Friday, March 24, 2017

Review, Author Interview, and Giveaway: Redux (Tricksters #2) by A.L. Davroe

Book info:
Author:  A.L. Davroe
SeriesTricksters #2
Genre:YA Science Fiction
Published:  March 21st, 2017
Pulisher:  Entangled Teen
Source: E-galley received from publisher for honest review
My rating:  5 stars

What can I say except that A.L. Davroe has blown me away once again.  This book picks up right after where book one, Nexis, left off. Which is good, because it left off at a pretty suspenseful part.  If you haven't read the first one, I can't promise no spoilers in this review, so you should click on my linked title of book 1 above and go read that review first maybe.

We had so many interesting revelations in the first book.  And now we're back with Ella, and her love from within the game of Nexis, Gus.  But maybe outside of the game, the true love that they had isn't going to work quite the same.  Not only that, but the president's sun, Quentin, seems to be interested in Ella as well, and he keeps kissing her, which irritates her to no end.  Partly because his kisses are something she can't seem to resist.  However so much is going on, not only are all the robots and other machines within their dome of Evanescence killing anything alive that they find, the rebels from outside the dome have come in and been attacking the Aristocrats as well.  So Ella and Gus, Quentin and his Dolls, along with some other Aristocrats left after the big catastrophe have gone below into a tunnel that will connect to the next dome over.  Where they hope to make it to in order to get help.  

However when they go to open the crates of what should be full of food and other much needed supplies in this disaster, they find them empty.  So now there is also the mystery of who had been into this secret room.  Now they now they are going to have to go up into the cities outside the dome to try to find the food they need in order to make it all the way through the tunnel to find the next dome and hopefully a new life.  However when the virus that caused the dome to crash took over, many things happened that as far as Quentin and Zane and the other people in on it with Ella's uncle had no idea would happen.  The machines rising up as they did, and now the atmosphere is being destroyed with what little protection it did give outside the dome.

Out in the "real world" Ella and her group must fight with the people that have good reason to hate the Aristocrats who lived in the dome.  Well, everyone but Ella, because of who she is, she is considered their savior.  Not only that, but there are the cannibals, the failing atmosphere, and the food shortage to keep them struggling.  Ella also is dealing with the fact that Gus seemed to have a life outside of the game that she did not know about.  One that includes Ella's former best friend.  Her former best friend who tells Gus exactly what Ella used to say about him before she knew him.  She also is learning that people she thought had died, may not actually be dead.  And was it really Gus or Quentin that she fell in love with during the game?  

So many secrets and twists in this story that I kept gasping when something new was revealed or something else happened that I didn't see coming.  I love the way it all went in this book. The way the author ends this is really perfect.  While I had to skim a bit to finish in time to post my review on Amazon, I am still actually finishing up going back and getting all the details that I might have missed as I sped through.  I suggest when you pick it up that you have lots of time so that you don't have to put it down, and that you take that time to read through all the descriptions and story arcs so that you can fully appreciate how great this book, this series, really is.

About the Author:
A.L. (Amanda) Davroe writes both YA and adult speculative fiction. She prefers revisionist tales in paranormal, romance, Steampunk, and fantasy. She is the author of Salvation Station (adult psych horror), The City Steam Collection (adult psych horror), For Your Heart (YA Paranormal Romance) and her YA Sci-Fi novel, Nexis, came out with Entangled Publishing  December 1st, 2015!

By day, Amanda lives in Connecticut with her two feline hench-creatures and makes cheese.  She’s a terrible blusher, has a weak spot for cuddly animals, loves Laffy Taffy and Cadbury MiniEggs, and she’s a huge advocate of alternative healing methods.  Amanda also wears purple shoes and corsets…Though not always in the same ensemble.  She’s a Capricorn, a Hufflepuff, a bit gothic, and a few nuggets short of a Happy Meal.

