Thursday 30 October 2014

Book Review - Defector

Author: Susanne Winnacker
Series: Variants #2
Genres: Paranormal, Fantasy | Young Adult
Release Date: 7th August 2014
Publishers: Hodder Children's
No. Pages: 312
Source: Review Copy - Hodder Childrens
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
Tessa has made peace with her life as a Variant. She and longtime 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 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.

Finding the truth will take her out on the road and out of her comfort zone, with danger lurking at every turn. Summoning all of her courage and strength, Tessa must decide who can be trusted and what is worth fighting for. Her final decision will leave readers breathless.

The following review may contain spoilers concerning earlier books in the series.
If you have not read the previous installments, please proceed with caution.

Sometimes it's difficult to know when to request and read a sequel to a book you weren't that impressed with, and sometimes, those decisions can result in a good action, or a bad action - Defector is the sequel to Imposter and Imposter really didn't impress me an awful lot, yet my decision to continue with the series and consider it's concept was rewarded, and while it may not have been mind-blowing, it definitely was an improvement.

Unlike with Imposter, I found that my experience when reading Defector was much more positive. I wasn't tempted to give myself a specific amount of pages to read and then dismissing it for the night, in fact, it proved to be one of the quickest books I've read for the pages it contains and this isn't just down to how I've developed as a reader, it was down to the pacing, the action and the actual romance that didn't have me feeling bogged down or tempted to run for the hills. While the first novel focuses more on Tessa's growth as a person and confidence in herself, the second installment focuses much more on her past and her growing need for the truth, not to mention her want to prove that she's worth so much more than others believe. Her character development from the end of Imposter to the end of Defector was intense and really quite noticeable and while I may not have agreed with everything she did during the novel, I did find myself much more connected, easier to relate to and ultimately, enjoyable to read about.

The biggest issue I had with Imposter was the romance, or, as I worded it - ' a teenage girl moping over a crush she had on a close friend of hers' that was ' icky, and quite frankly, boring' yet thankfully, this was quickly dismissed and taken out of the plot entirely. I know what you're thinking, how can they created a romance at the end book one and destroy it less than a third into book two? Well, let me tell you, with plot twists and secrets my friends, and thank the lord Winnacker used these twists and turns, because it was quite possible the best thing she could have done in this novel. Alec was a frustrating character and influenced Tessa too much, not only in her decisions, but in her actions and her beliefs, yet when this was taken away, Tessa was centre stage, calling the shots, showcasing her skills, her bravery and most of all, exactly how strong, independent and capable she is and I really enjoyed this new feature about her - it grew her character and created faith in a series that I had almost dismissed continuing with forever. What I did enjoy about the romance 'feature' was how Winnacker created a friend to almost romance in Defector between Tessa and a fellow character I found myself extremely attached to in Imposter. The slow burn was perfect, their emotions were honesty and raw, yet completed understandable; what they'd been through, together and next to one another was a strange concept, yet their romance was entirely believable and I couldn't fault how much I dedicated to wanting them to win out in the end.

Defector wasn't all singing all dancing through, it still had it's issues. There were definite moments in the novel when the pacing was off and slow, or scenes that could have been developed and explored more, like Tessa's past with her mother and her relationship with her, or her growing need to know more about herself, where she comes from and what she comes from, there's features could have been so much better, yet I can't say I didn't enjoy what was explored. I also expected more conflict between Abel's Army and the FEA over some of Tessa's decisions, yet I didn't feel them as much as I would have liked and there was just something about the overall plot that didn't sit right with me that in turn, became more apparent during the last few scenes of the novel. Tessa's decision, as the synopsis so rightly says, does take a turn and really, her decisions took me by surprise, yet not quite breathless.

Defector, for fans of Imposter's mystery side, might not be impressed with the direction the series takes in this installment, and while I would consider myself a fan of the mystery in the first novel, Tessa's development throughout, the learnings of her past and her capabilities and more on her family and the romance really won out for me. It definitely isn't an amazing sequel, but it's given me the temptation, especially that final page or two, to continue and see this series through the end, which I can definitely confess to never thinking I'd do after Imposter.


  1. *reads bit about the romance* BEST NEWS EVER! I had so many issues with him, too many to list in a single comment. But you have just encouraged me to read this book a slightly bit more. I'm still not dying to read it, but I'm no longer ignoring it for fear of bad romance. (Plus I loved the other guy.)

    Dreams @ Once Upon A Dream Books

    1. He was quite an annoying character wasn't he? There's was something about him that seemed to restrict Tessa's development, but the new romance was most definitely a game changer, a nice on too.
      I think if you find it cheap or on sale, then it's worth it ;)

  2. Glad to hear book two worked out better than its predecessor. It's rare when sequels outshine the first novel, but it's fun when it happens!

    One Curvy Blogger

    1. It is a rare thing isn't it? Sometimes you just have to give a series a chance :)


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