Saturday, December 28, 2013

Revelations (Review)

(The Elysium Chronicles, #2)

Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: November 5th, 2013
Genre(s): YA Science Fiction/Dystopia

My Review: (4/5 stars*)

 Revelations is swathed in mystery and allure. Much of what made the first novel Renegade so creepily enchanting is subdued in its sequel, but it brings forth a new layer of terror—life on the Surface. Unlike the magical world of Elysium, the Surface is a scarier place for the main character Evelyn because it's unfamiliar to her. She's very much on her own journey to find herself again and put the pieces of her life back together. Gavin is a part of that but he makes a disappearance for half of the book which at first I thought was a bad thing, but Evie needed to discover who she is without him as her shadow. She leaves her world and has to live and survive in a new one that's so alien and foreign. No longer is she a lethal Enforcer, but a fragile young woman with no memory of her past. Revelations feels like reading a different story because the magical aspect is submerged with Elysium and not too present in this installment.

Revelations opens up with Evie living on the Surface without her memories of the past sixteen years. Adapting to this new way of life is challenging, especially since she has started blacking out. Too afraid to tell Gavin she puts herself at risk and endangers the lives of others. Having no other choice she seeks the help of a local doctor who doesn't seem to know why she goes into fugue-like states and recommends that traveling to The Outlands is her best bet. As her condition worsens she journeys to the walled city but she runs into trouble along the way.

Readers have to learn to like Evelyn all over again because she's not the same person she was in Renegade. That for me was tricky because I really grew to like the rebellious and strong girl she became. Towards the end you catch glimpses and slip-ups of her former self but she's not who you knew, but a different version. I'm hoping her amnesia isn't temporary or plays as much of a part in next novel. Gavin—as much as I love him—is detrimental to Evie. He wants to protect her and by doing so he treats her like a breakable teacup, and withholds information. Gavin tries to take away her decisions by making Evie's choices for her and I didn't like that. Call it a personal thing but I don't like when people tell you what you can and cannot do. You control your own life, it's what Mother did and he's trying to do it now to a lesser extent. He stoops low, and I guess that's why I was so quick to like Asher—the new guy—whose introduced. Unlike who Gavin's become Asher lets Evie do what she wants as long as it's not too dangerous, and he doesn't lie to her. While Gavin and Evie are separated Asher starts to develop feelings and a connection to Evie. It isn't the love triangle you're expecting though. All the revelations and excitement are saved for the last 50 pages. 

I had such a hard time gathering my thoughts about this novel because I was blown away by the first but Revelations didn't impress me in the same way. I enjoyed it but it felt more like a transitional filler piece. It isn't heavy on the romance, the action scenes are far apart, and the shocking revelations are left to the end. Where the first novel left me wanting more, this one really should have had more in it - answer-wise, and action-wise. I understand that when you have a series you can't give away everything in the beginning but it could have been better paced. I wanted to love this as I had its predecessor but for most of the book not a whole lot happened. The redeeming factor was that the last 100 pages had the quality writing I wish I'd seen from the start.

J.A. Souders is a talented YA writer, she has imagined a beautiful underwater utopia and above ground, a hardened world that has a frightening reality. Revelations has a few small but important developments about Evie. Though the sequel feels drawn out it's a good addition to the Elysium Chronicles. I'm hopeful that the next novel will be much better based on the cliffhanger at the end I'm sure it will. If you enjoy dark dystopias with a touch of romance I'd recommend you pick up this series.


Six weeks after her arrival on the Surface, Evelyn Winters is no closer to unlocking the memories lost in her subconscious than she was when she first came. Isolated in a strange new society, Evie has only Gavin Hunter to remind her of who she once was.

But even with a clean slate, it’s easy to see that Evie doesn’t fit in on the Surface. And as her differences make her feel more and more alone, she can’t help but yearn for that place she doesn’t remember: the isolated city hidden in the depths of the ocean. Elysium. Home.

But she can’t exactly tell Gavin what she’s feeling. Not when he’s the one who helped her escape Elysium in the first place, and has the scars to prove it. Though the doctors say otherwise, Gavin believes that Evie just needs time. And if her memories don’t come back, well, maybe she’s better off not remembering her past.

But the decision may be out of their hands when Evie’s ever-elusive memories begin to collide with reality. People and images from her past appear in the most unlikely places, haunting her, provoking her…and making her seem not only strange but dangerous.

Evie and Gavin can’t wait around for her memories to return. They’ll have to journey across the Outlands of the Surface to find help, and in the end, their search may just lead them back to the place it all started…



*You can read my review of the first novel Renegade here.


Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes, all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law.

But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie. 


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