Expression, by E.G. Wilson

willdrown's review

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Expression, the sequel to Voiceless, skips several years to deal with the long-term consequences of the sacrifice that Adelaide made at the end of the first book. As her brother Theo and her once-nemesis Maunga gear up to save Addy from the experiments, conducted by the Breach, we are taken into the heads of two characters that stand far apart from noble and selfless Addy. Wilson shifts quite gracefully from hopeful and idealistic Addy to angry and determined Theo, changing from a journey into a virtual reality to a rescue operation in a dark, unstable, Escherian underground facility.
What I failed to praise about Voiceless was its scope. The voice-stealing plague affected only a single country and even then the death toll was not staggering. The book was more of an exploration of power abuse, the ramifications of being attacked by those above you, and the immense strength one needs to keep going after losing an enormous part of themselves. A smartly chosen topic, eschewing the typical “the world is at stake” sentiments, delving into the personal issues of a lone wolf hero instead.
Expression is all about the horrible things that a hero like that may face and the consequences that stem from these trials. Theo and Maunga locate Addy quite easily, having had many years to prepare their rescue mission. Getting her out and acclimated to the real world, though, proves to be surprisingly challenging. Wilson cleverly dedicates the last 10-15 percent of the book to the hardships of battling Addy’s PTSD and helping her settle back into normal life. The selfless wide-eyed teen, in the time that passed between the books, has turned into a grizzled survivalist, ready to claw her way out of any situation when she’s alone but completely broken emotionally.
E.G. mostly avoids writing the rescue effort as some sort of mind-screw adventure in a dangerous complex, leaving just a couple of action sequences in the story, opting instead for confrontational dialogues and introspective narration.
Expression improves on the topics raised by Voiceless and puts a satisfying end to the adventures of Addy, Theo, and Maunga, making for a successfully entertaining duology steeped in the culture of New Zealand.