Chasing Bedlam will happen a year after the conclusion of Crossing Bedlam, which means our characters had some time to bond and grow. This is mostly shown in Cassidy since the first book had her in a personality limbo. She didn’t have much to her beyond the badass fighter, straight man to Lloyd, and occasionally sparks of an angry personality that got triggered by delays. Part of this was because her partner had the bigger personality, but there were comments about Cassidy not being very deep. Well, there was a reason for that.
Something that was overlooked by some in the first book was her situation. She had just lost her mother, who was the one that protected and raised her through from normal infancy and into the later years of dystopian survival. Her mom was her role model and world, which had just been shattered. One of the points of Crossing Bedlam was that Cassidy had to start over. Tossing her mom’s ashes off the Golden Gate Bridge was the way for her to release the past and become a new person. Remember that she was wearing her mother’s coat and using her mother’s gun the whole time. Now, she’s carving out her own personality and niche, which brings us to her restructuring.
I needed to keep Cassidy somewhat true to the original, but less rigid. Being around Lloyd for so long, she’s definitely loosened up and will crack a few jokes. She still says ‘shut the fuck up, Lloyd’, but it’s not always in anger. They definitely have a brother/sister thing going on in this one. At the very least cousins who grew up together. This relationship has helped her survive and get over her pain to the point where she is obviously enjoying what she does. While Lloyd is the whirlwind of carnage, Cassidy is the adrenaline-addicted scalpel that is more dangerous when it has time to think. The opening scene shows how much she has changed in her tactics since they have become a lot bolder. She isn’t the same type of predator as Lloyd, but she definitely has that aura now. I want to give examples, but I don’t want to spoil.
Given that the main story involves Cassidy ready to destroy the entire Southeast, she has a few rage moments here. Another aspect of her evolved personality is that she is very protective of her things. She gave up nearly everything to cross the country and now she’s not willing to give her new belongings up. The jeep is the most important one since that’s what she calls home. She traded the home she’s known since the collapse to get this vehicle and now somebody took it. In her mind, this is both a carjacking and a home robbery. Now, we’re talking about a woman with a love of big guns and a supplier that keeps her hobby going. You can only imagine the ‘fun’ that she’s going to have when somebody gets in her way.
So, the new Cassidy is something to look forward to. I think she’s a lot more entertaining and a better match for Lloyd, who has mellowed a little bit. This is where you get to learn a bit more about her too since she’s a lot less guarded. Who knows what secrets will be revealed?