends to the first continuum. When Myra encounters a strange human-like creature, she will soon discover that something went very wrong in one of the continuums. It will take all three – creature and 2 humans – working together to survive a harsh world and make it to the first continuum.

Perhaps because I’ve already seen this concept of protected post apocalyptic settlements often (especially, close parallels can be drawn to the anime Ergo Proxy), I was wishing for something more distinct. I didn’t find any surprises and certainly the rather simplistic ‘goodness’ of our main characters failed to spark much interest. Author Brody has good ideas on how the continuums went wrong due to each having a focus (e.g., the philosophical-focused continuum goes religion crazy and the military themed continuum becomes overly martial) but again, I’ve seen this before and the conclusions are rather obvious. Adding in the very trite and over used cliches of “overheard conversation that tells of a nefarious plan!”, “best friend sacrifice”, “love triangle’ and “I have something important to say but get interrupted just before I can say it!” didn’t help give the story depth.

That said, it is still an enjoyable if very plot-by-numbers read. The ending has a bit of a cliffhanger and ‘surprise’ that should encourage readers to want to finish the book and see where it goes. So even if this second book feels like filler, I think readers who enjoyed the first will still enjoy this second book in the Continuum series. I wish the book title and covers were better as well, admittedly.  Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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