Parole is still burning. And now the day everyone has been waiting for is finally here: it’s collapsed. A lucky few managed to escape with their lives. But while their city burned, the world outside suffered its own devastating disaster. The Tartarus Zone is a deadly wasteland a thousand miles wide, filled with toxic storms, ghostly horrors, and just as many Eyes in the Sky as ever. Somehow, this new nightmare is connected to Parole. And it’s spreading.
Now Parole’s only hope lies in the hands of three teenagers reunited by their long-lost friend Gabriel – in their dreams. Growing up outside Parole, Shiloh Cole always had to keep xir energetic powers a secret, except from xir parents, Parole’s strategist-hero Garrett, and Tartarus expert Maureen. When Parole collapsed, all contact was lost. Now, connected by Gabriel and their colliding pasts, xie joins collapse survivor Annie and the enigmatic, charismatic Chance on a desperate cross-country race, carrying a disc of xir mother’s vital plans, whose encrypted contents may be Parole’s salvation. First they’ll board the FireRunner, a ship full of familiar faces that now sails through Tartarus’ poison storms. Together, they’ll survive Tartarus’ hazards, send a lifeline to lost Parole – and uncover the mystery connecting every one of them.
The world outside Parole isn’t the one they remember, and it didn’t want them back. But they’ll save it just the same. It’s what heroes do.
It’s #ownvoices for asexual, acute anxiety/PTSD/depression/dissociation, nonbinary/trans ID, chronic illnesses, and polyamory representation.
It’s a very diverse novel, with disability, POC and Native American, and queer rep. And everyone is accepted. People actually do their best to make other people feel comfortable. It was beautiful to read about a society in which people work hard to make other people feel comfortable and take responsibility for their mistakes even if they didn’t intend to cause hurt. We need more of this type of narrative, a narrative in which we don’t have to fight to be treated fairly and with respect.
The main cast is also a different one, which I didn’t really expect. Thus it took me some time to get into the story, as I kept expecting people from the first book to pop up. However, despite the fact that the cast is different, this book is a true sequel, as in you won’t be able to jump into the series and not read the first book. The events build up on those of Chameleon Moon and you will be confused if you haven’t read the former.
One criticsm that I had of the first book was that the pacing was too slow for my liking. This isn’t the case here. It was quite fast-paced but still managed to show you the world outside of Parole and how the events in Parole impacted the different characters.
The worldbuilding is awesome and so well-structured in this book. It was interesting to understand how the barrier worked, what the lighthouses did, and I’m waiting to find out what the deal with the ghosts is in book 3.
I’m not a fan of books where the minor characters only seem to exist to interact with the main character(s). In my opinion, it’s weird because why don’t they have any character development during the entire story. And The Lifeline Signal doesn’t do this, the minor characters are all multi-dimensional and have backstories, which show readers why they do what they do.
I am in love with Indra’s visual metaphors of asexuality and aromanticsm, and it was amazing that questioning was referenced as a term in this book. If you end up reading the book, tell me what you think of the pack of cards scene, because it was my favourite!
Another cute and important scene for me was where one of the characters explains that queerplatonic and romantic relationships are different but that one is not better than the other.
There were plenty of references to the cast of Chameleon Moon, and it was really cool to see how they were connected to the cast of this book. I also enjoyed the twists and turns, especially the one where we find out who Celeste (a superhero character) is – like seriously, when I found that out, I was really annoyed that I couldn’t dive right into book 3 because how unexpected was that?! If you guess who Celeste is, I’m really impressed.
This book certainly gives you the opportunity to think up theories about your favourite characters, because even though we get to know them, there is still so much we don’t know. And believe you me, I have so many theories, especially about Indra, Regan and Zilch.
The Lifeline Signal was a beautiful book, I was sucked into the story and couldn’t stop reading. I recommend it to all of you, however read Chameleon Moon first, as this isn’t a standalone sequel.
Have you read The Lifeline Signal or previous stories from this series? How do you like them?