Review Blog

Oct 22 2014

Pandora Jones: Deception by Barry Jonsberg

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Pandora Jones bk 2. Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743318126
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Thriller. Dystopian fiction. Pandemic. Survival. In Admission, the first in the series, Pandora has been admitted into The School, believing that her world had ended and that billions of people had died in a pandemic and the people at the school are the survivors that will enable the world to continue. In Deception, Pan teams up with Jen, a strong independent girl, to try and see if her fears that The School is betraying her and that her nightmares about everyone being dead have been implanted. Pan is determined to find out the truth, and together with Jen, breaks rule after rule in her quest to find out what is happening.
In a clever first chapter Jonsberg encapsulates what has happened in the first book through Jen's memories and lays the groundwork for the story to follow. When she talks to Jen about her suspicions, Jen doesn't really believe in them, but as an adrenaline junkie is more than happy to take big risks, and to accompany Pan as she prowls The School and the nearby village looking for answers. The reader is taken on a roller coaster ride of midnight swims through dangerous waters, hang gliding in a flimsy home-made glider and facing a huge storm at sea, all vividly described and leaving the reader reading on to find out whether the pair will survive.
With Nate out of the picture, the story concentrates on the characters of Pan and Jen, and the reader gets to know them very well and to see how their different skills and expertise lead them on their quest. Those who like a romance will be tantalised by a few references to Nate and a cryptic message, 'Trust me' left with Pan, but the friendship that grows between the two such different characters as Pan and Jen is a highlight of the book. Other characters, especially the staff, are almost shadow figures, but very sinister all the same.
Jonsberg is a very accomplished author and this shows in this beautifully crafted, exciting novel that kept me gripped in the excitement surrounding the two girls. The cliff-hanger at the end left me gasping and wishing that this was one series that I had all three books to read at once. I can't wait for the next one.
Pat Pledger

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