Title: Pandora Jones – Deception
Author: Barry Jonsberg
Genre: YA Dystopian
Opening line: “…It was difficult to know when the nightmares ended and the waking world began.…”
Blurb: Pandora and her team are already two members down. The survival of humanity in the post-plague world depends on them. But who can she trust? Pan is still struggling to distinguish between her dreams and reality. But her memories hold more questions than answers and she doesn’t know who to trust. When she forms an unlikely alliance with Jen to try to make sense of everyone’s haunting similar memories and the conflicting information about The School, she finds herself with unexpected enemies. Pan and Jen are determined to seek the truth – no matter what rules they must break or how terrible the danger they face. But can they even trust each other?
My thoughts: I read the first in the series, ‘Pandora Jones: Admission’, earlier this year and it was fabulous. So it was with a sense of trepidation that I pounced on DECEPTION as soon as it arrived in the mail; would it be as good as I expected/wanted it to be? Well that would be an unequivocal yes! In ‘Admission’ Pandora Jones woke in a hospital and discovers that her family, along with most of the rest of the world, has succumbed to a mutant flu pandemic. She and the other teens with her are some lucky survivors that have been rescued and relocated to this walled off and isolated school and quarantined for their safety. The teachers at the school start training the kids to learn some intensive survival techniques ready for when they leave the complex. What is clear in the second book is that like the first nothing is clear. They still don’t know what have they have actually survived, and why have they have been rescued and not others; although they all seem to have special abilities. Just what is the school hiding from them? Why would you save a teen who has been arrested for blowing things up? For breaking and entering? For guessing what is written on a piece of paper? The first part of DECEPTION recaps a little of what happened in ‘Admission’ and why the events in that story have left Pandora trying to find out what is true and, more importantly, what isn’t. Is there a deception, and if so what is it and why? Now Nate is not in the picture Pandora buddies up with Jem who is seriously questioning the truth behind the school herself. The two of them plan a massive exposé and plunge into one edge of the seat adventure after another until their biggest one ever leads to a surprising cliff-hanger. As far as Pandora and Jem’s characters go – they continue to grow, they are not perfect by any means, but they are very brave and strong. In short two girls you want on your side if the crunch ever comes.
Pandora is increasingly convinced that there was no end of the world and that somewhere out beyond school walls nothing has changed. The suspense that started in ‘Admission’ continues in DECEPTION – just what on earth is going on? I was sure that I had it all sussed at the end of ‘Admission’ and that DECEPTION would just confirm my beliefs. But, in a shocking twist at the end of DECEPTION my theory has been turned on its head and I am left gulping like a fish out of water wondering how I can possibly survive until the final instalment is released next year. What a cliff-hanger! DECEPTION is not a huge book but it packs a whole lot of story into the time frame. The main characters don’t have all the answers, in fact sometimes they don’t even have the right questions! Pandora and Jem work hard to make sense of the known to give them an insight into the unknown and when the unknown finally becomes the known – is it the truth? The reader still doesn’t know why everyone in the dormitories have nightmares that keeps them moaning and screaming in their sleep – and why they appear to be having the same nightmares? All will be revealed, I hope, in May 2015 when Pandora Jones: Reckoning’ is released, so there is plenty of time to do yourself a favour and grab copies of both Admission and Deception and catch up on this thrilling story.
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A – Excellent Stuff – a real page turner and hard to put down. I carved out extra reading time just so I could finish it. This book got carted into the bathroom with me, read over meals, read at work, and/or kept me up late at night. If this author has more work, I will certainly read it.
With thanks to Allen & Unwin and the author for this copy to read and review. Allen & Unwin recommended retail price is $17.99