Title: The Decaying Empire (The Vanishing Girl #2)
Author: Laura Thalassa
Published: Published April 21st 2015 Skyscape
Length: 338 pgs
Genre: Fantasy, Thriller, Romance
Warning this Review Contains Spoiler for Book 1 The Vanishing Girl.
The Decaying Empire is book 2 in Laura Thalassa’s Vanishing Girl series. This book picks up right where The Vanishing Girl left off. Somehow Ember has survived splicing. Having been in a coma for the past ten months has had an impact on her memory as well as her physical condition.
Thalassa opens the book with an unexpected and emotional reunion between the couple, especially since Ember is having trouble remembering things, and for the last ten months, Caden thought Ember dead.
Dane Richards and Desiree set Ember up and nearly succeeded in killing her. For some reason, they saved her from splicing, hoping she’s “learned her lesson” but she’s left with both physical and emotional scars. The kids in the Prometheus project are just tools to be used according to their usefulness. To the director Dane Richards these kids are government property, merely a means to an end. If they become too much trouble, they are eliminated or put in their place.
Ember Pierce isn’t so easily Cowed, in book one Adrian a character I didn’t mention in my previous review, talked to Ember about how specific genes in her genetic code, under the right nature vs. nurture circumstance would encourage a distrustful and disobedient nature. Ember returns from the dead with a vendetta. Ember always feared the program would turn her into a killer, and at this point, they are quite close. They thought to put fear in her heart. Instead, they have nurtured a savage vengeance they ultimately find extremely hard to control.
Caden meanwhile is still on the fence; he grew up nurtured in a military home born and bred to follow orders and be a good little soldier. He’s seen all the signs that Ember was betrayed; yet is still more inclined to believe that Embers behavior is due to PTSD. Honestly, it was almost as frustrating for me to read as it was for Ember to experience.
Because of these events, the relationship dynamic between Caden and Ember changed for a while. Caden allowed himself to be driven by his fear of abandonment, putting more trust in the program than he should. Ember is solid as a rock. Still driven by her need to survive and be free, maybe to the point of recklessness.
The two eventually agree on one thing, that whatever happens they face it together. Ember turns to Adrian, the son of the Deceased scientist who created the Prometheus project for help. Caden is opposed but agrees despite his suspicions. Ember believes Adrian to be sincere, either way, she knows they can’t escape on their own.
As with book one, the author answered some questions and left some up in the air. I’ve asked it before. I ask it again. Who in the heck dresses them when they teleport? How is it that the leave naked but then poof they arrive at the target location entirely dressed and sometimes with instructions and they have no memory of it. (This is nagging me)
Unlike The Vanishing Girl, The Decaying Empire opens with a running start and is primarily action from beginning to end. I enjoyed that. The book continues to follow the Dystopian tone, and although the surface plot is the same, there’s an unexpected plot twist which, while subtly hinted at throughout the book wasn’t insanely obvious. The ending alludes to a gritty, action-packed third book in the series, which has been pushed back.
While the author has every intention of completing the series and the book currently has a scheduled release of winter 2018. Some financial issues combined with contractual obligations with the author’s publisher have led to an indefinite delay in the publishing of book three. But I’ll be standing by; I’m on the mailing list.
You can read more about this on the Authors Blog and subscribe to her mailing list here: Visit Laura’s Website and subscribe to updates