Earth and Ember by Lindsey Pogue
This is the follow up to Dust and Shadow. I was stoked to get my hands on this one!
In Earth and Ember, we return to Sagebrush. The official story begins roughly two weeks after the ending of Dust and Shadow, and let me tell you, it's action from start to finish.
Readers are introduced to Kaia, what the residents of Sagebrush would call a drifter. She is a descendant of the remaining native americans in the area, poised to become their etsi, which is a leader amongst the unified tribes that first went to the mountains at the same time as the shift.
Whereas the residents in Sagebrush are losing access to water, those who live in the mountains have plenty of water, but not nearly enough food. There's been a war between the two peoples.
The story opens with a couple of flashbacks. One, to the death of Kaia's father. The second, is to the two drifters Jo saw in Dust and Shadow, and the men that killed them.
Since Jo and Clayton have taken over Sagebrush's leadership, they're determined to reach out to the drifters and sue for peace. So they send Luke, one of the men that killed the drifters in book one.
I adored Kaia's voice. To see someone coming into adulthood, having to face the expectations of everyone around them, and embracing them instead of shirking them off was a refreshing way to see a female main characters arc.
Pair her with the animosity between her people and those in Sagebrush, when she comes across Luke, she vows to hate him forever.... until she doesn't.
Earth and Ember expanded on the world Pogue built in Dust and Shadow. It was exciting, the romance was enticing, and I can't wait to check out the next one: Tide and Tempest!