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Terra Nova by Shane Arbuthnott
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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Terra Nova is the follow-up to Dominion, Shane Arbuthnott's debut novel, and the truth is that it's just as fantastic. This second book focused on Molly Stout is even more magical and action-packed than the first book, bringing her world more alive and giving readers that much more reason to fall into the book and remain enchanted. Parents should definitely be aware that this is a bit darker than the first book--where the first book gave hints of darkness related to the main characters, but in a way that offered more depth for adults and less room for fear in really young readers, this second book offers a lot of both. It's got the sort of darkness that adults will find really horrifying, and children may well just as take as the nature of adventure without giving it more thought, but that pushes the book a bit more toward YA territory than MG territory at a lot of points. But beyond that one caveat, the simple truth is that Arbuthnott's writing and world-building are descriptive, strangely magical, and utterly engaging, right along with his characters.

This second book has a much more conclusive ending than the first book in the series, Dominion, so I'm not entirely sure whether or not the author will give us more books about Molly Stout, but I certainly hope he does. This is going to be one of those books that I adore, recommend, and pass on as much as I can. And I'll certainly be in line for whatever the author writes next.

Absolutely recommended (but do read the first book, Dominion, first!). ( )
  whitewavedarling | Jan 12, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this ARC from Orca Book Publishers via LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of this book in any way.

I have never cried reading a book so much; it has all the feels. I absolutely love it.

It's always worse before you start. So start.
The Writing and Worldbuilding

The writing had some of the pacing issues the first one had where it tended to run a little slow in the beginning, but, like Dominion, once it picked up, it was steady and intriguing throughout all the way to the end.

Shane is great at writing believable, wonderful character arcs and themes. He doesn't shove them into your face, he just gently prods you with them. I absolutely loved the themes in this: blame, shame, fear, anger, weariness, and above all, responsibility were major themes. Those are some of my favorite themes in any book, so it was truly great to read them in this. Besides that, it has themes of revolution, of equal rights and social liberty. This book is so relevant to today's society.

"Identifying who began something like this is like picking out the stone that began an avalanche. It began somewhere, true enough [...] but once it well and truly begins, we are all just stones moving together. One stone rolling down a mountain changes nothing unless others move with it."
The world expanded a lot and I really enjoyed learning more about and understanding the unique magic system and alternate history timeline Arbuthnott created. It was masterfully crafted and the visuals were fantastic.

The Characters

"You forget this from time to time, Molly, but you are not alone. I am here. Your family is here. [...] Not every responsibility is yours."
Molly: Molly struggles with her conscience, her desire to do what's right, and her fear that her efforts are only hurting people and spirits. She learns a lesson that was very personal to me, a lesson I've been struggling with all my life: that it is okay to take a break, that it is not quitting; that you are not responsible for the decisions of others, only your own actions are yours to judge, and that being a little selfish is not a bad thing, but being self-centered is. She is melancholy and depressed for a lot of the book, understandably so, but she learns to use her emotions to drive her to do what she knows she needs to do, instead of trying to fight them, trying to ignore her own sadness. Molly is most definitely one of my favorite characters of all time.

"So the good things you've accomplished, those you had help with. But the danger. The blame. Those belong to you alone?"
Da (man, I don't think he even has a name): Molly's father grows so much in this book. In Dominion, he was a bit of a stereotype, though still really interesting; but the book didn't really focus on him and so he didn't really have much room to show who he really was and to grow into a better person. Terra Nova gave him all the room, and he definitely used it. He became one of my favorite characters, a deeply complex man trying to protect his children but knowing that they might not need him anymore. Ultimately, he was selfless and strong.

"I did not survive this long by being fragile, and I have found other ways to get what I need."
Arkwright: As usual, Arkwright was super creepy, but he wasn't an Obvious Villain™. Rather, he was also deeply complex and flawed and frankly, frightening in his intensity and drive. His ideology was so interesting and I found him to be a very compelling villain.

