Friday, October 2, 2015

All Things Halloween Review - Deception

Deception (Defiance, # 2)

By: CJ Redwine

Published: August 27th 2013 by Balzer + Bray

496 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopian

Source: Borrowed from Library

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Goodreads description--Baalboden has been ravaged. The brutal Commander's whereabouts are unknown. And Rachel, grief stricken over her father's death, needs Logan more than ever. With their ragged group of survivors struggling to forge a future, it's up to Logan to become the leader they need—with Rachel by his side. Under constant threat from rival Carrington's army, who is after the device that controls the Cursed One, the group decides to abandon the ruins of their home and take their chances in the Wasteland.

But soon their problems intensify tenfold: someone—possibly inside their ranks—is sabotaging the survivors, picking them off one by one. The chaos and uncertainty of each day puts unbearable strain on Rachel and Logan, and it isn't long before they feel their love splintering. Even worse, as it becomes clear that the Commander will stop at nothing to destroy them, the band of survivors begins to question whether the price of freedom may be too great—and whether, hunted by their enemies and the murderous traitor in their midst, they can make it out of the Wasteland alive.

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.

I’m so behind on this series. I received the third book, Deliverance, for review from Edelweiss at least a year ago. But I still needed to read Defiance and Deception. I’ve since tried to do better about not requesting any books in a series if I haven’t read the prior books because it’s almost impossible to meet the deadlines, but sometimes I just get so wrapped up and excited I can’t contain myself. That’s what happened here. Even though I enjoyed Defiance, I felt drained when it was over. It wasn’t necessarily emotionally draining. I can’t really explain it. Regardless, it left me with a need to recoup some before picking up Deception. Yet, as the year mark approached from when I requested Deliverance, I really began to feel the need to at least mark book 2 off my list and be one step closer to reviewing the one I signed up to review in the first place. And so here I am.

Deception was an intimidating read for me to pick up because I’ve been in a reading slump off and on throughout this entire year so far. On top of that, it’s nearly 500 pages. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind reading long books, but for the most part I prefer books that don’t require such a huge commitment. I know I’ve mentioned not being obsessed with the numbers and the number of books I read each year is just part of that, but I do at least want to hit my goal. And as naturally happens with a book that’s almost 500 pages…it felt long (and slow) to me. I don’t know how much of this was from the actual length or how much was from my reading slump. It wasn’t until the 70% mark that I really felt like the book picked up the pace and became more eventful. It wasn’t torturously slow up until then, but I found it fairly easy to put down when the time came.

We pick up Deception where Defiance left off. Baalboden is in ruins and Logan is soon voted into the position of group leader. He’s really the only one with a plan so that works out. The Commander who made all of their lives awful has fled to the city-state of Carrington and talked them into joining his cause. He brings their army to Baalboden intent on recovering the device that controls the Cursed One from Logan and Rachel. The group flees Baalboden in pursuit of Lakenshire (another city-state). During their trip, they realize that someone is killing off members of their group, and it’s possible that that someone is actually a member of their group. The Commander and the Carrington army, the Cursed One, a killer in their midst, highwaymen, and the possibility that Lakenshire won’t offer them refuge makes their trip eventful and tragic.

Throughout the trip, Logan continually rises to the challenge. He takes on the burdens of leadership and shoulders them well. That’s not to say that he’s not stressed or worried or overwhelmed. But he knows that there are no other options. He presses on. He takes the challenges as they come. And he does the best he can. Rachel on the other hand…I really struggled with her. She is grieving over her father’s death, and Oliver’s death, and Melkin’s death. She has guilt and grief weighing her down like nobody’s business. But instead of doing what she needs to do to process her emotions, she stuffs them down and tries to smoother them. It was painful for me to read about because I could so easily see that how she was “coping” was only going to come back to bite her in the end. And this resulted at times in her pushing Logan away when she should have used him for comfort as well as shouldering each other’s burdens. Of course, everything that Rachel endures and her learning how to process and deal is necessary to ensure that she can handle what is yet to come. So if you’re struggling with this aspect as much as I was, press on.

The other characters were all well developed, Willow and Quinn especially. But I loved seeing more of Sylph and even characters like Adam and Ian, Frankie and Thom. I look forward to more from these characters throughout. I was worried about a potential love triangle there for a bit, but I ended up really liking what direction CJ Redwine decided to go in for this.

The title wouldn’t be fitting if the biggest conflict and reveal didn’t surround deception, but it did. Again, it wasn’t until the 75-80% mark that answers started coming out and things started making sense. I had the killer pegged from the beginning, but I didn’t have the why nailed down at all.

Since I borrowed this from the library, I couldn’t highlight, but most of my screenshots revolved around times when I was frustrated with Rachel and her lack of coping. Favorite quotes:

-But fires only burn until you starve them for fuel.

-I don’t know how she does it. She lost her parents, her grandparents, and her older brother. I know she’s devastated. But instead of closing herself off to mourn her loss, she reaches out to others with an unflinching generosity that both baffles me and makes me envious.

-I’ve learned that death is an insatiable creature with greedy hands…

-I accepted that any respect I might earn from others, I must first earn from myself.

-Worst Case Scenario: Everything else.

Deception was a long book for me. There weren’t dreadfully slow parts, but until the last 30% I didn’t cringe if I had to put it down. Rachel was a struggle for me as she had to learn to process her emotions and feel them. It reminds me of The Fault in Our Stars that pain demands to be felt. Eventually, she did process and her experiences were necessary to teach her how to overcome what she is about to face. I loved Logan in this book. His fierce determination to do the best he could by his people, as well as his devout loyalty to Rachel through everything. In the end, Deception gets 4 Stars. Have you read Deception? What did you think? Let me know!

This review is part of my All Things Halloween event--a month of paranormal, supernatural, mystery/thriller, etc reviews and books.

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