Well, that was MUCH more interesting that the movie version!
The plot of this one is so drastically different, with only one or two events the same as the film, that I was able to sink into it much easier, because I couldn't anticipate what might happen next. I found it intriguing that the plot started by telling us that none of them are immune, like it claimed in the film, then ended by suggesting that *some* are immune, but some aren't. That was a really nice twist to end with.
I loved seeing Aris again, as I liked him in the movie, but he and Brenda as so much better in the book. Much more interesting and complex. And Brenda is more of a teenager here, than she was in the film. I also loved Jorge, and have no idea why they didn't keep him more along the lines of the book character, because he was sooo funny and twisty. I'm intrigued to see how he and Brenda fit in.
I thought the whole tattoo idea was great. At first, I wondered at how much it really gave away, how they all worked to what the tattoos said, and if that would only play into WICKED's hands. Then the signs around the city made it clear that some things just aren't what they seem. Like the kids were told. The manipulation was excessive, and at times I wondered if it was just too much for one book, but it all came together in the end.
Truthfully, I never liked Teresa. Not in the films, not in the story so far, so I really don't mind at all that she's called The Betrayer, and that she keeps breaking Thomas' heart. Or that she ended up lip-locking with Aris.
It was interesting to see that the Cranks were people infected by The Flare, but who weren't exactly the zombies that the movie made them out to be. They were basically mindless, violent, human-eating freaks in the movie, but here they're much more complex. There are stages to the infection, they retain a somewhat human mind, able to rationalise and plan, to group together and work as a team, even if their minds have reverted back to a purely animalistic mentality. I also loved the explanation that it was an *existing* disease that had been released from a disease-control facility, that adapted into The Flare. That makes it less alien, less strange, when you consider that it was an existing, manufactured or natural infection already in the world. I also liked the idea of the Bliss - a numbing agent for the rich. That was a nice added detail.
The flashbacks were a nice addition. They really gave us an insight into how deeply Thomas was embroiled in WICKED's actions, and planning. Almost like he was in charge.
The story was almost two halves - one where Teresa had barely any page-time, and one where she dominated, even if only by influence. The fact that she wasn't there for the entire first half left me wondering why, and what she was up to, but that was answered in the second half, which was great. We weren't left waiting too long to get answers.
Overall, a nicely complex and rounded section to the overall plot. Once again, the story arc of this book was complete and well written, well put together and explored, while adding even more to the overall arc of the trilogy.
"Oh, muchacho, you're one lucky sucker I like you. Not sure why, but I do. Otherwise I would've killed you three times already."
"Can you do that?" Thomas asked.
"Kill someone three times."
"I'd figure out a way."
"Then I'll try to be nicer."