REVIEW: Children of Scarabaeus (Scarabaeus, #2)

Children of Scarabaeus - Sara Creasy

Like the first book in this duology (Song of Scarabaeus), this was a quick, fun read for me. However, although I ultimately liked it, I definitely did not enjoy Children of Scarabaeus as much as I enjoyed its predecessor.

For one thing, Edie seems to have developed a pretty annoying martyr complex in Children of Scarabaeus. A good chunk of the book seems to consist of Edie's internal angst about having to sacrifice her life/love/needs/wants for Finn/the children/Scarabaeus/the galaxy (you can just mix and match from those two sets to get an idea of what 1/2 of the book is like). On top of that, most of her martyrly angst just seemed unnecessary, overdone, and over-the-top. I definitely got tired of Edie's repetitive internal melodrama around the book's halfway point, but unfortunately, it continued well beyond that. And, if she wasn't angsting about what it would cost for her to help/save [insert X], then she was angsting about what it would cost her to NOT help/save the [insert X] - it was like reading an endless loop of angst.

I also found it hard to truly care about Edie's plight, because the book never really laid the groundwork that it needed to for most of Edie's decisions to make any sense. For example, unlike Edie's relationship with Finn, which was so strongly established throughout the two books that you could understand why she'd be willing to risk losing so much for him, her relationship with the children was superficial at best. She was willing to make huge sacrifices for them, but why? Simply because it was "the right thing to do" (arguable), or because she could empathize with their situation (also arguable, since unlike Edie in her childhood, these kids at least appeared to be relatively content)? Although her motives were plausible since her heart was in the right place, they weren't necessarily realistic since the book didn't develop the relationships it needed to, which made Edie harder to relate to in Children of Scarabaeus.

In addition, I felt like there was a lot of stuff about Finn that we never found out. In the first book I could accept that, since I knew there would be another book coming in which Finn's past could be explored. But, since this was the final book in the series, I would have loved to have been able to learn more about him. Instead, we get a bare-bones picture of his childhood,

(Oh gee, he had a dog! How happy he must have been!),

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as well as a one-sentence explanation of his past relationship with Valari, and that's really it. I get that the book is from Edie's POV, and that Finn isn't much of a talker, but c'mon, man.

Furthermore, I thought that the middle of the book was kind of messy - a lot of events happened with no real resolution, and with no understanding of how any of the characters (except possibly Edie) felt about the way things went down.

For example, the failed attempt to escape from Natesa's ship... it goes horribly wrong, Valari even dies, and yet no one ultimately seems to be too bothered by it, and we get barely any reaction or insight from Finn about how he feels about the whole thing

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Also, a lot of things happened in Children of Scarabaeus that were very similar to things that happened in first book, making Children a bit more stale than its predecessor.

But, by the end, the book really came together. It definitely started strong, and even though it stuttered a bit in the middle, it eventually seemed to find its way again. And yes, I know that I focused a lot more on the negative than the positive in this review, but rest assured that a lot of what Song of Scarabaeus did well, Children of Scarabaeus continued to do well. If you can forgive some imperfections, if you can tolerate all of the angst, and if you enjoyed the first book, I don't see any reason why you shouldn't pick this one up as well.