Author Website:

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Author Twitter@ALDavroe

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 Author Interview:

1.  What does your writing process look like?  Do you know the whole story when you start?  Or do you just start writing and go with it (seat of the pants writing)?  If you plan it out, how do you do that?  Outline, note cards, post-it notes, etc.?

Absolute chaos.  Obviously a pantser, with an answer like that.  I usually know a concept – a little hook or elevator pitch before I start.  But, I usually have no idea of characters or plot when I first sit down to write.  I world-build as I go and the characters come piecemeal.  I had to hand in an outline for Redux when Nexis got sold.  I tried to follow that outline and the resulting work was not only crud, but I didn’t follow it anyway.  I ended up having to rewrite the whole thing, so next time I’m just gonna write and see what happens.  Seems to work for me so far.

2.  How do you come up with your ideas for your stories?

All kinds of things.  Usually some kind of concept, like I mentioned above.  I may see it in a dream.  I may see two movies and wonder what would happen if I crossed them.  Maybe another book or an anime show will give me a plot bunny and I’ll follow the white rabbit down into another world.  Dialogues and scenes come to me when I’m walking, driving, and showering.  If I have difficulty with something, usually I’ll talk at some unfortunate someone until I eventually circle to a solution – these are the days my friends and family loathe me most, I think.

3.  How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since freshman year of high school.  Not actively, mind you, but when the fancy strikes.  That was…1999.  I’m not gonna do the math from there because it will depress me and make me feel old, LOL!

4.  What tips do you have for aspiring writers? 

Everything is about luck and timing.  I can’t stress that enough.  So long as the writing makes you happy and stories keep wanting to be told, you keep on writing.  Lack of success doesn’t mean anything and no one says that, just because you wrote a book, you have to share it with the world.  There is a lot more to being an author than writing books and the additional requirements may make you hate your hobby.  Some of the best books in the world lay at the bottom of a pile of papers in a closet somewhere and that’s okay.  The point is that they were written and brought joy to their creator.

5. If you had to pick one of these dystopian book worlds to live in, which would you pick, and why?  Hunger Games, Divergent, Uglies-(Scott Westerfeld), Legend - Marie Lu, The Giver

Ugh, who wants to live in a dystopian world?!?!  LOL!  Hm…  Well, I’ve admittedly not read Legend, so that’s out.  I’ve read and loved the others.  I couldn’t live in a world where I was micromanaged down to my very identity as a human being – being told what job, what class, what I looked like, or how I thought.  So no Divergent, Giver, or Uglies.  I don’t think I’d enjoy living in constant fear of being put in a battle to the death (or having to watch that year after year until I died), but where the other series you listed require control of body/mind, the world of Panem doesn’t require it of everyone.  It requires adherence to authority and the occasional sacrifice, but it’s possible to go about being the person you are (within the confines of your district), so I’d have to pick that one.  Ideally, one would live on the outskirts or as part of the resistance in each of these worlds.  If I could be on the outside, I’d be okay with any of them.


I have many favorite books, too many to list.  SF/F, paranormal romance, historical fiction, urban fantasy.  Neil Gaiman, Brom, Faith Hunter, Carrie Ryan, Brandon Sanderson, Brent Weeks, Charles deLint, Holly Black.

Movies/TV Shows:
Anything by Hayao Mitazaki, Tim Burton, or Guillermo del Toro.  Disney movies.  Anime shows, historicals like Downton Abbey and Vikings, crime shows like Bones and X Files.

Anything except country and rap?  Some favorites are A Perfect Circle, Breaking Benjamin, Delta Rae, and Afro-Celt Soundsystem.

Food/writing snack:
Tea and grilled cheese are my life staples.  Chai lattes, scones, broccoli, Cadbury chocolate mini-eggs.

Social Media Site:
Facebook owns my soul  

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I sag to the floor, a shaking mess.

            Slowly, Quentin gathers the rope up once more, coiling it around his arm. Then he’s still for a long minute. I can tell he’s staring at me, waiting. “Elle?”

