Eighteen years after their collective awakening from the IVR (Immersive Virtual Reality) Academy in Idlewild, five of the six clone-children -- socially maladaptive Vashti and bubbly Champagne in Germany, loner Halloween in America, Sufi-faithed Isaac in the Middle East, and Halloween-loving Pandora in Germany -- are struggling to rebuild the world as they know it via different sciences and faiths, as well as deal with the amassing fallout of their decisions dating back to their childhoods. Fantasia, who voluntarily disappeared near the end of Idlewild, is still unaccounted for.
But then two threats make themselves known: the mysterious Deuce shakes the integrity of the Pandora-run IVR where a second generation of clone-children (fourteen of them, including Penny, a wild child waiting to explode) are visiting, learning the things they'll need to know to further their parent-creators' designs. The second threat is of the microbial variety: it appears that the Black Ep virus, which destroyed humanity, as well as rendering it barren, has mutated, and might kill the new generation of clone-children, and by extension, the human race -- this time for good.
Sagan's writing and imagery is less mindf***ish than in Idlewild's, but is no less effective here. As the possibility of humanity's final hours grow more probable, the characters -- whose personalities are sharply defined, and often at odds with each other -- become more real (and therefore worth caring about), via quirks, actions and Sagan's fascinating language.
Worthwhile follow-up to Idlewild, this. Check this series out.
Followed by Everfree.
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