Monday, 17 November 2014

Pandora Jones: Deception

Pandora Jones: Deception by Barry Jonsberg (Allen &Unwin)
PB RRP$17.99
ISBN 9781743318126
Reviewed by Yvonne Mes

Deception is the second novel in a three part series. In the first novel Admission we learn that a virus has wiped out most of the world's population.  Pandora wakes up disorientated in the grounds of The School where teenage survivors from around the world have been brought together.

Every teenager is encouraged to develop a skill or ability in order to contribute to the new world and everyone is trained in survival skills. Pandora's special skill is rather unique, a kind of sixth sense, which allows her to find lost items but as the novels progresses this develops into something stronger.

Pandora tries to adjust to life within the isolated grounds of The School but  discovers there are many secrets kept from the group of teens by the few surviving adults.

While in Admission Pandora gets close to her team mate Nate, hinting at a developing romance, in Deception the focus shifts to Pandora and her tough ass-kicking team mate Jen. The girls who are opposites in many respects, and without much affection for each other, grudgingly learn to rely on and earn each other's trust with Jen finally sharing some of her personal story. 

As in the previous novel a lot of attention focusses on escape attempts from The School. When they finally do escape, it is certainly a worthy thrill ride, needing perhaps a little suspension of disbelief from the reader.

 Though the first two novels raise plenty of questions that need to be answered,  the novels are a satisfying read. Deception's twist at the end is even bigger than the first novel making it long wait to the final in the series due out in May 2015.

 If you love your dystopian YA combined with strong female characters, and a world where teenagers have to fend for themselves battling their wits and strength against uncertainty and possibly evil adults, you won't be disappointed. This is an easy read that keeps you guessing while staying engaged with the story line and the main characters.

If you read this book recovering from a bad flu, as I did, and with cases of Ebola rising, the start of Admission with its violently dying population and frequent gruesome flashbacks to the pandemic in Deception, the novels can be a little confronting.

Jonsberg is not new to the YA novel and I was glad to see his My Life As An Alphabet receive multiple awards.

Yvonne Mes is a children's writer and illustrator. Her first picture book, Meet Sidney Nolan (Random House) is scheduled for release in October 2015.


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