Several months ago I reviewed Chained: Everything you know is a lie, the first book in the Cage of Lies Series by Susanne Valenti. Recently I was given the opportunity to review book 3. This series does not disappoint. I am a book behind as there is a novella that fits between 3 and 4, but I am not greedy, nope I can wait. NOT!


 

About the book:
Title/Author: Chained:Everything You Know Is A Lie (Cage of Lies #1) / Susanne Valenti
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian Fiction
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Date of publish: October 2015
Pages: 313
Recommended Ages: 13-22
Book Links: Amazon / GoodreadsRiffle

 

26731477As part of a genre that is becoming increasingly over saturated, Chained is a refreshing take on dystopian, post-apocalyptic fiction.

In a world that has been contaminated by genetic engineering, the story opens on the young woman Maya who, we learn early on, has been left an orphan through a tragic lab accident claiming both her scientist parents. In the walled “safety” of Harbour City where she lives, this condemns her to a bare existence of closet sized living quarters and extreme prejudice from her more favored counter parts. The continued friendship of the well placed young man, Taylor, and his parents are really the bright spots to a pretty dismal existence. As the tale unfolds, we find that though there are others who can aspire to and do live in better circumstances, everyone is required to make sacrifices. Food is rationed, left overs or scraps are unheard of. Space is at a premium, to the point that a single family dwelling from the past is surmised to have housed dozens of people. Also there a rules for everything, or rather for “the good of the population”. The only sentences provided by the penal code are televised fights to death, called Sub Wars, from which only a very few have the hope of returning from to citizenship and city life.

A series of unfortunate decisions send Maya and Taylor to Sub Wars where they meet the Warden Laurie whose job is to train them to survive the battles not realizing that that there is an entirely different path waiting for all of them. What follows is a fast paced adventure filled with mutant humans, nocturnal predators and plant life that can protect itself.

In the beginning the story is a bit stilted, with a lot of exposition fit into the conversations and relationships between the characters and the situation that lands Maya and Taylor into trouble seems far fetched given the strictures of their society. However once the story leaves the city, it and the characters move full speed ahead, being both enjoyable and intense.

There is always the chance of becoming preachy when dealing with an ecosystem apocalypse. I happy to say that wasn’t the case here. Instead, the story is a surprisingly original take on the theme.

Poor Taylor seems to be more of a plot device than a character at times and some of the outside characters, such as Baba, could stand to be fleshed out a bit more. The reader has to trust in the main characters experience when dealing with them. Luckily those characters, Coal in particular, come across as trustworthy. Also there is plenty of unwritten back story begging to be told.

I am very interested in continuing with the series. The teaser for the next installment was definitely a tease, and looks to be a roller coaster ride of its own.
4 stars

Goodreads Summary: Terrified of the contamination and the creatures it has created, humanity hides behind The Wall. No one knows what lies beyond the wasteland. Maya has never thought much about what might still be out there, lurking in the forgotten places. But when she’s thrust into the unknown, she is forced to question everything she has ever been told. Not everyone outside died, some of them became something… else. As her heart is torn in two, every choice she makes is harder than the last. What she discovers will change her forever. She knows she will probably die, but Maya has seen enough of death and she won’t let it have her without a fight.


 

 

About the book:
Title/Author: Cut Glass: You Can’t Outrun Your Past (Cage of Lies #.5) Susanne Valenti
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian Fiction
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Date of publish: 2015
Pages:
Recommended Ages: 13-22
Book Links: Amazon / Goodreads / Riffle


B016MY4AWG-originalThis novella actually is set before book 1, Chained. I have placed it here because this back story is more relevant to the story in book 2, Linked. It is the too-short story of Crystal. Traveling with a group of people, including her family, they are caught unaware by creepers. Crystals parents make sure that she survives and she is found by Coal. Years later she still has a case of hero worship. She has always felt as if she didn’t quite belong, a stray from somewhere else. She looks for acceptance where she can find it and accepts what she can get. I really do like this character, even more now that I read ahead. I am looking forward to seeing how she grows up. This was a terrific way to get backstory on Coal and the citizens of Franklin.

