*This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
In the direct sequel to the book Hero we are brought back to the planet Jørn where Hero Regan and Fink are trying to adjust to life after the momentous events of the first book. Problem is, both of them seem to have developed some overly aggressive habits. Hero has occasional "tantrums" and physically lashes out at whoever is around. Meanwhile Fink is throwing his considerable weight around at anyone and everyone. To make matters worse, the Librarian has conscripted Hero for another task that will result in her going to the dangerous, inhospitable planet surface.
My favorite part of the first book was the technology and the world itself. Fortunately Crawford expands on both of them in this book. We get to learn a lot more about how the biotechnology of Jørn is designed, how it bears the signature of the one who works with it. We also get to learn more about how the cities hover above the surface and, in the last section of the book, what the surface of Jørn even looks like. I was very happy to read these developments.
The character work was a little less appealing in this book than in the first one. Hero and her best/only friend Norah have a lot of arguments that, from my perspective, seem more awkward than genuine. I do appreciate Timon's character being a nice balance to Hero's with, seemingly, no ulterior motive beyond racing.
Overall, Riven is a good continuation of the series, but, like most second books, it's purpose is clearly to get from point A to point B and nothing else. One character, Timon, is more firmly established. We get to learn much, much more about the world of Jørn. We learn of some of the consequences of Hero's previous actions. But it's not as good as the first book, and probably won't be the best book of the series.
Still, I enjoyed the read and do look forward to the next book. If you're interested in biotechnology science fiction, mutant species, alien worlds, this is a good series.