Since I won this from Goodreads and it is a sequel, I first read book one, “The Firefly Code.” I didn’t know much about the story going in, and this was also the first book I’ve read by this author. I was surprised at the rather heavy subject matter and at how skillfully it was handled, especially for a middle-grade book; the duology is definitely as applicable to adults as to older kids and teens, and it is particularly germane to contemporary social issues and concerns despite being set a few generations in the future.
Picking up where “The Firefly Code” left off, Megan Frazer Blakemore’s “The Daybreak Bond” details the journey of the Firefly Five on their mission to save their friend Ilana from being scuttled. The two books coalesce together seamlessly, as if they were one long novel, although there are some subtle reminders peppered throughout the narrative to keep readers up to speed in case it has been a while since they read book one. “The Daybreak Bond” is even more intense than its predecessor, taking on the moral and ethical considerations that come with genetic engineering and being natural or designed. The Firefly Five, and particularly the main character Mori—from whose point of view the story unfolds—begin to understand the implications of their utopic existence in Old Harmonie and that the control of Krita stretches farther than they realized and impacts many beyond their own city. The repercussions of privilege and the failure to take responsibility when things go wrong become more evident when they interact with a trio of kids from “outside”, underscoring the ripple effect that results from power and supremacy. Ultimately, the story focuses on challenging the status quo and on remaining true to oneself in a society that emphasizes conformity, despite the consequences.