Rory: As usual, Rory was a riot and I absolutely adore him. He was so funny and great, but he also grew a lot and I found a lot of depth in him. His sibling bond with Molly was palpable and even had understandable reasons. I love him.

Kiernan: He wasn't as fleshed out as the rest of the family, but he was still very consistent and well written. I cared about his character a lot.

"It is selfish, true, but there is nothing wrong with selfish thoughts. Sometimes they provide good counsel. But those thoughts must be tempered with more generous ones, lest we [...] forget that the world is filled with beings of equal significance to ourselves."
Theresa: She was a new addition, but she was fantastic, and I really liked her. She is smart, and motherly even, acting as a great mother figure and friend to Molly when she needed it most.

Ariel: She played less of an important role in this, but she did provide a lot of comfort and sage advice to Molly.

Brighid: She was expanded a lot more in this, and if there is another book (which I suspect there won't be, because everything was wrapped up rather nicely), I would like to have her character explored more.

Conclusion

I love Shane Arbuthnott's writing. I cried so much reading this, and I felt the story so deeply in my soul. This series has quickly become one of my all-time favorites, and I sincerely want him to write many more books, either in this world, or otherwise. I will read anything this man writes.

She looked down at the city. It was changing, and she didn't know what it would look like when it was done. Maybe it would never be done. ( )
  Faith_Murri | Jan 5, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
It's a rare occurrence for me to like a sequel more than the first book, but that's exactly what happened to me with Terra Nova.

There's more characterization, world-building, and the pacing is faster. I like the fact that Molly finally has the support of her family, especially her Dad. I like the lighthearted moments she has with her brothers and spirit friends.

There are some scenes that are a bit awkward for me though, for example, that shower scene with Theresa. I also felt some scenes may be a bit hard to read for middle-grade readers, which I believe is the target audience for this book.

The author isn't afraid to bid adieu to some characters to propel the story forward and give Molly more emotional motivation. But it works, and Molly manages to rise from all her ordeals as a true heroine. The ending doesn't tie up all the loose ends in a pretty little bow, but it's a realistic and proper ending that will leave readers satisfied.

Thank you to LibraryThing and Orca Book Publishers for my review copy. ( )
  VavaViolet | Oct 13, 2018 |
Such a wonderful follow up book to the first! Shane Arbuthnott did an excellent job of showing Molly's growth as a person, both physically and mentally. While I loved her youthful vigor and passion in the first book, I loved her tenacity and selflessness in this book even more. Molly comes to understand that she's part of something so much bigger than herself and, rather than shy away, she embraces it wholeheartedly. Consequences be damned.

The only reason I didn't give this book 5 stars was that it felt a little slow in places. I know that there was a lot to pack into this second book, and so I was willing to let it go, but I did miss the breakneck pace and adventure of the first book. This second installment is much more internal, or much more character based. It doesn't make it bad, by any means. Just different. I acknowledge that.

I'll follow Molly wherever she goes next. You can count on that. ( )
  roses7184 | Sep 25, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I won this book on early reviewers and I was sent the 1st book Dominion as a perk. I loved book 1 and could not wait till I finished 2.
I loved how the author builds into the story, giving exactly the right amount of information to ease the readers into this new world of his, without it being overwhelming.
The writing is absolutely beautiful and it has perfect pace. The characters are brilliant and each of them grow as the book progresses. For some reason I picture Moly as more of an adult than a 13 yr old. She just gives off the adult vibe. I love Rory and Kiernan is just the perfect big brotherly big brother. I love Ariel and how humane her character is, I know tht is kind of besides the point but thought I would mention it. I would love to see this adapted into a film or tv series.
This book keeps up to the hype Dominion built. Story progresses really nicely and it is super exciting to read.
Such a masterpiece the author has created.
Thank you so much for writing this. ( )
  M.Akter.Tonima | Jun 13, 2018 |
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