Monday, February 20, 2012

Jenn's Review: Destiny and Deception

Summary:  The sensational fourth novel in the 13 to Life series sees Jessica and the Rusakovas fighting to overcome their biggest challenge yet.

With the threat of the mafia seemingly gone and the company's headquarters in Junction destroyed, Pietr Rusakova is adjusting to being a normal teen and Jess is realizing normalcy may not be what she wanted after all. But both Jess and Cat know the truth--that normal can't be taken for granted. Their precious cure isn't permanent--and when a new danger stalks into their small town, Alexi decides he must overcome his issues with the mother who abandoned him to be raised by wolves and make a brand new deal to save his adopted family. ~product description

Review:  I want to preface my review by saying I really love Shannon Delany and her 13 to Life series. I even drove two hours to see her at a book signing once. But there is nothing 'sensational' about Destiny and Deception, in fact it marks a definite lull in the saga.

It was a combination of things, that contributed to my disenchantment. Things were fairly well resolved at the end of Bargains and Betrayals. So where do we go from here? We adjust to life without werewolves... or do we?  Into Junction roves a new pack of wolves that are all about being wolves, "The Wolf is the Way".   Honestly, I had a hard time becoming interested in them, perhaps because it took a while for them to become relevant to the plot. I actually had trouble keeping the males of the pack straight due to similar names and lack of interest. By the time they became relevant I was already felt rather apathetic towards them and resentful of them.

The Ruskova's adjustment to normalcy is a little dull. Pietr's fire has all but disappeared and so has his personality. No one besides Jessie seems at all concerned about this. No one seems concerned about the new pack in town or what that means for the Ruskova's. No one seems concerned about retribution from The Company. No one seems to be aware that you just don't walk away from the Russian mob. Instead everyone is consumed by the former side-story of strange additives in the school lunches that seem to be enhancing and jump starting extra sensory abilities in the students of Junction High. I wasn't all that interested in that part of the series when it was a sub-plot, and am still not sold on it now that it has moved into the forefront.

Also, Ms. Delaney switches points of view between Jessie, Alexi, and Marlena (the new pack's Alpha). This is not a new style for her, she's done it before, and done it well, but with there being so little action, and so little going on, it seemed less effective. Often times the switch of voices wasn't noticeable until I was a few paragraphs in... even though each change of view point is clearly character labeled.  For the most part this felt like an entire book full of plot exposition that could have been condensed into a prologue. By the time things started to pick up, it was at the end. In fact, book five looks very exciting. However had this not been part of a beloved series, I honestly don't know if I would have finished it.

I look forward to a return to action and excitement with Rivals and Retributions, the final novel in the 13 to Life series, which is set to come out in August. Shannon Delany promises that "this series is going to end with a bang (not a whimper)" and I'm holding her to it.

Final Take:  3.25/5


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