Endurance By Jay Lake

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WARNING THIS WILL CONTAIN SOME SPOILERS AS IT IS A SEQUEL TO GREEN.  I have tried to keep them contained to the beginning of the book without giving away the outcomes. 

First off, this is a sequel to Green which also happens to be the main characters name.  Sort of, basically she was sold around the age of two or three and lost her name.  So, she ends up being called Green.  Her world is that of a large city with a long history and she has forced some major changes unto her world.  Mild Spoiler: one of the major themes is her pregnancy which is not entirely obvious from the previous novel.  Green tries to find a quiet and calm place to have her baby.  Only people come looking for her from Copper Downs.  Reluctantly, she goes back to the city where she grew up.  However, her changes have drawn many from her original home Kalimpura as she had created a god.  Her life is marked by an assassin who dislikes her because of her meddling.  Not to mention her old gang of sorts wants her back to help their goddess.  While two other Gods have laid claim upon her unborn child, plus she has to deal with the stirrings of a revolt from the Pardine race (which I can best describe as snow leopards that walk upright).  They seek to reclaim their power which was stolen to create the ox god Endurance which is the strongest tie to her original home.  To top it all off, someone is targeting the gods trying to kill them and although Green killed a god they seek her help. 

All of these conflicts lead to her running around the city.  She is a highly active character.  Her narrative shocked me, while I have not been pregnant I still am not sure if even most of the fighting she does is even possible.  One thing holds true Green is a fighter.  One of the best she can only be defeated by a few that have trained her.  Yet, even up to seven months into her pregnancy she is completely exerting herself each day and appears to not eat much either.  It made me wonder if she could even survive the conditions she endures in the midst of winter no less.  The novel is certainly for a mature audience the violence is not particularly brutal but there are some sexual scenes.  A lot less than the first book, I assume because she is pregnant.   The plot carries extremely well from the first book and I hope continues into the third.  Most intriguing were Osi and Iso, twins on pilgrimage to learn about all gods.  Their part was particularly interesting as they were one but two at the same time.  There is more exploration of Below (the underground tunnels of Copper Downs) which infuses a bit of steam punk.  Overall, I was thrilled with the increasing complexity of this sequel.  Green was fittingly less complicated as the plots and conflicts flowed one after the other, but Green has grown up and learns to deal with the muddled issues of adults.  Although, she is still quite young about sixteen.  There are no loose ends and I was quite pleased that the book ended with her giving birth.  

Now, I’m off to research how pregnancy affects fighting performance.   Ah, a book that made me think, how I love those!

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