Being a Sophisticate of the Program seems like it’d be a pretty sweet deal: a little genetic alteration and anyone can be smarter, faster, and stronger. It’s a dream come true. All you have to give up is your freedom.
Cleo is a Sophisticate and she has a bright future in the Program. But she has a secret. When she gets upset, bad things happen. Explosive things. Things she can’t control.
When her secret is discovered, she’s sent to the Academy to train in the military branch of the Program. She’s destined to be a human weapon in the war that’s been going on since Wormwood occurred nearly 30 years ago. She soon learns that although her ability is unique, there are others like her — other Sophisticates with lethal skills and odd code names like Archerfish and Mimic Octopus.
Immersed in a dangerous game of supernatural powers and dubious motives, Cleo doesn’t know who to trust. Ozzy, the annoyingly attractive cadet who has perfect aim in weapons class and deviant lips behind closed doors, begs her not to use her powers. He’s the golden boy of the Program, but can she trust him? Or will she find herself a target, caught in his crosshairs?
Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads
Before we get to my thoughts, check out this awesome book trailer for Deviation!
A couple of months ago, I was contacted by the amazing team at XPresso Book Tours about reviewing a new YA series they were promoting. The synopsis sounded catching so I took a shot and signed up for a review. I got the book and the novel sat on my Nook for nearly 2 months before I ever even “cracked the cover”. Honestly, I have no idea why I waited so long to read Deviation, but I am sorely kicking myself for it now. If I would have known I would have enjoyed it so much, I would have read it the day my review copy landed in my inbox!
As usual, I want to point out my two biggest negative critiques of this novel. First, this novel clocked in at over 300 pages, which is great, I love a good long book. 300 pages where, at the end I was left hanging. Cliffhanger. A big one. The story builds up to this big finale and then… stops. I was seriously under the impression that my copy was missing a chapter because it just “ends”. That really frustrated me, especially considering I wasn’t aware this was a series until that point. This is something that could have easily been looked up before I started reading, but I didn’t and was really bummed out after I finished. So… I will say that IF you choose to read this novel, you will have to read the second novel to figure out what happens. That’s not a bad thing AT ALL, because let me tell you, after reading Deviation, you will HAVE to read book two! Just make sure you have it handy! I have done some research and discovered that this is actually slated to be a trilogy. Just so everyone knows up front. I REALLY wish I had known that!
Second, and probably the biggest, as much as I loved the unique plot of this story, I found some strong comparisons to another widely popular YA series. Usually I shrug them off because I hate to compare books like that, but a few times it was just too hard to overlook. I will not say what series I was reminded of, only because we do not speak of said series on this blog, but I will tell you what stood out to me. Deviation features a young woman in a futuristic United States. The government has taken to dividing out genetically altered or “different” youth of society and sends them to training in a specific school. You can either be brainy or brawny. Scholar or a soldier. More or less. Our main character, Cleo has recently discovered she is a “Deviant” and has to be sent off to be with the other “Deviants”. While there she is enrolled in weapons class where is she forced to learn how to use an array of weapons including guns, bows, knives, etc. It just so happens she falls in love with her weapons instructor who just so happens to be a “Deviant”, like her. *Growl* While this is frustrating, I do have to say that it definitely was different enough in every other aspect of the novel to actually lead me to REALLY enjoy the book, but at some points I really had to roll my eyes at the similarities between this novel and the “other”.
Aside from those two points, I have NOTHING negative to say! Let’s talk about the awesome points!
Deviation (while it shared some similar elements) is one of the most unique storylines I have read in a very long time. I can only imagine how difficult it is to write in the YA genre right now, because seriously, it has ALL been done. You really have to come out guns blazing to be noticed and thankfully Manzari does just that. I found myself hanging on Manzari’s every word. For over 300 pages. That’s a long time people. The writing style for Deviation is amazing. It’s an “easy” read with several dark and deep undertones.
Themes explored in Deviation include growing up, maturity, loyalty, trust, family, and integrity. I really thought that Manzari did an amazing job touching on so many subjects without bringing them right into the forefront of the story. There was a whole lot of internal struggle with each character and I loved reading that. While we only get Cleo’s POV in the story, it was well enough written that each character is just as important as the last. I really found myself attached to the characters.
Cassie, Cleo’s best friend, is kind of like the muse of the story. She delivers some of the best lines and is around for the most gripping parts of the plot line. My favorite quote from the novel actually comes from Cassie: ”You may not be able to control your future, but you can control how you handle it. Don’t let the dear rule you, rule the fear.” Woah. Can we get a round of applause for Christine Manzari right here? That’s such a great quote. I think that one is going on my list of all time favorite book quotes. That is such an amazing one to live by!
I'll go ahead and tell you guys that I got my hands on the sequel to Deviation, Conviction, and ended up reading it in just a few hours. I didn't think it was possible, but I liked it MORE! Woah! Deviation was amazing. The plot, while similar to another, was unique enough to stand on its' own. By the end of the story I was completely blown away! Manzari is an amazing story teller who has a bright future ahead of her! I just know that this series will continue to get bigger and bigger with each passing story! I cannot wait to share my thoughts on book two here in a few days! You guys will love it!
All-in-all, even though I had a couple of big issues with Deviation, I am still granting it a well deserved 5-star review! Once I could see past the issues, I could see how unique and special Deviation really was. I have been raving about it for a couple of days now and have gotten a few fellow bloggers to take the bait and check it out! I am so anxious to see what everyone else has to say about this series! To Mrs. Manzari, thank you for writing this series, I am so excited to see what the future holds for your writing career! :)
Where can you get your copy?
Thanks so much for stopping by and checking out my thoughts on Deviation by Christine Manzari! Special thanks to the author and the team at Xpresso for sending me a review copy! It was an amazing read that definitely helped pull me out of my reading slump! Until next time, Happy Reading!