Fight or Flight by Chele Cooke

Fight or Flight continues directly from the first book, Dead and Buryd. Without the need to establish the world, we are get much more story and action. Yet although there are some interesting (and some sadly expected) plot twists, inconsistency of characterizations and dystopian cliche traps began to frustrate and this fell into the sophomore slump category. I’ll still purchase/read the third book, however, if only to see where the author goes with the Edtoka characer.

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Story: Georgianna is stuck in the prison, waiting to see if she will be sold or executed. Local inmates take an interest in her medical skills, looking to align her solely with their faction. Just as her hand is about to be forced, she is sold to an Adveni. But the Belsa rebels want her to spy on her new master and those she thought enemies may actually be her salvation; while her friends could very well end up being her downfall.

Perhaps most frustrating for me is that this fell soundly into the YA dystopian cliche: first book of a trilogy is awakening of how bad things are and meeting love interest; second book is escaping the evil and finding new ally outside the government; third book is about the fight to overthrow the evil government with the new allies. The big difference between this book, though, is that we don’t have a doe-eyed virginal ingenue unique snowflake main character. Unfortunately, we do have the frustrating ‘love effect’ where every male inexplicably wants her. Since her only talent is minor nurse skills and willingness to be manipulated by others, I’m finding it harder and harder to understand the attraction.

The author has really tried to give us an intricate plot with a lot of political maneuvering.  Unfortunately, by this second book, actions seem more knee-jerk than intelligent and I’m desperately looking for a mature strategy by any of the major players. I’m not sure who was more ineffective – the silly prison system and military governance by the Adveni or the equally clumsy Belsa rebels. The freedoms allowed the prisons and slaves, rebels and citizens didn’t feel realistic or logical. The ‘deep game’ played by Edtoka even shallower. At teems, this looked to veer right into paranormal romance: hunky guys with tattoos with gruff exteriors and hidden hearts of gold (rolls eyes).

It was no surprise who would end up buying Georgianna. All the same, there was no character development in that action and the pretense was solely so Georgianna could further the plot by ‘finding’ key stuff at the house. Left around. In clear sight. Despite the desperate situation and need for secrecy (and Georgianna’s complete lack of ability to keep anything secret).  There were several face palm moments in this book that really should have been thought through better.

The illogical set up of how, why and by whom Georgianna was bought is magnified by her character inconsistencies. She spends most of the first half of the book complaining that no one takes her seriously – and now by two books I couldn’t understand how any COULD take her seriously. Either be determined and show through your actions that you are competent or don’t make readers slog through endless whiney meandering thought processes.  This book was greatly in need of much more show rather than tell.

I will still continue to the third book despite my disappointment in the plot and characters in Fight or Flight (both book names are horrible, by the way). It really is all about Edtoka – I found him intriguing in the first book. By the second, I lost a lot of that respect as he pretty much acted as stupidly as Georgianna and everyone else (and his big reveal at the end was both sadly expected and anticlimactic), it was so obviously telecasted. So I am hoping the character can be redeemed by the third book.

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This entry was posted in Book Reviews, dystopian, new adult, romance, YA. Bookmark the permalink.

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