Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Feedback ~ Robison Wells review

Feedback (Variant #2)
October 2, 2012
356 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

** Review contains spoilers for Variant (Variant #1) -- review here **

Benson -- and Becky -- have escaped from Maxfield Academy. The rest of their classmates who attempted escape with them either dead, secretly androids, or back at the school injured and their fate unknown. Freedom isn't what Benson expected, though.

He and Becky are now in a town that feels more like a prison. Inhabited by familiar faces, even some he thought dead, it's yet somewhere else under Maxfield's thumb.

As he learns just how much control Maxfield has -- and just what they may be doing -- Benson wants to escape , for real, more than ever. But even more be at stake this time.

Feedback picks up exactly where Variant left off, its first pages a reprint of Variant's last. It's a great way to get right into the story, especially with how much of a cliffhanger the previous book was.

The thing that didn't work so well for me in Variant was all of the secondary characters. Some didn't have much of a role, but were mentioned a lot by name. Their lack of a real presence in the story (other than their names, occasional actions) made it hard to keep them all straight. In Feedback it starts to make sense why there were so many characters in Variant. Characters that were merely present before, have more of a role here and because there were mentioned before, even if it was almost forgettably so, they don't feel like new characters here.

I liked the continuity.

There's still the tension of Benson wanting to escape but the danger he faces if he does attempt it in this sequel. It was less tension here and more finding out -- or hypothesizing -- about the motives behind the school and their program. While the tension before made for a compelling read, the 'why' really did need to be presented. It was nice to see more of the 'how' and to see characters working on the 'why.'

I do wish more of the 'why' had been explained, not just guessed at by the characters. A lot of things were presented -- things that Maxfield was capable of, how widespread things were -- but it was lacking some of the end wrap-up for me. I guess I prefer endings that bring things together a bit more.

Becky was more of a main character in this book and while I still don't love her (she annoyed me quite a bit in the previous book), I'm warming to her. I think I'm . . . ambivalent towards her now.

I did like the different way we saw familiar, known characters in this book. It was an interesting way to have new characters that aren't really new.

Rating: 8/10

thank you to Harper for my copy of this novel

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