Regeneration by Stacey Berg. ★★★
Regeneration is the sequel to the post-apocalyptic novel, Dissension. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy Regeneration as much as its predecessor. As Regeneration starts where Dissension left off, I think this is a series that needs to be read in order. Also, I can’t figure out a way to do any sort of plot synopsis without spoiling Dissension. So be warned, spoilers follow from here on out.
At the end of Dissension, Echo walks out into the desert with the vague and distant hope of finding someone else out there in the world. At the beginning of Regeneration, she succeeds. The community she finds is thriving, with healthy citizens and lush plant life. It’s a place Echo could never have imagined, and even better, the new community might have the knowledge and technology to help Lia. But could these strangers be a threat to the Church and everything Echo knows? And within Echo’s home city, trouble and revolt still boil.
That “still” might be a large part of my problem with Regeneration. I feel like this sequel covers much of the same grounds as the original. The entire trouble with the citizens and worry of revolt? It felt so stale. The most interesting thing about Regeneration was the part that was truly new: Echo’s discovery of another, outside community. The beginning of the novel, when Echo was among them, was probably the most interesting part of the book. But once we get back to the Church, everything starts to feel familiar.
Additionally, I found the pacing to be slower. When reading Dissension, I felt compelled to keep flipping the pages. My best guess as to why is fascination with Echo’s character and her arc, as she slowly learns to see herself as a person. Most of that seems to have disappeared in Regeneration, and there’s not any sort of character growth or emotional journey to make up for it. That, plus all the back and forth movement of the plot, made for a much slower read.
I did like the expansion of the world building with the new community, but ultimately Regeneration left me unsatisfied. At several points, I considered quitting but ultimately stuck with it out of a desire to complete the series. Then again, maybe I was just in a different frame of mind while reading Regeneration. Other reviewers seem to like it much more than I did, so maybe it’s just me.