Saturday, 12 April 2014

Book: The Wounded by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

I received a copy of The Wounded, book 3 of The Woodlands, in exchange for my review.

Having successful completed the mission to extract the Spiders from the Woodlands, all Rosa can think about is getting back to the Wall, and to Orry and Joesph, even though she has her best friend Rash back. Things are never that simple around Rosa though, especially when it turns out that the Spider her team collected is none other than her father, who abandoned her when she was 8. Back at the Wall, things haven't gone to plan, with Woodlands soldiers having forced the people into hiding. Knowing that they can't stay in their settlement they know that they have to move, and their plan to liberate the Woodlands is put into motion.

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I actually cried. More than once. I can't really say which events they were that I cried at but one was regarding Orry and one regarding Rosa (and now anyone who has read the book will know exactly which bits I am talking about). I think that The Wounded was even more emotional than the previous two books, The Woodlands and The Wall, which is something that I liked about the book; that it wasn't all action, and it wasn't all lovey dovey or beat the establishment emotions, instead Taylor creates real characters with real emotions.

The biggest example of this is probably Orry. Now for a start Rosa has come on leaps and bounds in her relationship with her son since she woke up 4 months pregnant (this is where I interject and say that you shouldn't read this book as a stand alone), and now she is the mother that she always could have been but didn't seem to realise it. The big thing for me though was seeing the manifestation of Rosa and Joesph's emotions towards their son, particularly worry and pride, which are both normal life emotions despite the circumstances. I think that that made the book far more emotional at the adventure parts. These characters have more to lose than most.

Whenever a big emotional upheaval came in there was an interjection from Joesph's point of view, which I thought was very effective for getting the feeling of the scenes across (you particularly see it in the two scenes I mentioned before). Saying that there was a clear difference in tone between Rosa and Joesph, even when they were affected by the same thing.

The other major thing that they face in this book is the reappearance of Rosa's father. Though he didn't actually know it, Joesph was taught by him, whereas Rosa hadn't seen him since she was 8. And the strain was shown. It would have been so easy for the author to just write in a happy reunion but she didn't, instead she made it a journey for Rosa to accept and forgive her father, which is not only done masterfully and in a way which is both believable and dramatic, but she gets the emotions of the situation dead on.

And that ending. I can barely hold in my excitement over the next book, I need it now! The other two cliffhangers weren't nearly as dramatic as this one, and I genuinely feel worry for the characters!

The Wounded (and the two books before it) provides an emotional journey, with complex characters and motives, as well as the adventure of trying to stop a society that is inherently wrong. The Woodlands series is one of my favourite dystopian series, and I haven't even read the final book!