Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Review - Double Cross (The Disillusionists, Book 2) by Carolyn Crane (4/5 stars)

Double Cross (The Disillusionists Trilogy: Book 2)Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Size: 336 pages
Publisher: Spectra
Release Date: September 28, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-0553592627
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in Disillusionists Trilogy
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 4/5 stars

This was the second book in the Disillusionists trilogy.  I really enjoyed the first book, Mind Games, because of how creative it was.  This second book was also very enjoyable but it ends on a horrible negative cliffhanger that will have the most forgiving reader angrily pulling out their hair and cursing this book.

This book starts out basically where the last one left off.  Justine is dating Otto, Otto is mayor of the city, and Packard is running the Disillusionists to help Otto enforce order in the city.  Unfortunately another killer (or killers) are loose in Midcity; this time the group of killers (called the Dorks) are targeting highcaps.  Justine (as a non-highcap) is drawn into the investigation to track down the Dorks identity and find out how they are able to combat and weed-out the highcaps.  Justine is also using her power to work over a dream controlling highcap and, after a mistake, her and Packard are linked via their dreams.  So in midst of everything going on Justine is slowly finding out more about the history between Otto and Packard.

Unlike the first book this book focuses mainly on Justine, Otto, and Packard. It was great to finally learn about the history between Otto and Packard.  There are a lot of plot threads in this book and they come together nicely.  The pacing of the book is great, making it a hard book to put down and a fast read.  The writing is well done and easy to read.  This is more of a drama type urban fantasy (kind of like Kitty Norville series) and there isn't much action.

Again I liked the creative ideas behind this book (characters using their psychosis to fight crime) and enjoyed how the complicated plot was woven together so well.  I thought characterization was a bit inconsistent though.  Packard is a great character and his growth throughout the novel is wonderful, I wish he had been in the story even more than he was.  Otto as a character remains kind of stagnant throughout, he is predictable and doesn't change his view much.  Justine's character is kind of all over the place.  The other characters talk about how giving she is, yet she makes a lot of selfish decisions.  Then at one point she suddenly becomes all mature and realizes a bunch of things; which realistically should have been a more gradual and consistent process.

Despite enjoying the book overall I had a couple other quibbles.  The first is that this book is full of evilness, none of these characters are good.  They are all manipulative, confused, and only venture from the blackness to shades of grey...there really aren't any moments of real happiness in this book.  The whole thing is kind of bleak and depressing. 

My other big quibble is the predictability and the ending.  Half way through the book I figured out what was probably going to happen, but I really didn't want it to happen.  Guess what it happened.  The fact that I was able to predict this sad and disturbing ending just made me sadder.  The end of the book left me feeling angry, disturbed, and just let down.  I understand that Crane wants to keep her readers engaged, but this wasn't the way to do it.  If the book had ended two chapters earlier then the next book could have started off with this huge horrible twist.  As a reader I would have been left with a marginally upbeat and happy ending.  The twist would have surprised me in the beginning of the next book and then I would have had a chance to read its conclusion and not been left so...sad.

Overall this was a good installment in this series.   Some of the characterization is a bit inconsistent, but the plot is well done and it is very creative.  This is a bleak book and there is nothing here that leaves the reader feeling good.  My recommendation would be to hold off on reading this book until the third one is released; otherwise at the end of this book you will just be left feeling angry, depressed and downtrodden.  Fans of urban fantasy should enjoy this creative take on super heroes.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:

Double Cross (The Disillusionists Trilogy: Book 2) 

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