Author: C.J. Redwine
Series: Defiance, #2
Published: September 5th 2013
Format: Paperback, 464 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository
In this daring sequel to Defiance, with the world they once loved forever destroyed, Rachel and Logan must decide between a life on the run and standing their ground to fight. With their ragged group of survivors struggling to forge a future, it's up to Logan and Rachel to become the leaders they need. Under constant threat from rival armies and no place to call their own, the group decides to take their chances in the Wasteland, despite the deadly risk of The Cursed One. But soon their problems begin: someone - possibly inside their ranks - is sabotaging the survivors, picking them off one by one. They begin to question whether the price of freedom may be too great. And whether their band of survivors, hunted by their enemies and the murderous traitor in their midst, can make it out of the Wasteland alive... and whether Rachel and Logan can survive these trials together.These days, eight out of ten middle books in trilogies are complete letdowns, but as long as there are shining stars like Deception, I won’t stop hoping that more authors will find a way to make those second installments less clichéd and more interesting. Fortunately for me and her other readers, this is a lesson C. J. Redwine doesn’t need.
Deception picks up mere days after the end of Defiance. Logan was chosen as leader of their group, which consists of around a hundred Balbodeen survivors and two newcomers, Willow and her brother Quinn. With the device that controls the Cursed One in Logan’s possession, they are safe from the creature, but the real monster, their former leader, is right on their heels. Logan and Rachel work relentlessly to take their people to safety.
Aside from the ongoing war and the constant danger, Rachel’s spirit is constantly weighed down by PTSD and depression. She is full of quiet anger, hell bent on revenge against the Commander and always struggling to keep it together. Her traumas cause a reckless, almost suicidal behavior, which hurts and terrifies Logan. By finding the right balance between anger and sadness for Rachel in her situation, Redwine proved to be an excellent psychologist and a very insightful person.
For the most part, Redwine avoids the usual middle book issues, but only just. Unlike most middle books, Deception has admirable character growth and a strong, full plot. The issues between Rachel and Logan aren’t pointless, created only to build unnecessary and often excessive tension. They feel genuine, caused by their mutual grief, Rachel’s overwhelming sense of guilt and Logan’s new responsibilities. But even when they don’t communicate like they should, even when Rachel is self-destructive and Logan completely wrapped up in his own genius, we might question their future together, but never their love for each other.
My fingers curl over the flesh and bone that shelters his heart. A heart strong enough to keep moving forward even when he’s lost so much. Strong enough to lead even when he doesn’t want to. Strong enough to commit to me when I know I’m not an easy person to love.
Rachel’s and Logan’s voices are nothing alike. I imagine Logan was extremely difficult to write, what with his mathematical mind constantly working to come up with new inventions. Redwine was able to portray this distractedness combined with worry for Rachel and his people beautifully. Despite his many concerns, being inside his mind after dealing with Rachel’s constant anger was a soft and pleasurable experience.
Oh, but the secondary characters! Not many authors achieve such complexity in such a large cast of characters, and yet Redwine gave us Quinn, Willow, Ian, Adam and so many more intricately built individuals. Getting to know each of them was no easy task, but figuring out their motivations was a delight.
I am very much looking forward to the conclusion of this trilogy. I am not happy with the cliffhanger, but it’s just one flaw in an otherwise excellent book. One flaw can easily be forgiven, right?
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.