Thursday, 18 August 2016

REVIEW - REFUSE - RECOIL TRILOGY BY JOANNE MACGREGOR

Title: Refuse
Series: Recoil Trilogy
Author: Joanne MacGregor
Genre: Sci-Fi, Dystopia, Post Apocalyptic
Release Date: 30th July 2016

BLURB from Goodreads
Everyone wants Jinxy, except the one she loves.

In a near-future USA decimated by an incurable plague and tightly controlled by a repressive government, teenagers with special skills are recruited and trained to fight in the war against terror.

Now a rebellion is brewing.

All sixteen year-old expert sniper Jinxy James wanted was a little freedom, but now she’s trapped between the government and the rebels, unsure of who the real enemy is. When she uncovers appalling secrets and twisted motivations, Jinxy begins to question her allegiances. Soon she will need to choose between love and freedom, as she struggles to do the right thing in a world gone horribly wrong.

Refuse is the second book in the Young Adult dystopian romance that began with Recoil. This much anticipated sequel is filled with romance and heartache, shocking twists, and a thought-provoking examination of freedom, fear, loyalty and identity.

Refuse begins immediately after the cliffhanger ending of Recoil. Buy it now to continue the compelling story of Jinxy, Quinn and the forces ranged against them.


PURCHASE LINKS

INITIAL THOUGHTS
I am certainly looking forward to answering the various questions I had after the ending of bk#1....What will happen to Jinx, Quinn and his rebel brother Connor?" I loved book one, so my expectations for this book are set quite high!

THOUGHTS WHILST READING

21%  "What 'job' at ASTA will Jinx be allowed to do? Can she really help Connor escape? or help the rebels? Does Sarge have a softer side? Could he be becoming jaded by the ASTA government? Can Jinx maybe convert others to the rebel cause?? Her old unit ie Bruce or maybe even Sarge?? Hating to have to put this down!"
41%  "Will Jinx be able to flee ASTA safely? Would the rebels even want her? Where could Jinx ever be safe or even survive if she has to go on the run alone from ASTA?"
77%  "Totally missed reading this book whilst I was too ill to read. Fallen straight back into the story. Totally love the characters of Jinx, Nicky and book boyfriend material Quinn of course. Mmm I wouldn't turn by back on Sonia whilst she was holding a gun!! Could Alex Hawkeye be Zonia's real target???"

