Format: Paperback, 339 pages
Release Date: September 13, 2016
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Science Fiction>Dystopia
Zoey is not the woman she once was. She’s watched her friends die at the hands of their captors, been hunted, and returned from the brink of death. Now she must find the truth about who she is.In search of the family she never knew, Zoey learns of personal records stored in an Idaho missile silo that may contain the information she and the other women seek. With the help of her group of newfound friends, Zoey travels to the missile facility, but among the records, they uncover information that leads to an insidious and horrific new foe: the Fae Trade, a macabre carnival of slavery and pain.
Zoey’s journey into the darkest parts of the human psyche brings her perilously close to the ever-thinning line between good and evil, and the final cost in her quest for justice might be her own humanity.
“Sometimes the smartest decision is the last one you want to make.”
The Final Trade, by author Joe Hart, is the second installment in the authors The Dominion Trilogy. The story takes place (6) months after the events of The Last Girl. As a summary, this series takes place in a not too distant future. A future that saw a pandemic called "The Dearth" spread world wide. It is now a world where only boy baby's are born, while girl babies are sent to a militaristic compound run by the National Obstetric Alliance, or worse. It is a world where women are a valuable commodity to be sought out, traded for, or sold into slavery.
As the story opens, the author offers a brief glimpse into the past. This glimpse is key because it has everything to do with Zoey, and who her parents were (although the author doesn't give us any hints as to who they could be.) Are they still alive? How did Zoey end up at ARC? We simply do not know. But, it is the one thing that drives Zoey so hard to find answers after being held for 20 years while also being promised to meet her parents when she turned 21. Zoey has some issues hanging over her head. While she escaped along with Rita and Sherell, she's the reason why others didn't.
In the present, Zoey chases after a spy who got too close to the camp where she, Merrill, Sherell, Tia, Rita, Eli, Ian, Chelsea, and Newton called home. Zoey has been training hard, learning how to shoot, and healing her once broken body thanks to Merrill, Ian, and Chelsea. Sometimes she pushes herself too hard. In the ensuing chase, Zoey learns that there is a place called Riverbend Missile Silo (Southern Idaho). As the group arrives, they discover that Riverbend may hold key answers to Zoey, Rita, and Sherell's parentage, and they also learn about something called the Fae Trade.
What's interesting about this book, is that it is way, way darker than the previous book. It is apparent that Zoey is also becoming the de facto leader of the group. But, Zoey still needs answers, and she is willing to go to the darkside in order to find them. This means making some hasty and unwise choices while leaving others behind. This means traveling to Riverbend. This means putting down without emotion or regret anyone who harms her friends who have become her family. This also means that Zoey and a few others will end up traveling to one of the stops on the Fae Trades way to Seattle, aka the Last City.
This is where we meet Wen. Wen is traveling along with the Fae Trade. The Fae Trade is a traveling carnival that travels coast to coast. We also meet the Elliot & Sasha Preston who operate the traveling circus known as Fae Trade. Wen is a cook, but she is also a slave and food taste tester for the Preston's. She also has plans to escape with a guard who she befriended. While she may have some sort of freedom, she can't go anywhere outside of the Trade alone for fear of being picked up by a man who wants his own personal slave.
The Final Trade has a whole lot more violence than the first installment. In reality, it all lays at the feet of Zoey who is responsible for a large majority of killings, and bloodshed. It is also her actions that lead to one of the more violent scenes in the entire novel. One could honestly say that this book is about who Zoey wants to become. Does she want to become a killer? Or, does she want to become a beacon of hope for others? Can she hold her unit of friends together, or will her actions be the death of everyone she's come to love?
“Some things are too heavy to manage on your own. Certain burdens will break a person if they insist on bearing them alone.”