"Lilith" is the second installment in what is rapidly becoming the "Wild Child" series. It's a fast-paced, well plotted follow-up which delivers answers to many of the questions and mysteries from Book 1, whilst posing new questions for Book 3.
The stakes are raised in "Lilith": now more lives are at stake than just Briana's and the fallout from the incident on the lake threatens to overwhelm even the two agents, Brawn and Brains. As the characters grow into their new circumstances it's satisfying to see that they still stay true to their roots in Book 1.
I was a huge fan of Kyle's character journey in Book 1 and I thought he developed well in Book 2. He still can't get past the idea that the accident was his fault: he is consumed by guilt and is desperate to make everything better. He knows he made huge mistakes but won't let Briana shoulder any responsibility for what happened. His constant need to atone manifests itself in an urge to take control but because he hasn't learned to trust Briana's instincts about her condition, and because he is unable to read the game of cat-and-mouse with the agents, he makes further, deadly mistakes.
There's a fantastic contrast in this book between adaptability and inflexibility. Kyle is inflexible and mired in his own misplaced guilt. He stubbornly sticks to his approach from Book 1- keeping Brie away from the Green water and keeping everyone else away from her. But as it is increasingly clear that Briana needs the water to live his attempts to "help" her result in increased risk of discovery. Briana is better able to understand the people she places trust in, and it is her actions that bring about the finale of the novel, not Kyle's. As Kyle controlled the finale of Book 1, the transfer of power in their relationship is almost complete. Whilst Kyle fights against the situation and tries to restore the status quo, everyone else adapts to take advantage of or mitigate the situation.
The shifting power dynamic between Brie and Kyle is again explored in this book: Brie is once again powerful, adaptable, and independent. She is beginning to carve out an independent existence for herself. In Book 1 she needed Kyle to help her get back to the water, and to elude discovery. Now, although she values her friend, she doesn't need to rely on him any more.
In "Lilith" Kyle isn't the only person who needs to come to terms with the consequences of actions from Book 1.
Guilt and redemption are recurring themes and there are some strong scenes with Kyle's father working through his own guilt, trying to repair the damage caused.
In Book 1 the idea of conflict was a central theme: Characters pulled against each other instead of working together, and in Book 2 the character Lilith neatly steps into the gap to exploit all of the differences between characters across multiple storylines. As a catalyst for the story Lilith is powerful. Her presence is often felt but seldom seen. Lilith causes conflict between Briana and Kyle and pushes their story towards its crisis point. Her air of mystery, manipulation and menace also cleverly weave into the Brawn/Brains plotline to create a sense of urgency to their goals, and a small amount of sympathy for their predicament. They are starting to become more human.
Mike's writing style is gripping and fast-paced as usual, and the tension has been ramped up in preparation for Book 3. This is a sequel which expands on the story and characters. It begins to flesh out a rich story which continues to move in unexpected directions, whilst remaining true to its roots.
Reviews of the Wild Child series:
Wild Child- Book 1
Reviews of other books by Mike Wells:
Secrets of the Elusive Lover