Balzer + Bray
Available August 27th
Source: ARC from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.
Deception is a heavy read, the weight of all that Logan and Rachel have suffered combining with the tense limbo they find themselves in as they travel from the remains of Baalboden to one of the other city-states to make us stumble in this second installment, our fingers feeling no urge to turn the pages with any speed because we know what awaits us will only add to the burden we already carry. Part of the trouble stems from the fact that while the pain and cruelty of the Commander are fresh for Logan and Rachel, they’re but a distant memory–a haunting echo–for us as readers after nearly a year, and given his presence is but fleeting in this book, we have nothing to spark the fiery hatred that burned so brightly in Defiance. Without that which ignited a deeply-rooted investment in their cause, we find ourselves a bit lost, disconnected from Logan, Rachel and their journey to save what remains of their people.
Logan and Rachel too create a barrier between us and them in this tale, their emptiness bleeding into us almost immediately until we find ourselves as emotionally numb as they are, not caring nearly as much as we want to about those who meant so much in book one. While their relationship is seemingly solid and the declarations of love feel genuine, Rachel and Logan are as far apart as they possibly can be despite their close proximity physically, each of them so willing to fall on their respective swords for the other that it creates an unwanted but necessary detachment for us, the need to protect ourselves from the pain they seem almost eager to inflict with their own deaths a fateful companion throughout.
Though the impressive page length and the challenges resulting from Rachel and Logan's emotional distance slow the pace with which we read this book to a near crawl, Ms. Redwine gives us some hope in the end that the next leg of this journey will see us invested once again. Rachel sheds some of the melancholy and grief she’s carried every step of the way after leaving Baalboden, finally showing a bit of feeling and reminding us why we were rooting for her initially, and while we could understand her need to hide from herself and those around her using impenetrable emotional armor, it’s a weight lifted off our shoulders to see her find a purpose outside of her destroy-the-commander tunnel vision.
Overall, there's no doubt Ms. Redwine is a talented writer and storyteller, this second installment is just a touch trickier to really connect to given how bleak things are for the characters as a whole. The promise of book three we're left with though keeps this series on our list of ones to continue, and I for one look forward to seeing Rachel put as much heart into the upcoming battle as she does brute force.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.