Monday, March 6, 2017

Bounders #2: The Tundra Trials by Monica Tesler

The Tundra Trials (Bounders #2)My name is Mira, and people would be shocked if they discovered Earth Force is waging a secret war against an alien race. I don't communicate verbally with anyone else, but I'm now able to secretly "speak" mentally with Jasper thanks to a new invention Waters attached behind our ears. We are now on the planet Gulaga with our podmates, Cole, Marco, and Lucy. Most of our time is spent with the Tundra Trials where we travel across the cold, barren planet trying to collect more hidden caches than the other pods. Jasper is in the middle of a feud with another cadet that got my gloves stolen, stranding us on the planet's surface, and almost got us killed. However, our bigger worry is about a mysterious, upcoming summit meeting and the likelihood that Earth Force plans to use us as soldiers in the brewing war against the Youli. It's getting hard to tell if the greater enemy is them or the Earth Force.

You must read Bounders before reading this book. The plot deals with the Tundra Trials and Youli War, but a major focus is on the feud with Regis's pod and relations with the Gulagans. The Gulagans are not happy to have humans on their planet, and Earth Force oppression is evident. This underlying conflict addresses the effect powerful armies have on the inhabitants of the host countries. The army's motives may seem admirable, but the effects may not be as virtuous. The feud between Regis and Jasper was amusing in the beginning, but Regis took it to dangerous levels as he tried to get even. Mira's character has always been the most interesting, since she doesn't openly communicate and seems to have abilities beyond the other cadets. These qualities make her more mysterious, but she's clearly a key character in the group's dynamics and its successes. Her secret bond with Jasper becomes an additional conflict between the characters.

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