Deception by C.J. Redwine (book review)

Overall Rating- 4.5 out of 5 stars

Brief Summary- Will not contain spoilers!

Deception begins with the necessary damage control following the destruction of Baalboden that concluded the first book. Logan is quickly chosen as the leader to the group of city refugees. He devises a plan to trek the group through the Wasteland to form an alliance with a different city-state in hopes of combating their cruel leader and keeping the device that summons the Cursed One in safe hands. This book is unrelenting in action, surprise, and suspense as the group is not only chased by the Commander and a make-shift army, but there is also a traitor in their midst that reaps horrors for the survivors. Rachel struggles with the events that unfold and endures a personal battle through this tale. This book is all about the journey of the survivors but ends at a climax suggesting a marvelous finale to bring down all of those who wronged Logan and Rachel. Many crucial bricks were laid to develop a solid storyline and made this book even more riveting than its predecessor.

Extended Review

Succeeding Defiance, this second tale in the action packed trilogy did not disappoint. This almost never happens (although it always should if an author is picking up a pen to add to an already published masterpiece) but I gave this book a slightly higher rating than the first in the series. The author expertly pulls along the characters from the first book to forge strong emotional bonds in the second book. Her characters all blossomed and developed from events even more surprising than those encompassed in Defiance. Everything was stepped up a notch from an already well developed story. Sincerely, Bravo Redwine. Here are some other elements that made this story what it was:

  1. Relationships- There were many friendships, partnerships, romances, and rivalries that gave this book a powerful punch. From these relationships other themes/elements developed throughout the book. Here are some of the best:
    1. Logan and Rachel/ Quinn and Rachel/ Quinn and Logan- I was scared- I thought a completely unjustifiable love triangle was forming during this story. With another twist of the story Redwine navigates these complicated relationships with finesse. First Logan and Rachel experience complications which gives their relationship depth. However, their complications are not ordinary or petty. You know they are devoted to one another and are truly good for each other. That does not mean that they do not need the support of other’s friendships. This is where Quinn comes in. You think he is in love with Rachel but he really just owes a debt to her father. Through protecting her, he develops into a friend that Rachel desperately needs as she is caving in on herself. His presence allows Logan to handle his leadership roles while keeping Rachel alive and helping clear her mind. This would all seem fishy but the relationship between Quinn and Logan creates a healthy understanding. After discovering Rachel being comforted by Quinn, Logan confronts him and out of respect for one another and Rachel they lay everything onto the table. The reader then discovers the debt Quinn owes to Rachel’s father. In a relationship, I think it is very important that both partners are involved with serious friendships in their partners life. For this reason, Rachel and Logan can trust one another and also maintain an unbreakable friendship with Quinn.
    2. Willow- Her character is further developed in this book and becomes an essential character. She has Logan’s back, a deep story with her brother, maybe some romance with Adam, some friction with some from Baalboden, and an understanding with Rachel. Her dynamics definitely add to this story.
    3. Sylph- Her relationship with her husband is sweetening in a dark story but her stark contrasts with Rachel make their friendship even more powerful. Her death is painful but through it you see their devotion for one another. You see someone filled with happiness and love. Her character fills an essential void in a story comprised of lethal characters.
    4. Rachel’s ghosts (Sylph, her father, Melkin, Oliver)- All of the people that Rachel loved and lost leave a powerful imprint upon this story. She begins to lose her edge and ability to feel. This aches the whole way through the story but when she finally surfaces from this trial it is invigorating and powerful. She was definitely in the shadows during the action because of this but with two main characters, this made a huge statement and powerful theme: love can drive even those who have suffered tremendous losses. If you sit back and let grief take you then you lose the battle of life. But if you rise above the struggles and hold yourself high even when it is impossible, you will find life again. I appreciated how the author resolved much of these issues in this book. It made for powerful scenes (specifically with Rachel and Melkin’s wife and baby and battles within Rachel’s mind) She isn’t trying to drag something out for the sake of another book. She truly has more action to write and more problems to solve. Respectable.
  2. The other main element that guides this book is the amazing story line. The action and surprises surface in almost every gut wrenching chapter. By shaping Logan the way Redwine did, she created a purpose for logical thinking to steer the book. Amazing storytelling.

This was a phenomenal tale- please check it out!

Morality Rating- 3 out of 5 stars

The content was wholesome but VERY HEAVY. Pain, violence, injuries, death, grief, shame and much more make this a story for older teens and adults. The themes all erupt in a pure battlecry but the process is tricky and can be confusing for those not experienced enough to handle it.

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