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False Sight (False Memory, #2) - Dan Krokos Have you ever watched Alien and its sequel, Aliens, back-to-back? I did that this past year, and it was jarring--in part because everything had to be escalated in the sequel. The stakes were raised across the board. In the first movie, Ripley risks her own life to save a cat; in the second one, it's a (really annoying) child. In Alien, one alien attacks a ship full of humans; Aliens pits an entire planet full of families and a team of space marines against overwhelming numbers of the creatures, including the terrifying and gross queen. The two movies almost fall into separate genres--but they're both very, very good.False Sight, like its predecessor, opens with a crowd of preternaturally drugged, terrified humans stampeding like a herd of wildebeest through a normal suburban environment--in this case, a high school dance. Shit gets real immediately as a beloved character from the first book dies horribly and with little warning, and from there it quickly splits off to be an extremely complicated, completely different science fiction book from False Memory. There are terrifying, nearly indestructible, psychic, flesh-eating humanoid monsters from another world. Earth will be utterly destroyed if Miranda and her dwindling team can't stop the bad guys. It's a lot to take in.But Miranda hasn't changed. I love Miranda. It's like she was grown from a cutting of my teenage brain that Krokos kept in a little jar on his windowsill for a few months until it blossomed. And then he trained it to use weapons and fight like a badass but made sure it retained its vulnerable, empathetic core. I really love Miranda. I love her, and I love how she interacts with her team. Their dry, intelligent humor is absolutely perfect for the realities of the world they inhabit, and they have the coolest uniforms in the world.As in False Memory, there's some solid diversity here. There are major characters of a variety of races, and the female characters are just as strong as the male ones. At one point, Miranda is with two male soldiers, and she's the one who drives the car. I know that seems like a little thing, and it probably is, but driving a car is the kind of subtle show of strength that most authors--regardless of gender--automatically toss to a male character.This series is a proper serial, and the individual novels absolutely cannot stand alone. You may be a little (or a lot) confused if it's been a while since you read the first book, especially when things that seemed to have been resolved by the end of that book--such as Miranda's love triangle--crop back up again. And there's a danger in a story like this, in which all the major players are a very specific type of clone, that the deaths of characters will lose resonance. I could feel that starting to happen for me a bit here.I love hard science fiction. I devour it like so much rice pudding. So the sciency wiency, super-complicated plot of this book doesn't bother me. I just hope that with False Sight Krokos has finished building the bulk of this world, and that this book will serve as a crazy, expansive bridge between two slightly more stable novels. This review was also posted at Finding Bliss in Books.