Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Review: Deception (Defiance, #2)


Deception (Defiance, #2)Author: C.J. Redwine
Series: Defiance, #2
Published: September 5th 2013
Publisher: Atom
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.


25 comments:

  1. Grrr! There are far too many cliffhangers this year. But yes, I suppose one flaw can be easily enough forgiven! I enjoyed the first book, but I wasn't blown away by it. It's reassuring to see that you liked this one though - I'm sure I'll get around to it eventually. And it is nice to see a middle book that lives up to expectations. Great review, Maja!

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  2. I wasn't a fan of Defiance, so I know I won't be reading this one, but I'm glad it's mostly flawless. What a relief that you never have to doubt the love the characters hold for another - pointless jealousy is always the downfall of middle books these days. Wonderful review, Maja, and I hope the conclusion is every bit as fantastic as you're hoping it is!

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  3. I agree with you, Maja, this was one great book without the middle book syndrome! Of course, the damned cliffhanger after all the action and heartbreak in the book was a killer!

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  4. OMG. I can't even remember the first one. Did I read it? I swear I did! My brain is all mushy!! This is terrible!! BUT it also means I need to go back and reread the first book before reading this one because now I need to know what happens. Yay for no middle book slump!

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  5. Maja I am glad this held its own as a middle book and love the sound of the secondary characters. I actually have books 1 &2 and will be digging them out.

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  6. I agree with you so much about those pesky second books, sometimes they are a huge disappointment (heck sometimes even the last book is anymore!)!

    I am so glad this one delivered!!

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  7. I really like the cover. I don't know about cliff hangers; they make me crazy until I can get the rest of the story.
    Lori

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  8. I enjoyed the character growth in this one as well and super excited for the next one

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  9. Oh no. Not a cliffhanger. I decided to read this one after reading a couple of paragraphs from your review but the cliffhanger is a deal breaker. I just can't afford to be sitting in wait for the next book. Bah.

    I love this series and I'm definitely wary of the sophomore book syndrome but I'm glad that didn't happen in this book.

    Wonderful review, Maja!

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  10. Wow, a middle book that impresses! That's pretty rare in the series world. I really like the sound of this series and I believe I have book 1 on my never-ending tbr pile. I think I'll wait closer to the release of book 3 to read them.

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  11. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one Maja! I really like this series overall, though I did struggle a bit in this one with Logan and Rachel's willingness to sacrifice themselves at every turn without taking into consideration what that would do to the other person. It was their first gut instinct every time, and while it's admirable that they want to save everyone else, it was just frustrating for me after a while. You of course make a good point though, it's likely a very accurate portrayal of the mindset after the traumas they both experienced. Definitely looking forward to book three. Stunning review!!!!

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  12. Good to hear that this one didn't suffer from MBS, but it sounds like it just made it. I love character growth and it's always nice to see it in the upcoming books! Must get my hands on book 1

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  13. I do like fantasy, and so glad it did not suffer from book syndrome. That's the worst.

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  14. I didn't know this series was a trilogy, but you're right. Well not a lot of authors choose to some. But I love Sally MacKenzie and Sandy Williams for the ones they did. I'll have to check this one out now! Mainly if it's only 3 books lol it's easier.

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  15. I totally agree. Middle books ten to suffer from middle books syndrome these days. I remember seeing the first book in this series and that amazing cover, too bad I never got to read it. I shall do it once all the books are out (I'll keep telling myself that). Great review, Maja :)

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  16. No! It can't be forgiven... ;) I do hate cliffies, but at least it is a trilogy and not a long series in which you might have to expect it again and again.

    I love the sound of this one. I'm usually not as disappointed with the second book but with the last. I don't always like the way things are wrapped up (or not). Yep, need to read the series, but might wait for the 3rd to be out. :D

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  17. I'm so glad that Defiance was a good read (not a bad middle book slump) for you. I have this on my want-to-read list, so it's good to know it's a strong second book. Thanks for the wonderful review and breakdown. :)

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  18. I've really wanted to read the first book for AGES so I'm really glad to hear that this one was great too! Hopefully I can get my hands on these soon.

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  19. I had an ARC of this and gave it to my friend because I just didn't have time to get to it and she did, and I assumed it would be a middle book I would probably want to wait to read anyway. On the one hand, I'm thrilled to hear that it was exciting and not suffering from middle book syndrome, but on the other, I am glad I spared myself the cliffie. I'll be very excited to pick this up closer to the release of book three. Very much looking forward to meeting the new supporting characters. Amazing review!

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  20. So agree about the middle book syndrome. I hate it! I am glad that this series avoids it and provides entertaining secondary characters. Sounds like this is a series I couldve shouldve wouldve read unlike Armentrout's :)

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  21. I am going to have to stop coming to your blog! Every time I do I add more book to my "to read" list! KIDDING! Well, sort of! I do add too many books, but I love your reviews!

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  22. Oh man, another cliffhanger?? Damn! But you make me want to read Deception (that's the first book right?) and Defiance so much! One of my bigggg pet peeves is names, like they can't be ordinary names like well, Rachel or Logan. They just kind of turn me off. But I do enjoy a good fantasy romance! Haha great review, Maja! Glad you liked it so much! :)

    (And yay on the no middle-book syndrome! :)

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    1. Oh ops, it's Defiance and Deception. Haha, my bad.

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  23. I just skimmed this review b/c I have yet to start the series, but I'm glad you liked the follow up overall, and that there doesn't seem to be a love triangle introduced in book two. Also, the fact that these characters retain unique voices in this dual narrative is a definite plus. I think I'll start these closer to the release of book 3 and read them all together.

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  24. I'm probably going to read this one over the winter holidays, Maja, so I'm glad you liked this one. It's great that the characters continued to grow and that the problems between Logan and Rachel didn't feel contrived.

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