The Lifeline Signal is the second book of the series centring around the people of Parole, and those who are trying to save the people inside that burning city.
Unlike many book series, where the author continues on with the characters we have met and gotten to know fairly well from the first book, this takes a different route – it is advised to read the short stories, which have kept many fans of this series excited for a full length novel, as well as to remind people of the main stars of the the first book, plus introduce a few of the characters for book 2.
Are main characters aren’t even adults in this novel – this would obviously be the time when you would define what age would you regard someone an adult – the three characters, Shiloh, Annie and Chance are all in their late teens, all are struggling with who they are, as well as the trouble in regard of Parole. What brought these three teens together? Aside form them having been in Parole at some point?
Or more to the point a series of dreams, where they learned of each other at their tree and became friends. All due to a ghost called Gabriel. Now the trio have to get to Parole, or at least meet those who managed to escape Parole, and get some vital information to them in order to save the people of Parole and the city it’s self. The only trouble isn’t just that there is still a barrier around Parole, but that there are now toxic areas that can more so quickly that the chance of survival is slim. Tartarus isn’t just full of poison that can kill, but also ghosts that can take the form of someone else, someone that they care about, or even a mythical creature.
The characters are amazing, once again no one is straight, some are part of the asexual spectrum, other’s are bi, or non-binary and the shape these relationships take are amazing to read.
Shiloh Cole is non-binary so xie is a character I was very interested in reading about, I don’t think there are many characters like xir in novels like this and for many teenagers or even adults really, reading about xir could be a real experience in realising that they themselves are like that.
Annie is of the ace spectrum and has a lot going on in her life, not just with being a Parole survivor. The flawlessness of linking this novel to the short story is very well done and the fact that she grows even more in this novel shows how well the author has thought things through and done plenty of research.
Chance is bisexual and was one character I was actually unsure of due to how he was acting around Annie and Shiloh. It was only later on when things fell into place, that what happened in Parole 10 years ago also had an impact on him and his own family – albeit in a different way to many other’s that we have already meet in this novel.
We also finally, finally get to see Radio Angel in this novel and part of me wished there was more of her. Although I am now going to hope that there will be a series of short stories too that will include her because she is such a symbol of hope for Parole, as was seen in the first novel.
Many characters like CyborJ, Rowan, and a few other’s really make this book, although it doesn’t have the fast, intense impact that the first novel did, that works really well for that the pacing should be for this book. There was no stress of saving the city within a certain time limit, there was just the pace of making sure people on board the ship are safe, that they have supplies before they move on to their next destination. The book focused a lot more on the characters and the relationships of each character on-board the ship, letting the reader see how the trio are and work alongside those who have been on the ship for a while and are starting to feel the pressure of what they are doing.
When I first start to read this novel – although the author had already said that the main characters weren’t going to play a starring role in this book – I was startled to read that the main characters of the previous book weren’t in this at all. However the characters from the short stories were in there and it helped to sooth the transition.
I will be looking forward to the next novel, even the short stories to keep me going and continue loving these complex and brilliant characters.