4 stars

Goodreads Summary: Crystal’s life ended in the forest when she was a child. She swore an oath to keep fighting but her heart will never be the same again. She craves the love she lost and fears the pain it left her with. The shadows of her past won’t leave her side but there is one person who helps her forget them for a time. Though she knows that she will never feel true happiness again it is a gift she wants to give. To the boy who saved her life when she had lost all hope. Crystal would do anything to see him smile again. She owes him that much, even if he doesn’t agree.


 

About the book:
Title/Author: Linked: They Will Pay for Concealing the Truth (Cage of Lies #2) / Susanne Valenti
Genre:Young Adult, Dystopian Fiction
Publisher:
Date of publish: October 2015
Pages: 330
Recommended Ages: 13-22
Book Links: Amazon / Goodreads / Riffle


B016FGI55Y-originalExplosive! I was right, this is a roller coaster ride of action and adventure. This book picks up several weeks after the end of Chained. Maya, Taylor and Laurie have been training hard in the hopes of returning to Harbour City to rescue Maya’s parents. Getting the mission approved is just the beginning. The core group is joined by Luca, Gregor and Crystal and the each add their strengths and baggage to the story. A scouting mission to the City leads to an unexpected place when the Maya and two others are kidnapped causing the team to come after them with a vengeance. This leads to the inclusion of a new character. Finally able to scout out the city they come up with a brilliant plan that is doable, but takes a heavy toll on the team. The end is twist that no one sees coming.

Fantastic. This book explores more the outside world and the people that inhabit it. It gives so much more insight on the characters we have become attached to, and introduces us to several more. While the main story still focuses on Maya and is in fact told from her prospective, all of the characters are far more developed than in the previous books. There are still some loose ends from book 1 to tie up and we are left with whole lot new ones for the next book.

5 stars

Goodreads Summary: In a world she never knew existed, Maya is coming to terms with how much her life has changed. Danger lurks around every corner, nothing is as she expects and she’s never felt so alive. But the choices she makes could change everything and jeopardise the things she cherishes most. There is so much to learn and so much to love but her heart is pulling her back. The Guardians are hiding in the shadow cast by their Wall, concealing the truth from the people inside. It’s a shadow that darkens her happiness and she can’t stop fighting until the truth comes to light. It would be easier to walk away but Maya has never run from anything and she’s not about to start now.


 

About the book:
Title/Author: Broken (Cage of Lies #3)
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian Fiction
Publisher:
Date of publish: January 2016
Pages:
Recommended Ages: 13-22
Book Links: Amazon / Goodreads / Riffle


B01A19PTNM-originalPulse pounding, quick paced, action packed, adventure. This third installment in the series doesn’t disappoint. Maya and Alicia are crushed by the final events in Linked and the only thing keeping them going is the thought of revenge. To make matters worse, the City Wardens, led by a traitor, have gone on the offensive and are coming to wipe out Franklin. A snippet of overheard radio transmission gives the team enough time to set a trap, but when do things work out exactly like they are supposed to?

My only complaint about this book is that it just cannot end there. Cannot! Each book is better than the last and this is no exception. The relationships between characters have become more complex and the emotional investment in all the main characters is still very high. The vivid descriptions of the fight scenes are intense give the reader a sense of urgency and loss. This is best one yet and I am eagerly awaiting more.

5 stars

Goodreads Summary: Since all of her hopes were dashed, Maya is struggling to adapt to her new life. Where dreams and wishes once kept her going now there is only the burning desire for revenge. She’s changing, hardening into the person she needs to be to hold it together but sometimes the cracks still show. She wants nothing more than to go back and become the person she used to be but sometimes she can’t even remember who that was. Nothing will be right again until she resets the balance. Blood will pay for blood and she won’t give up until the final drop has been spilled. Some say she’s taking it too far, others say it isn’t far enough.

Author Info: Http://www.SusanneValenti.com


I received copies of these books in exchange for honest reviews.

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