by Paula Stokes
Published August 15, 2017
Goodreads: See here
Synopsis at a Glance:
After the life-changing events of the first book, Winter throws herself into a new quest: finding what’s left of her family and killing the man who destroyed her life. Her mission leads her from St. Louis to Los Angeles back to South Korea, where she grew up.
Things get increasingly dangerous once Winter arrives in Seoul. Aided by her friends Jesse and Sebastian, Winter attempts to infiltrate an international corporation to get close to her target, a nefarious businessman named Kyung. But keeping her last remaining loved ones out of the line of fire proves difficult, and when all seems to be lost, Winter must face one last devastating decision: is revenge worth sacrificing everything for? Or can she find a spark of hope in the darkness that threatens to engulf her?
After the jaw dropping events of Vicarious, I was totally unsure how the events of this book could possibly play out. In the interest of avoiding spoilers, I’ll just say that there were some plot-twists in the first book that I didn’t see coming and Paula Stokes used them to her benefit here to keep the story fresh and moving in directions I didn’t exactly expect them to go.
Another thing I enjoy about Stoke’s writing is that she takes risks as a Young Adult author, especially writing in a contemporary setting. She doesn’t tie herself down to a single setting and instead had Winter and the surrounding characters jet-setting off on an globe-trotting adventure over the course of the plot. It really opened opportunities to include diverse characters and locations that Stokes uses to her advantage. Again, those looking for a story that celebrates the strength of diverse relationships between characters would likely find a lot to love here.
One thing I thought detracted a bit from my enjoyment of this book over the first was that the plot was a little less engaging for me. I preferred Winter’s search for her sister over a search to recover the ViSE technology. Unfortunately, I don’t really think that the technology’s importance was really established enough in the first book for me to really get behind why it was so necessary to recover it here. There were a lot of moments that I thought Winter should just let it go and move on with her life and recovering her mental health because the true nature of how the baddies wanted to use the technology isn’t really explained until nearly the end of the story.
This brings me to Winter. With the plot twist at the end of the first novel, I thought a bit of her agency was removed in a way I didn’t totally love. It’s really difficult to explain without spoiling the twist from the first book, but it involved Winter not totally being in control of a lot of her actions in this book. It felt like each time the stakes got raised here, Winter was pulled out of danger by a solution that felt a bit like cheating. Thankfully, her decisive nature and personal strengths are returned to her by the end of the story, so it’s not all bad.
The action from the first book is still present in this one. It just felt a little subdued at points, and I wished we had more focus on certain characters from the first book, rather than on new characters that were introduced in this one.
🌟🌟🌟 = 3/5 Stars!
Have you read any other great YA Sci-Fi books? I feel like I haven’t come across many! Give me some recs below and lets chat YA! 🙂