REVIEW
I received a free e-copy of this book directly from the Author in exchange for my honest review. 
The cover of this book fits in extremely well with book one. I love a series to have a common tone, almost a common theme running through them. I guess this stems from having physical books on a bookshelf that look both cohesive together and "pretty" (of course). This cover once again features Jinxy, though her blue streaks have now faded somewhat. Her eyes appear to me to be "knowing" possibly to represent she now knows about some of ASTA's "dirty secrets" or their "hidden truths". To say Jinxy is not so naive is an understatement! The byline on this book is "Game On, Level Up" which totally fits where we are in the series, that Jinxy is determined to "play" whatever game she needs to, to find the answers she wants and help the cause she wishes to. 
So would this cover make me pick this book up in a book store shelf? Yes! I'd want to know who the girl was and why she has such a look of determination in her eyes.
This book basically picks up moments after the action at the end of book one. So Jinxy regains consciousness to discover she is in complete darkness. Her ASTA training kicks in immediately assessing what is around her, how much she can move, if she's alone etc. So first of all she realises she has some sort of hood over her head, that her hands are tied and that she is in the back of a moving vehicle. She's not alone as she can hear others breathing around her. Jinxy continues trying to track and take note how long she is travelling, how many right turns, left turns etc, until the van stops. Jinxy continues her "monitoring" as she is taken up steps, into a building, she's fastened to a chair and finally the hood is removed. Jinxy instantly recognises the room she is in as an interrogation room. The room is so similar to the room Quinn showed to her on his phone that it could be the exact one! The first to enter the interogation room is Sarge, the man she met on her first day at ASTA during her assessment/prize time, next into the room is a man with a trolley who is later referred to as "Mr Smith". The last person entering, who instantly dominates the room is ASTA Chief Roberta Roth. Roberta explains that Jinx needs to be "debriefed" and questioned as she is suspected at being involved with "subversive activities". Jinx hope she'll be able to cope, she has rehearsed what she has to say, her answers to the possible questions she will be asked. In fact when Sarge and Roberta leave the room she wants to believe that the hardest part is over but that is yet to arrive. Mr Smith begins his "debriefing of her". . . so the torture begins!
Though Jinx is in an extremely dangerous situation herself she never forgets about Connor, Quinn and the rebellion cause. When she awakens in an empty medical room she switches into auto mode and searches for any information that may be useful to either herself or the rebellion now or later! Jinxy really does survive by gritting her teeth and pure determination not to give ASTA any details about things she knows or suspects. Eventually the questions stop and Jinx is returned to training camp. Jinx or "Blue" (in reference to her hair) totally blindsides Sarge when she is taken to him by insisting she wants to stay at training camp and continue her duties. It seems she has become so adept at telling people just enough of what they need to hear that she manages to convince him of her change of heart, that her loyalty now lies firmly within ASTA.
A new instructor is introduced a rather butch, masculine, muscular woman called Charlie. Charlie is to teach all of Jinx's unit hand to hand combat. Charlie certainly doesn't go easy on the battered and bruised Jinx, in fact if anything she is harder on her. Demanding that Jinx learn all aspects of the self defense and offense moves within hand to hand combat. Whilst all this is going on Jinx is desperate to get a message out to the rebellion, to pass on the address where Connor is being kept, starved and weakened before the torture begins. Jinxy's main aspiration is to smuggle out the address into the "right hands" so that Connor can be rescued before the torture begins or even worse before he dies at the hands of Mr Smith the torturer. It soon becomes apparent that it will be impossible for Jinx to infiltrate ASTA any further to send out messages to the rebellion, so after visiting her mother and brother on a rare allowed "family visit" she decides she must go on the run. Her thoughts are to join the rebellion and help fight ASTA that way. .. but would the rebellion allow or even want her?
Well it turns out Jinx receives a very mixed reception. Jinx discovers that the rebellion is not as organised as you would think. they seem to be a bunch of misfits muddling along and "playing" camping. Jinx puts her ASTA training to use when and where she can, her help is often ignored to then later be proven right and put into place. The rebels have a temporary leader who is the opposite of Connor their normal head. In fact this temporary leader demands that Jinxy train them all to shoot. This surprises Jinx as Quinn is so against guns and taking lives and he has indicated his elder brother Connor to be of the same opinion. Yet everything seems to have changed when Connor finally returns, he is hardly recognisable to Jinx as the caring individual that Quinn has described to her. Connor seems to instantly hate Jinx despite the fact the information she supplied being instrumental in his rescue. Connor along with his former temporary replacement demand that Jinx carry out an assassination on behalf of the rebellion. It is decided they will send Quinn with her to make sure she follows through. . . but how can Quinn condone a shooting when he was so against what Jinx had to do when working for ASTA? Sadly it seems that Jinx is an outcast at ASTA & training camp as well as amongst the rebellion. Everyone is demanding Jinx be a sniper, something she has realised she never really ever wanted to be in the first place. In fact she actually ponders how she has gone from playing a game, to shooting real live targets! Jinx becomes increasingly desperate for a way out and some sort of peace for herself. 
A few quotes I loved from this book were when main character Jinx describes herself as "like a mushroom - kept well and truly in the dark and fed a load of crap" in reference to what she knows about her father and his death, about ASTA and even about Quinn.
I also thought the reference to something Hitler once said quite fitting, as ASTA are also a dictatorial force like Hitler. the actual quote that Hitler said that is used in the book is "if you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed"
My favourite character in this book is once again Jinxy! I also loved a smaller character, who is part of the rebellion, who ends up presenting an ultimate test of friendship and love to Jinxy. We finally sort of meet Connor, the great leader of the rebellion. . . but it seems his time with ASTA has changed him. He is no longer what I'd describe as idealistic, in fact he is rather gung-ho and much more gun/violence action orientated than before. I even warmed up a little to Bruce in this book. He came across as having a complete arrogant somewhat ignorant, chauvinistic attitude in book one, especially in his treatment/harassment of Jinx. In book two Bruce begins to question what is happening around him. We also see a Bruce who is more respectful and caring towards Jinx. 
To say this book is an action packed, drama filled sequel to book one is an understatement. Yes this book continues from where book one left off, and then some! It answers the questions you were asking about book one, whilst raising many more about both society and government related as well as about the individual characters.
So did I enjoy the book? I loved this one even more than I enjoyed Recoil (Bk#1)
Would I recommend the book? Yes! I'd recommend the series! Would I like to read another book in this series? Yes I need to read the next book, as it's the last in the trilogy! I must read it! I have lots of questions and hopes for what I would ideally like to happen in the last book of this so far brilliant series.Some of the questions that I can think of immediately are: Will Jinx find a place she truly fits in? Will Jinx ever be reunited with her mum and brother? Is her brother even safe? Or could ASTA have her brother? If so how is her mum coping? Will Quinn and Jinx ever become a couple? Would I want to read other titles by Joanne Macgregor? I do have an e-copy of Joanne's other book, Scarred to read when I get the time. so yes!

FINAL THOUGHTS
Wow! I thought book one had it all but book two has even more! Definitely highly anticipating book three in this so far fantastic trilogy. Despite me being ill during the process of reading this book, Joanne MacGregor's writing style and plot had me captivated from beginning to end and left me wishing to read more straight away.
And one last quick thing. . . the title Refuse fit's this book perfectly!


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