Today I am excited to cover Gone Rogue: Wires and Nerve Volume 2 by Marissa Meyer. I decided to pick up the series last year with Volume 1, even though I never read the original books in the Lunar Chronicles series, and probably never will. Even with that considerable gap in knowledge, I was able to follow the first book just fine and enjoyed it immensely as it left me excited for where the series was headed. Naturally, I must issue a spoiler alert for anyone who has not read either Volume I or the original Lunar Chronicles.
The Situation: It has now been a year since the evil queen Levana was overthrown, allowing Cinder to take her place on the throne, and a few months since then events of the first book in the Wires and Nerve series. Iko and Kinney are still charged with hunting down rogue bioengineered wolf-soldiers, led by Alpha Lysander Steele, who still maintains that his mutation can be reversed, and that Cinder simply refuses to do it. With the annual Peace Festival coming up in New Beijing, an event that even the queen herself is scheduled to attend, everyone knows it is time to step up security and be on alert. If Steele was going to make a big move, this would be the time to do it.
The Problem: Steele has managed to amass quite a number of wolf-soldiers in his army, and one of which includes one of the group's own, Wolf. After Steele shows up on Scarlet's farm, he does his best to convince Wolf to join him, and it works. Wolf would also love to have his mutation reversed, and he worries his true nature will someday hurt his relationship with Scarlet. Now his loyalties are being questioned by his closest friends, with only Scarlet remaining certain that he is only playing along to protect himself, and her. But Wolf is not the only one who may be dealing with identity issues, as Iko faces near constant scrutiny from Kinney, the person she must spend the most time with. She can make as many upgrades as she wants, but ultimately she is an android, and she must come to terms with how and why she was made. Meanwhile, Steele is getting ready to make his move, and it is obvious he will not stop until he has his revenge.
Genre, Themes, History: This is a science fiction/fantasy graphic novel for young adults. Much like the first book, there are plenty of action scenes, and all of the main characters from the original series make an appearance. Kai and Cinder look forward to reuniting after months of being apart; Scarlet and Wolf continue to attempt to maintain a simple life together in France; Cress and Thorne still travel together in Thorne's ship; and Winter and Jacin remain as close as ever as the former continues to serve as an ambassador to Earth. Central to the book is the theme of identity: who we are, what makes us who we are, and if any of that could be changed, would we go for it? And along with the theme of identity is the equally heavy theme of what it means to be human and deserving of friendship, loyalty, and love. Steele's stubbornness only serves to turn him into what he claims he no longer wants to be. Meanwhile, Iko, an android, is able to accomplish and feel things no mechanical being should, leading her to dig a little deeper into her unique programming.
My Verdict: The intense action and drama start up even quicker in this story than it did in the first one, and that one started off with a fight scene. Meyer immediately throws the reader into a situation that shows Steele's determination. Knowing how dangerous he is and what he is willing to do allows the reader to feel his threatening presence throughout the book. No one in the group is safe, and while the attempt to feature all eight original main characters, plus Iko and Kinney, can make some scenes crowded and confusing, the overall result shows how the issue effects everyone differently, though they all stand by Cinder. This is a great continuation of the Wires and Nerve series, and has once again left me wanting more. The art and illustrations are well done, the story is interesting and compelling, and the characters are fun, while also containing plenty of depth.
Favorite Moment: *spoiler alert* When Cinder calls out Steele for being the only one who is actually referring to the wolf-soldiers as beasts and monsters.
Favorite Character: Although they don't get much exposure in this series, I still pick Scarlet and Cress. Scarlet is quick to pick up a shotgun and do what she has to do, while Cress is quiet and shy, but also smart and loyal.
Recommended Reading: I would like to recommend the Binti series by Nnedi Okorafor. It follows a teenage girl as she leaves Earth for the first time to attend University, but her ship is attacked by the fearsome Meduse who are bent on revenge.