Monday, July 2, 2012

Surrender, by Elana Johnson- Review

From Goodreads:
Forbidden love, intoxicating power, and the terror of control…

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....

Oh how I wish I'd read Surrender first!  All that was confusing and unclear about Johnson's world, the technology and the various forms of control, all that was muddied about relationships and powers- was beautifully described and fleshed out in Surrender.   Right from the outset, everything was described more fully, and clearly, before the story started to weave it's sordid tale, so I could sit back and enjoy the complex story arc instead of constantly trying to figure it out

Surrender follows a new set of characters in a new city, so although it harks back to the story in Possession, and Vi, Zenn, Thane (and eventually Jag) are all a part of the action that's unfolding, in essence Johnson is starting with a fresh slate.  It was exactly what I needed to re-invest myself in a story that had lost me by the end of possession.  This time around Johnson takes the time to explain the technology that's so imbedded in these kids lives, she explains it and then she shows you how it works, and its much clearer but also done in a way that still kept the story pacing lively and interesting.  Power structures, the types of control, government and the many nuances between cities was delved into, and I finally started to grasp her world and how her characters and her revolution fit into it.

Raine, Gunner, Cannon, Starr and Trek (notice the play on Star Trek there?, uh, huh.  It took me awhile to put that toghther in the story, but I still like them) were great characters, with an intriguing set of relationships and a wealth of mysteries to unravel.  It's always impressive to me when an author can bring in new characters to a series and manage to not loose the interest of the reader.  After all it can be very disconcerting when you've become attached to a character only to have them made secondary at a later point.  But the change in perspective was exactly what this series needed, and Vi, Zenn and Thane were shown from an entirely new perspective which really helped flesh them out in way you wouldn't normally get in a series.  It reminded me a lot of George R.R. Martin's technique of flipping from one perspective to the next to really delve into the power plays and politics of his world.  Here Johnson uses  it well to show the layers of double dealing, spying and betrayal necessary for a potential greater good.  By the end of the book, when Gunner is getting Thane's story you've seen enough different sides of the story to believe what he's saying.

A much more masterfully crafted story, I would almost suggest first timers to the series read Surrender first.  I think much that was unclear about Possession would likely be better understood if you read them out of order.  So if like me you were put off of the series by book one, then make sure to reconsider, Surrender is well worth your reading efforts.

Surrender, by Elana Johnson
Published by Simon Pulse, June 5th, 2012
My copy kindly provided by the publisher
Buy Surrender on Amazon

1 comment:

  1. Surrender was one of those books that was simply impossible to put down. Johnson's sophomore novel proudly puts on display her advancements as a writer with enhanced characters and world-building that will blow you away. If you even mildly enjoyed Possession, then Surrender is a must-read because I loved Possession and ADORED Surrender!

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