Release Date: February 12, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Series: Fallen World #2
Review Source: For review from Hachette Book Group Canada (@HBGCanada)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
First, the virus took Kaelyn’s friends. Then, her family. Now it’s taken away her home.
But she can't look back—the life she once had is gone forever.
A deadly virus has destroyed Kaelyn’s small island community and spread beyond the quarantine. No one is safe. But when Kaelyn finds samples of a vaccine in her father's abandoned lab, she knows there must be someone, somewhere, who can replicate it. As Kaelyn and her friends head to the mainland, they encounter a world beyond recognition. It’s not only the “friendly flu” that’s a killer—there are people who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the vaccine. How much will Kaelyn risk for an unproven cure, when the search could either destroy those she loves or save the human race?
Megan Crewe's second volume in the Fallen World trilogy is an action-packed journey that explores the resilience of friendship, the ache of lost love, and Kaelyn’s enduring hope in the face of the sacrifices she must make to stay alive.
This sequel to ‘The Way We Fall’ starts with the realization that there isn’t any help from the mainland: the disease isn’t just on the island - it has spread everywhere. Talk about a major change from the first book where everything was isolated! I loved how there was this shake up, but it felt natural and it made sense.
Kaelyn is definitely a brave and noble character. She wants to finish her father’s work and provide a cure because otherwise the disease will never stop spreading. Kae is insistent on sharing the cure and saving everyone, not just the people she’s closest to, which I really admire. I was actually in awe of her persistence, because I know I definitely would have given up after fighting so many odds and losing time and time again.
I enjoyed the bit of narration change in this volume. It’s still Kae’s voice, but she’s no longer writing to Leo. Instead we get to experience Leo as a character, and I loved the chemistry between him and Kae, whether you saw it as friendship or something more. ‘The Lives We Lost’ is a real journey book, which is something I definitely enjoy, especially because it took the characters through Canada. I really don’t think there are enough Canadian set books, particularly within YA, and I love how Megan, as a Canadian author, has done this. I enjoyed this book because it was plot-driven, with the journey across the country, and yet there was also huge character development. It felt like the biggest changes happened internally to the characters; they had to learn for themselves what the world was like now and find out what they were capable of.
The one thing I was a little bit frustrated by was that in the end it didn’t really feel like Kaelyn’s quest had gone anywhere. Of course they are in a very different place physically and they are emotionally dealing with the situation, but in regard to their quest they’re in the same place. I also would have liked a better look at just how much the disease spread so quickly; we get told that it’s affected the whole world, and while I can definitely see that happening, it seemed like it had happened quite quickly. It’s not that I found it implausible, I just wish that there had been some way through Kae’s limited perspective to find out how the disease spread to the whole world so quickly if the island was the originator.
These minor complaints aside I can say without a doubt that I enjoy these books and Megan Crewe’s writing. ‘The Lives We Lost’ provides an interesting look into human nature: what people cling to, what they will do to survive, and how society might self-destruct under something like this. I also have to point out that I love titles that are catchy but also make real sense and have importance in the plot, and this is one of those occasions. I think I can say without being spoilery at all, that the title (to me) refers both to the family members and friends that the characters have lost, but also to their former lives... the lives they were living before this disease changed everything. It was just so profound to me when I read the line containing this phrase, so major props to Megan and/or her publisher for coming up with that as the title.
What I find so chilling about these books is that while they follow the same trope of one girl and group of friends setting out to save their society, they contain something that feels like it could happen to us right now. Disease is something that happens, and it’s not something we can necessarily prevent. It’s not a totalitarian ruler setting up or a future with technologies that we can’t really imagine happening... it’s something real and present. This, to me, is extremely fascinating, yet also very scary. If you’re looking for an interesting and high stakes book where you legitimately fear for the characters and can’t imagine what might happen next, then I definitely suggest you pick up ‘The Way We Fall’ and this sequel, ‘The Lives We Lost’.
Like it! The texture is great in person.
Find The Lives We Lost by Megan Crewe on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.