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Reviewed by Jessica Jesinghaus for Readers' Favorite
After the thrilling and tumultuous events of book 1 of this series (The Heights of Perdition), I found myself wondering if C.S. Johnson could recapture the spark, desperation, and hope I felt oozing from her two main characters, Exton and Aerie. Well, I am happy to report The Breadth of Creation does not disappoint! After unwillingly, but for the greater good, relinquishing Aerie to the clutches of the URS and her father, General St. Cloud, Exton returns to his family and crew aboard the Perdition. He can't even take solace in plotting and planning Aerie's rescue... What would be the point? With the URS's memory serum in her system, he would be a stranger to her. Their love no longer exists in Aerie's mind and she knows nothing of the broken space pirate whose heart she healed. Although the general promised no harm would come to their rebel settlement of Petra, Exton knows he must take measures to protect the innocent defectors at their secret base. So when a ghost from Aerie's past surfaces and tells Exton the best way to move on with his life and protect those he loves is to stop picking at the URS and confront them head-on with an outright war, he's inclined to believe it.
Meanwhile, back in New Hope, Aerie settles back into life with her unit, a job in the Comms Sector, and the continued growth of a possible relationship with her long-time friend, Brock. Although everything appears perfectly normal on the outside, inside Aerie is plagued by doubt. Thoughts sometimes pop into her head, bringing with them crippling headaches, as her heart tries desperately to fight the effects of the memory-wiping drugs she was given. Can she overcome her memory loss and regain what was taken from her? And even if she can remember, how could she possibly escape the clutches of the URS and her controlling father for a second time?
The Breadth of Creation continues the themes set forth in the first book about authority and conviction, duty and honor, and, most importantly, faith and love. C.S. Johnson tells an incredibly compelling story. Her secondary characters are so well thought out, each with their own purpose, conflicts, and story arcs to explore, but they're interwoven seamlessly into the story so as not to detract from Aerie's and Exton's journeys. I particularly loved getting to know more about the rest of Aerie's Unit (family). Her older twin brothers and domineering sister made only a tiny impact on me in book one, but they play a much more central role this time around. Watching them adjust and adapt to Aerie's new way of thinking was wonderful! And the ending? What a surprise twist. C.S. Johnson knows how to sucker punch her readers and leave them hungry for more. Needless to say, book 3 isn't far off on my event horizon!