cover image Out of the Dawn

Out of the Dawn

P.C. Cast. Crooked Lane, $28.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-63910-274-7

This rocky sequel to bestseller Cast’s gender apocalypse Into the Mist loses a bit of its predecessor’s gonzo charm while picking up an Anne Bishop vibe of nature taking violent revenge. The central question of why an earth goddess bombed humanity remains unresolved, but any reader geared up for book two isn’t going to be put off by holes in the story’s logic. Mercury Rhodes and her superpowered teacher crew have found a cliff to homestead on, if they can scavenge enough building materials and library books to figure out construction. Unfortunately, they’re unaware of arcane loopholes in their hypothesis that the bombs’ green-mist payload gives women powers and kills men. (In Cast’s hands, gender is treated as a biological binary.) These quirks allow baddies from book one to reprise roles—with mutations—enabling what conflict the plot has. Largely, however, the page count is eaten up by repetitive scenes of the women sourcing and making adobe bricks, with asides on finding stashes of gasoline, coffee, and wine, all with a Thelma and Louise sheen. Is it fun? Sometimes. Still, fans of book one eager for another girl power–infused fantasy will find plenty to enjoy just in checking in with the cast. (Aug.)