"Wants of the Silent" by Moira McPartlin is the second book in the author's "Sun Song" trilogy for young adults. The books are set in a dystopian future world that has divided itself into major power blocks, one of which is Esperaneo. The story is told from the alternating perspectives of the two central characters, sixteen-year-old Sorlie and his aunt, Ishbel, a sort of post-apocalyptic Lara Croft. Until they discovered their true relationship in the first book in the trilogy, "Ways of the Doomed", Ishbel had served as Sorlie's native servant, but the relatively ordered lives they lived back then have long gone, lost in the maelstrom of chaos and violence that marked the culmination of the first book.
"Wants of the Silent" picks up exactly where "Ways of the Doomed" left off. Sorlie and Ishbel follow separate paths that diverge immediately, each facing their own dangers and each trying to make sense of the world around them and, indirectly, helping make sense of that world for the reader. The books are set in 2089, and everything is different. So different that place names have changed, elements of language have changed, and above all else, society has changed. Divisions run deep between a Privileged class who live lives of relative ease and luxury, as far as the Earth's depleted resources will permit, and a much larger native Celtic underclass, virtual slaves from whom the Privileged are separated by upbringing, opportunity, and genetic background. The author's approach to drawing her readers into the world she has created is an engaging one. Nothing is made simple, and characters never take time out to explain their world to an audience from the present. This gives the books a wonderfully edgy, uncertain, feel. Sometimes you think that you've recognised a real place from a name or description, and sometimes you feel you can see the pieces of this strange society falling into place: only to have your expectations confounded on the next page.
The book begins with the escape from the penal colony on Black Rock. Sorlie then joins the army assembled by his grandmother (and Ishbel's mother) Vanora, only to find it falling far short of his expectations. When Vanora is kidnapped, Sorlie himself is injured and finds himself facing new levels of uncertainty and mystery as he struggles to carve out a role for himself in Vanora's world. This is not a book for those who crave clarity or certainty, but it will certainly appeal to those who enjoy having their assumptions challenged, and above all who enjoy an exciting and fast-paced novel full of mystery that keeps you turning the page. If you enjoyed "Ways of the Doomed", you will certainly enjoy "Wants of the Silent". If you have yet to encounter Sorlie's world, then we recommend these books as memorably different to just about anything you'll have read before.