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BOOK REVIEW: Deception by Teri Terry

| 22 March 2018 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Deception by Teri Terry

February 2018
Paperback, $16.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell

Young Adult / Speculative Fiction


This review will contain spoilers for book 1, Contagion.

An epidemic is sweeping the country.
You are among the infected. There is no cure, and you cannot be permitted to infect others. You are now under quarantine. 
The 5% of the infected who survive are dangerous and will be taken into the custody of the army.

As the epidemic spreads, survivors are being hunted like witches, for the authorities fear their strange new powers.

Kai is desperate to trace Shay, who tricked him and disappeared. Meanwhile, Shay is searching for the truth behind the origins of the epidemic … but danger finds them wherever they go. Can they outrun the fire?

From the author of the international sensation Slated comes the second book in a powerful new story of survival and transformation; love and power.



Book 1 in this trilogy, Contagion, ended on a rather annoying cliffhanger, including all the tropes often found in speculative young adult titles with an emphasis on the young. There were the teenagers in love who seemed to have finally found their way to be together, only to have that torn away by the realisation that one of them is doomed. In this case it is Shay who is doomed, because she has discovered that the epidemic has been following her journey across the country. She sneaks off to turn herself in to the authorities while Kai sleeps because she knows he would try and stop her, and only after she’s gone does Callie finally begin to realise and accept that the contagion has been following her and not Shay.

This frustration carries on into the second book, and is only compounded by the fact that the better and more engaging of our two narrators (Shay) plays a reduced role in this book, with long stretches between her chapters. The two main narrators in this book are Callie and Kai, and they’re both rather frustrating for the majority of this book.

Callie is aware she is carrying the illness that will kill many people, and yet when she think about going through a city to find someone or gather information, she thinks only about the fact that they should get out of said city quickly enough that Kai won’t be around to see that the illness is following them. She doesn’t seem to care about how many people she has already killed, or how many people might die as a result of such an expedition.

Kai hopes we’ll find Freja, that she’ll prove that survivors aren’t carriers. How long will it be until somebody makes the jump and realises it’s me?
Then Kai will hate me. If we find Shay, she’ll hate me too.
It’s not fair!
I didn’t ask to be like this: it’s all Dr 1’s fault. I have to stay strong, stay focused: find Dr 1 and make him suffer. If Kai finds Freja and I can talk to her, then I can make sure he remembers that this is what we must do. Then I’ll make sure we leave London as fast as we can, before either of them notice the epidemic is following us again – following me.

Kai is on journey to try and find Shay, and he’s all determined that he loves her and she must be saved, and then he pulls this bullshit not long after meeting Freja, another pretty survivor.

I think of a sound behind us in the trees and she turns her head to see if anyone is there. While she’s distracted I move more and tickle her tummy.
She screeches and laughs, catches my hands in hers to make me stop. ‘A sneak attack, using misdirection! Oh my God, I’ve created a tickle monster.’

I pull away, sit up and shift so we’re not touching any more. But that isn’t what I want to do right now – it isn’t what she wants me to do, either, and I don’t need to read her mind to know it. My blood thunders through my body, hot and restless, wanting what it shouldn’t have. I stay silent, awkward, but hiding it all behind this wall I’ve built and hoping she can’t see through it.

Besides the fact that it’s an obvious move to create a forced love-triangle, these guys have known each other for a couple of days at this point, and it’s all way too soon and way to cringeworthy, even without the fact of his journey to save his girlfriend.

Frustratingly, so much of the book is taken up by these characters making stupid or selfish decisions, though there is an interesting twist towards the very end of the book which harks back on something in the first book.

There is a little more explanation about the anti-matter experiments discussed briefly in book 1, as well as some further exploration of the abilities some survivors find within themselves. All in all there is quite a bit of hand-wavium used to explain what’s happening, but the idea is interesting enough to stick around for the third and final book to find out how it all comes together.

It’s just a shame this one suffered from the dreaded middle-book-syndrome.

Book one had red-edged pages, book two had blue… I wonder if book three will round out the primary colours, or if it will be a secondary colour befitting the title of book 3, Evolution.

Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

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