Available June 26th
Source: ARC from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Tessa has finally made peace with her life as a Variant. She and long-time love Alec are officially a couple, and for the first time, she has everything she wants.
But the air is tense at FEA headquarters. An agent has disappeared, and rogue variant organization Abel’s Army is likely the culprit.
When Tessa is summoned for her second mission, she is unexpectedly launched into a massive conspiracy. Her best friend Holly is kidnapped and Tessa knows it was meant to be her. But who is after her? And more importantly, why?
When the FEA’s efforts to rescue Holly don’t yield any results, Tessa takes matters into her own hands. Desperate to save her friend and uncover the mystery behind Abel’s Army, Tessa launches her own investigation—but nothing could prepare her for what she finds. Everyone in her life is harboring secrets: Alec, her estranged mother, even the father she never knew.
The truth will take her out on the road and out of her comfort zone, with danger lurking everywhere. Summoning all of her courage and strength, Tessa must decide who can be trusted and what is worth fighting for—even if it means going against the life she thought she wanted. Her final decision will leave readers breathless.
Defector picks up shortly after the events of Impostor, returning us to young Variant Tessa and her group of unusually gifted friends as they try and anticipate the next move made by supposed enemy Abel’s Army. Longtime series readers should know upfront that Defector is a classic second book, following a familiar path in which the main couple dissolves, a new romantic interest steps up, and a cliffhanger awaits us in the final chapter, but despite our frustration that this story fails break out of its middle book box, Ms. Winnacker undoubtedly tells a good story and keeps us entertained throughout. Her style is one that simply flows well; an easiness to the dialogue and the transition from one event to the next that keeps us turning the pages to find out what this second installment has in store for Tessa.
Though Tessa and Alec box step their way through a dance we’ve seen time and again when secrets that change everything are brought to light, Tessa handles the situation differently from many of the fictional girls that have come before her. Though she’s genuinely upset by what she learns, she doesn’t sit on the information and let it fester, changing her behavior around Alec while she questions his every move and creates more distance between them after working so hard in the last book to close it. Instead, she immediately confronts Alec with what she knows and asks to hear the truth from his lips, and when his answers confirm what she already knew, she thankfully doesn’t stage a dramatic exit. She asks for time to sort through everything while still admitting to herself that her love for him remains the same.
It’s only after additional secrets pile themselves atop the ones she just learned that Tessa decides to make the break we suspected was coming but dreaded just the same, venturing into the unknown in search of answers. While many might see her actions as a girl running headlong into trouble without all the facts (and that is certainly true to some degree), it’s also clear that Tessa will never be trusted with all the pieces of the puzzle that is her family at the FEA, leaving her little choice but to do the best she can in discovering things for herself. Her young age does show itself at times, particularly as her longing for home and family is brought to the forefront, but we can’t help but feel for her, knowing we as readers have the benefit of emotional distance whereas she’s trapped in a storm of confusion, pain and anger.
The introduction of a new romantic player is, to our great relief, a very minor component of this book, and Tessa recognizes fairly quickly that the days following a complete upheaval of her life are not the time to start a new relationship. Overall, Defector plays the part of a middle book to a T, but despite that, it’s a quick and engaging read that answers some questions while raising a slew of new ones, and I certainly can’t wait to see what will happen next.
*I was lucky enough to be a part of the promotional tour for Defector, so be sure and check out my interview with Susanne and enter to win a copy of the book!
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.