Be My Enemy: Everness, Book 2

Common Sense Media says

Sci-fi sequel offers intense adventure, frequent peril.

Age(i)

2
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12
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

Less explanation of quantum physics/multiverse theories than in the first book, but still a fair bit of science-based information. The book also explores the science behind both airship mechanics and nanotechnology.

Positive messages

There's a certain bleak undercurrent to this series, but messages about the importance of family and friends remain central and powerful. Everything Everett does is intended to further his goal of rescuing his father and reuniting his family, and he cares deeply about his Everness family, as well. More than the first, this book also has messages about the danger of uncontrolled technology, from the powerful but unpredictable jumpgun to the rampant destruction of the Nahn.

Positive role models

Everett is determined, intelligent, and resourceful -- as well as a loyal, compassionate son and friend. He's honest, even when he doesn't think it will be in his best interest. Sen is clever and tricky; she bends the rules, but almost always for the right reasons. The rest of the Everness crew members are flawed but generally well meaning. A complex new villain is introduced in this installment; Everett M (Everett's "alter" from another universe) is recruited by the bad guys to further their plot; he's conflicted about his place in the plan and his relationship with the "real" Everett, and he ultimately acts more out of self-interest than anything else.

Violence

Nearly constant peril/threats/sense of danger throughout Be My Enemy. Everett and the Everness crew begin the book stuck in an icy universe where they're ultimately threatened by both human villains and something far more monstrous. But the bulk of the action takes place on Earth 1, where the ruthless Nahn (short for "nanotech") have decimated human life on the planet. Some of the imagery associated with the Nahn and their impact on E1 is very disturbing, and the description of how they attack humans is unsettling. A significant character dies. Lots of armor, weapons, and confrontations. One character is saved and essentially rebuilt as a machine after a terrible car accident.

Sex

Flirting between Sen and Everett, including a couple of quick kisses and some snuggling.

Language

Lots of palari slang, as well as occasional use of words like "arse" and "bastard."

Consumerism

A few products/brands (i.e. Iron Man) are mentioned in passing, generally as a way to help demonstrate the differences between the universes.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Be My Enemy is the sequel to Planesrunner, the gripping sci-fi adventure that introduced readers to Everett Singh and the Infundibulum, a much-sought-after map of the far-reaching multiverse. As in the first book, Everett and his allies -- the quirky crew of the airship Everness -- face constant danger and violence throughout the story. Humans, monstrous creatures, and technology-based enemies all pose serious threats; a significant character dies, and there's some very disturbing imagery related to the Nahn, a nanotech intelligence that has decimated one of the book's key worlds. Everett remains a steadfast friend and son, and the series' messages about the importance of family and loyalty continue in this installment, albeit within a fairly bleak setting. Expect a bit of salty language and some flirting, but the peril/violence is the main issue here.

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What's the story?

BE MY ENEMY picks up right where Planesrunner -- the first book in Ian McDonald's Everness series -- left off. After using the powerful jumpgun to escape their enemies, Everett Singh and his crew/foster family on the airship Everness have randomly leapt to a universe in which Earth is a frigid, forbidding place. As Everett races to figure out how to use the jumpgun and the Infundibulum (the map of the entire multiverse that his enemies are desperate to possess) to trace his missing father and help his friends find a safer haven, new threats force the allies to relocate to Earth 1 -- the mysterious, long-quarantined universe that offers both answers and deadly peril. Meanwhile, Everett's enemies are developing a powerful new weapon in their quest to capture him and the Infundibulum ... a weapon that looks very familiar.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Offering a mix of fast-paced, engrossing action and thought-provoking sci-fi, Be My Enemy is a worthy follow-up to its predecessor, Planesrunner. Everett remains a sympathetic character whose motivations are always well intentioned. And his relationships with the Everness crew -- particularly spunky Sen and dashing Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth -- continue to deepen in this installment, driving the stakes even higher.

Things get pretty intense when the action shifts to Earth 1 -- the destructive Nahn are creepy and unnerving; as an extreme example of the dangers of technology "innovation" left unchecked, they're a very effective cautionary tale. As the second book in a planned trilogy, Be My Enemy suffers a little bit from middle-book-itis -- nothing is really wrapped up, and readers will be left champing at the bit to find out what happens next -- but it's a thoroughly entertaining adventure that will have a strong appeal for readers interested in real/hard science, as well as those who just like a good yarn.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the idea that there's an infinite number of parallel universes. Does the notion that there might be multiple copies/versions of you and your family spread across the cosmos intrigue or unnerve you?

  • How is Everett changing over the course of the series? What are his challenges teaching him? How do his relationships with the other characters shift? Do you consider him a role model?

  • The Everness series includes a fair bit of science background/information. Does that make it more or less interesting? How could you find out more about the theories that it explores?

Book details

Author:Ian McDonald
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Adventures
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Pyr
Publication date:September 4, 2012
Number of pages:280
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17
Available on:Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook

This review of Be My Enemy: Everness, Book 2 was written by

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