I like when sequels just pick up the storyline where they left off with minimal explanation of the back story. Each book should be able to stand on its own two feet (or binding) but allow the dedicated reader to have an “enhanced” understanding of the motivations and plot. Such is the case with the novel Sacrificed by Courtney Farrell, Book Two of the Enhanced Series.
Here we have Michelle waiting for her boyfriend Dillon to arrive so they can set off on their assigned mission. In pops Brian, her brother’s best friend and the boy she has adored since her younger days. It seems he’s going with them and he doesn’t hold back that he’s available if Dillon doesn’t work out. Awkward! Before Michelle has a chance to think things through, the original mission is scrubbed and she and almost the whole gang (from Book One: Enhanced) are on their way to the remote, arctic Iron Torr, a place which holds bad childhood memories. On arrival, they are attacked by the Rebel Norms, barely making it to safety. Inside Iron Torr, the group gets a mixed welcome from leader Colonel Parker who, once they are rested, sends them outside the military compound to repair the communications equipment. Despite precautions, Michelle is captured.
“A life for a life” as the Norms say, and Michelle ends up adopted by widowed Mollie. Enhanced abilities allows her to assist the inhabitants of the village even while she plots her escape and return to Iron Torr where she hopes to discover the fate of the rest of her group. In the meantime, Dillon has made some discoveries of his own as he goes through treatments back at Iron Torr to upgrade the dormant enhancements buried deep in his persona. No one seems to mind that his father was only a norm, but when it is time to rescue his friends, he must abide by Parker’s Master Plan – a strategy which just doesn’t sit right with his upbringing, especially since the norms who have survived the plague now have at least one enhanced Gene which make them Rebels who are now smarter or stronger.
Nothing is as it seems. Sacrificed is an excellent term to explain the situation the teenagers find themselves in. All that training to be the best of the best as enhanced human beings, yet trained to do what? And for whose benefit?
While Sacrificed picks up where Enhanced left off (Michelle is now sixteen), the majority of this book takes place in a new setting. Some questions are answered, especially about Dillon’s past, yet a whole slew of new ones pop up. In fact, there are so many open ended plot lines that I was often confused. It was impossible to distinguish between the good guys and the bad ones due to all the deceptions by both enhanced and norms. After awhile, I decided to just sit back and stop trying to forsee what happens as the plot unfolded. Even then, much of the action was extremely murky. This was definitely not a quick read with too many characters to keep straight and just as many plot twists. Parts of the story dragged, while other sections needed to be expanded. Sacrificed was excessively violent since warfare was its central theme and the next book in the series promises to be more of the same. The focus was the development of the two main characters, Michelle and Dillon, who alternately tell the story from their point of view. The other characters from Book One only serve as backups, although Brian does have an important role to play as Dillon’s best friend as well as competitor. Colonel Parker and his wife, Brooke, are also major players along with their son, Slade, who slips in and out of both worlds. While we know the background of the teens, it is impossible to understand exactly what motivates the people of Torr, even with the various clues which Farrell has left. The ending indicates that some of these issues will be resolved in the next book, as the leader of Iron Torr has not completed his master plan.
As in any good YA book, the teens seem to be smarter than their parents, so hopefully these youngsters will find solutions and bring peace to all factions with the series finding some sort of closure in Book Three.
Three stars. I would like to thank author Courtney Farrell for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.