Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Never give up, never: SURRENDER by Elana Johnson

YA Dystopia
480 pages, hardcover
Available now (June 2012)
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

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....

Positive: The tension. You can practically feel the tension vibrating through the pages. These people are walking a knife's sharp edge, trying to change the horribly controlling society in which they live without getting caught. If they get caught...it's game over for them.

Positive: Raine and Gunner. POSSESSION, the first in this series, featured Vi, Jag, and Zenn. And, while those three are still key players, SURRENDER is told through the eyes of Raine and Gunner, two strong, talented teens. Both of these characters are so appealing in their own ways--Raine is incredibly strong-willed yet secretive (she has to be since she's working against her father, the leader of Freedom) and Gunner is whip-smart but kind of a lost soul in many ways.

Positive: The world. *shudder* I sure as heck wouldn't want to live in Freedom, the Badlands, or anywhere in between. Big Brother is not only watching the residents' every move but monitoring every thought; brainwashing them at night with mandatory transmissions; controlling who they marry, what job they can do, what they eat--every aspect of their lives. The combination of technology and human talents (like Thinkers, Voices, empaths, etc.) makes the world very realistic and brings it to vibrant life.

Wish: Well, it's more of a question. How is Raine's father so clueless about his daughter's involvement in the Insiders? Is it willful blindness or does he really not know that his daughter is sneaking out practically every night, running around the city, causing trouble and fighting against his iron control? I wonder.

Wish: A little more clarity. While SURRENDER is much clearer than POSSESSION, I still got a bit lost at times. There's a ton of manipulation, mind games, and secrets in this story which muddies the waters, making the plot murky and hard to follow at some points.

Overall: With a fantastically twisty plot and nail-biter of an ending (seriously? gah!), SURRENDER brings it.

Question: I've heard rumors that this series might not be finished? That this might be the last book, leaving the story unfinished, for whatever reason (sales, the publisher's choice, soft dystopia market, whatever). Is this true? If so, I've got a serious sadface!


  1. Oh that would suck for fans of the series! I mean everyone wants to know how everything turns out.

  2. I remember the ending of Possession...it about gave me a stress induced ulcer, especially because at the time there wasn't even a rumor of a second book in the series. The fact that this one ends much the same way has me a little nervous, but I'm really glad things are a bit clearer in this one. I don't mind being a little confused, but I need at least some clarification at some point. Awesome review Mary!

  3. It might not be finished? How horrible. They must not think it's selling well enough. One of my fav vampire series (Sucks to Be Me by Kimberly Pauley) was never finished. I'd love if she writes the last one some day.
    I should get to this series.

  4. It so sucks if it's true the series wasn't finished! I hope it's not true.
    The story sounds pretty good,.

  5. I was not a big fan of Possesions.. truly not. But I was always intrigued by the concept.. maybe I should give this one another try, but then? With such an open ending I wouldn't be happy ...

  6. Doooood! Not finished? That is sad. This is why I strongly believe that authors should be allowed to end a book on a cliffhanger, because you never know. Each book in a series should be strong enough to stand on it's own!

    Honestly, I probably wouldn't mind if someone told me who to marry and where to work. It would save me a lot of time. LOL Kidding. Thanks for the fun review, Mary. I love the way you broke everything down for us.

  7. The end of POSESSION had me stressed for WEEKS! I seriously need to know that things work out. So if there's not a good conclusion for this one I'm not sure I want to read it. I