            I shake my head. “I-I can’t.”

            He crouches down in front of me, meets my haunted eyes. I feel him take up my hands, hold them against his chest. “You’re shaking.”

            Of course I am. I don’t want to die.

            “You can do this,” he whispers.

            Mute now, I shake my head again.

            “Hey.” Shifting both my hands to one of his, he reaches out with the other, stills my head with a palm to my cheek. “Look at me.”

            I do, only because I don’t have a choice. He has me trapped.

            His expression is calm. Serene, like the boy who shot my uncle in the head. I wish I could turn off like that, become cool and calculated and unfeeling. “I will not let you fall. You need to trust me. You need to trust yourself. Stand up.”

            Swallowing hard, I get to shaking legs. I don’t know how I’m going to go down on such unstable things. One is injured as it is.

            “Shoes,” he prompts.

            I slip out of my heels, let the cold stone touch my synthetic skin. It feels strange being on flat feet. I’ve grown up on heels. Without them he seems like a giant as he bends and comes around to my back, putting them into my pack as I stand like an idiot. Seeing that I’m being useless and silly, he bends at my hip and I feel him tugging my skirts. I wince as I hear the tearing noise of him splitting my beautiful dress from hem to seam.

            Four times, like Violet did with hers.

            And then he’s winding the strips around my thighs, his fingers passing in and out like butterfly wings. My legs go from shaking to jelly and I have to hold the wall to keep myself upright.

            When he’s done, he stands in front of me, stares at me, and frowns. After a thought, he unbuttons his jacket and slides it off his shoulders.

            I blink at him, confused.

            “Put it on.”

            I do as I’m told. It’s big on me, stiff in the shoulder from all the dried blood. It smells like him and the weight of it makes me feel like I’m being held. My fingers fumble on the buttons and he steps into my space to help, his knuckles grazing my hitching chest. The warm certainty of his presence disappears for an instant as he bends to retrieve the rope and then he’s back, tying it under my arms.

            When he finishes with the knot, he just sort of goes still, his body close to mine and me wavering against the solid weight of him. His fingers slide from the knot, inch up, flutter along my clavicle, against my neck. One hand slips back behind my neck and into my hair, tugging just slightly, as the other tips up my jaw.

            His breath is warm and minty as he breathes something that seems like relief, and if it’s possible, something about him—his expression, his body—eases me. He stares down, his eyes clear and true, and that melts me into his body and his touch.

            And then he’s kissing me again. And I’m kissing him. It’s just like it was in the aerovator during our escape. That heat, that familiarity. That instant awakening and settling inside of me—like a flock of birds and a lazy pool of molten heat exploding through my veins and muscles at the same time. That feeling like it’s perfect and sound. It’s everything I ever wanted of a kiss from Quentin Cyr before…before…Gus.

            I shove at him, step away from him, gasping. “What are you doing?” I demand. “You can’t keep kissing me, you’re-you’re in love with someone. I heard you tell Carsai.”

            Unapologetic, he grins at me. “Hmm, that’s something to think about, isn’t it?”

            “You’re a cad.”

            He shrugs. “You’re not scared anymore, though, are you?”

            Heaving in confusion, glaring in heat, I growl as I have to admit that no, I’m not scared anymore.

            “I’m not sorry,” he says, voice quiet. “I like kissing you.”

            Gritting my teeth, I march over to the ropes and pass them around myself as I saw Violet and Bastian do before. I shore up my grip on both ends of the rope and I don’t look down. To look down would be to see where I’m going and right now, I don’t want to.

            “Hey,” Quentin calls to me from where he’s standing, lifting the security rope around him as he backs his weight against it. I feel it tug a little against my chest, like he’s drawing me back to him.

            I pause, look at him even though I don’t want to make eye contact.

            “Go easy,” he says, voice like honey. “Just breathe.”