by Lauren Nicolle Taylor
(The Woodlands #4)
- The fourth and last novel in the series, The Woodlands
- Will release on October 31, 2014
- A post-apocalyptic dystopian novel
- Responsible for at least two late nights beneath the blanket
- Probably contains nicotine somewhere in there
Out of all the books in The Woodlands series, this one is my favorite because of the dual narrative and beautiful language that weaves together the sensory details with Rosa's inner thoughts. Rosa may think that she's horrible with metaphors, but her narrative voice is actually filled with vivid figurative language.
The story is divided between the perspectives of Rosa and Joseph. Given the movement that Rosa and Joseph take part in against the oppressive regime of the Superiors, I had an idea of what would happen, but I had no idea how. The episodes between Rosa and Joseph are brief but important -- each scene moves the story forward and keeps me intrigued on what would happen next.
Sometimes the perspective would switch and I'd whine, "No, but I wanted to find out what happened to Rosa." But soon enough, I'd be entranced with Joseph's side of the line.
So what's going on in The Wanted?
Rosa is a prisoner of the Superiors and faces interrogations in multiple forms. They want information about her friends, the Survivors, and Joseph. She has to stay strong and defiant and not let them break her.
In the beginning of the series, I wasn't able to identify strongly with Rosa (even though I liked her a lot as a character), but in The Wanted, I cheered for her the whole way. I think it's partly because she has matured over the past few books, especially after the death of Apella, a girl who ultimately proved Rosa's judgmental views wrong with her sacrifice. And while Rosa does "size up" people when observing them, she's a lot less judgmental than before because she tries to see things from their side of the fence.
Joseph was forced to leave her and escape. He struggles with feelings of guilt over the violence he used in order to flee. In the meantime, he is helping with the Survivors' rebellion against the iron grip of the Superiors. With many readers, there was an issue of Joseph being too perfect. To me, he just came across as an optimistic sort of guy who knows what he wants. In this book, however, his optimism and values go under trials of loneliness, grief, guilt, and uncertainty. It was good to explore some inner turmoil and weakness within him because his negative reaction to certain actions shows us where his values are as a person. Even if he is an overall hero, he can still be prone to moments of weakness.
Like with Rosa, some of the people in the Survivors have mellowed out a bit after their initial hostility towards each other, such as Deshi. I've gotten really fond of him and Rash as minor characters. I was even hoping for Deshi to hook up with another guy that comes into the picture in this novel, but *ahem* that did not happen, probably for the best.
I'm going to miss Rosa, Deshi, Rash, and Joseph. They had a wonderfully cranky but loving dynamic. When I saw the novella The Willful, I was actually hoping that this series had been extended into a quintet. Overall, I enjoyed this wonderful ending to The Woodlands series. The main loop is concluded, but as with life, there is a lot of uncertainty in the details in the aftermath. Will Deshi and Hessa become close again? Will Rosa and Joseph move past this moment of disloyalty? Will they all be a family in five years, after things have settled down somewhat? I think so.
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Check out my reviews on the other The Woodlands novels: