Rating: 3 Stars
Synopsis via Goodreads:
Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water.
Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn’t leave at all.
Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.
But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….
Me, during the beginning:
During the middle:
Near the end:
AT the very end, closing the book:
So, the beginning was fantastic. We’re introduced to Lynn and her mother, who are tough as nails and aren’t afraid to use a gun. It kind of reminded me of The 5th Wave, in the type of character Lynn is and that chapter at the beginning of The 5th Wave where Cassie shoots that man. Lynn’s THAT type of girl, the one that shoots first and asks questions later, and it’s completely justified in her world. If she doesn’t, it will kill her.
But then . . . it just went downhill. Fast.
Lynn starts making different decisions. The original girl we’re introduced to is still there . . . but just not as much. I get that she has to change in a lot of ways as the book goes on (for reasons I cannot give away), but it gets to a point where I think she’s just being stupid.
Lucy’s grip of Lynn’s arm tightened. “You’re not gonna shoot him, are you?”
“I . . .” Lynn looked down at Lucy, her blue eyes wide and questioning, Red Dog tucked protectively under her elbow. “This is what I do, Lucy,” she said softly. “This is how I keep us safe.”
“But he didn’t hurt us,” Lucy said, bewilderment bringing her fine eyebrows together over her tiny nose. “He hasn’t done anything wrong.”
“We don’t know that.”
“Lucy’s lower lip stuck out in an expression Lynn knew all too well. “Then ask him.”
“I’m not letting you shoot him ’til you know he’s a bad man.”
Okay, wait a second. WHY is Lynn even listening to Lucy? There’s a threat to her survival, and Lynn is taking orders from Lucy not to shoot the strange man, but instead, is persuaded by the kid to go out and talk to the him.
WHAT THE ACTUAL HECK?
Because before this, Lynn was good. She knew what needed to be done to survive. Yes, it’s crass and not too pretty, but it’s how she’s survived as long as she has. What she should have done was tuck Lucy away and then dealt with the man if she needed to. But noooo . . . even though Lynn was probably just planning to shoot a warning bullet at his feet to tell him to back off from her water, she instead goes out to talk to him, AND GIVES HIM CLOTHES. That is such a stupid thing to do in her world. Especially based on what’s happened before. The guy could have just been baiting her to see if she had anything worth taking, and then would come back with a lot of other men to take everything she had.
Especially when Lynn had thought earlier:
“Mother had taught her that those who didn’t hide themselves believed they were the ones to be feared and were best dropped at a distance.”
So Lynn knows this, and yet she is swayed by Lucy, a kid?
The whole middle is made up of this. Lynn suddenly growing a “heart” because apparently shooting strangers on sight was a “heartless” thing to do, even though it is the only reason she and her mother had survived so long. That’s life, buddy. It’s what you do to survive, especially when you’re only a seventeen-year-old girl with a kid with you.
Oh, and the ending? Stupid.
First of all: the romance. It was pointless. There was no spark, at all. It was simply THERE, out of the blue. It was like the author suddenly remembered that this was a YA book and there needed to be some romance mixed in. I didn’t get it; didn’t particularly care.
But that’s the worst thing: Even though the romance was a complete bore, the ending killed me. I didn’t see it coming, and it was just so . . .
Was it necessary? Really?
No. No, I don’t think so.