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[Review] Surrender by Elena Johnson

18 Jun

Title: Surrender

Author: Elena Johnson

Publication: June 12th 2012 by Razorbill

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Summary (Amazon): Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.

     All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn.

     Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque…. 

My Review: 

I was interested in reading Surrender because I just had to know what happened with Vi and Zenn and Jag after the events of Possession, even though that novel . So, I was pretty disappointed to hear that they would only be background characters in the second book in Elana’s trilogy. But I think she did a good job of introducing two new main characters and still showcasing the ones who were the initial draw.

I’m a little conflicted with how I feel about this book so let me break down The Bad, The Good and The Great:

The Bad: I spent a lot of the book entirely confused about how the Insiders operated and weren’t caught. For a place that in the first book had such strict rules and procedures, the characters we meet seem to get away with an awful lot. I understand that there were people helping them to get away with things, but over all it just didn’t feel all that plausible to me. I mean, Gunner was far too reckless and got away with far too many things for me to believe were possible in this place with no freedom.

I’m still not entirely sure who was on what side, who was helping who and who was really the enemy. I mean, I know who The Big Bad is (or at least I’m sure, with this series it’s definitely not crystal clear),but beyond that there was a lot of back and forth and things that didn’t quite fit. I wanted more insight on some of the characters to decide what they were doing and what their motives were and I was left feeling unsatisfied overall.

Also, I’m still not clear on how the ending happened. Has anyone read the book? I may need to bounce some ideas off of you!

The Good: The strong friendship between Raine and her match Cannon was sweet to witness, you could tell that they really did care for each other even if they weren’t romantically involved. However, their friendship and match was also one of the few things that made Raine vulnerable to her father, which doesn’t bode well for anyone involved.

Gunner was a great addition to the book and I think he was the perfect foil for both Zenn and Raine. I would like to know more about Gunner’s past and how his mother and father play into everything that is currently unfolding. Gunn is the character I am more interested in seeing how his future plays out.

And Vi and Raine had some fantastic scenes together, it was interesting to see Vi be the one who was able to get through to Raine when no one else could. I’m a big fan of YA books not displaying two girls as enemies or competition, there’s so much of that on television that it’s good to see these two working together and supporting each other.

The Great: I liked getting to see Raine’s power and how it affected her. Everyone else we’ve seen has a power and can use it, but they usually don’t suffer consequences from using it. I thought it was fascinating to see a different side of these powers and see why someone honestly didn’t want to use them. I though Raine was an excellent character, even if she was a bit under developed. As much as I liked Vi in Possession, I think I like Raine even more!

Overall, Surrender was a vast improvement from Possession yet I still felt it was lacking in many ways. But if you like dystopian fiction this trilogy is worth taking a look at it. And even though I wasn’t 100% satisfied, I’ll still be sticking around to read the third book and see how this all ends.

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