Review: Surrender by Elana Johnson

Surrender (Possession #2) by Elana Johnson
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published: June 5th, 2012 by Simon Pulse
Source: Author
Forbidden love, intoxicating power, and the terror of control…

Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.

All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn. Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque…

Before I start my review I want to back up a bit to talk a tad about Possession, the first book.  I loved Possession.  It was a book that really messed with my head and I flat out loved the characters.  It was a crazy wild ride and was emotionally draining, but it had what I love in dystopians and I was definitely invested in the story.  Then it had a killer ending that made me want to scream and THEN I hear that the next book has different characters and is more of a companion novel.  I was terrified that we wouldn’t get the conclusion we really needed.  Now, I am happy to tell you that this book had so much more than I expected.  While it could be considered a companion novel, I would definitely say it’s more of a sequel.  Yes, we get new main characters, but Jag and Vi are still there.  While in the beginning they are in the background (or not there at all), they are a very important part to the story.  And we will get a conclusion with them.  So I definitely say you DO need to read this in order because otherwise you’re missing the first part of the story.  That being said, this could be a stand alone.  It wouldn’t be confusing or anything because we see the world with new eyes in a new place.  They are in Freedom and while I know that Vi arrived there in Possession I honestly don’t recall the city itself much.  So in this book we learn about it and how it works.

Raine’s father is the head dude in the city and is a very bad guy.  And Raine is part of the Insiders which are sort of working to overthrow the crazy government.  Gunner was just a normal guy who suddenly realizes that the head dude wants him to do very bad stuff so he’s all for joining the Insiders and through him we learn about the Insiders as he does. (I think they were called Insiders, but it’s been awhile now since I read the book.  Shame on me for not writing this review immediately.)  So we don’t get overwhelmed with details, we learn a bit at a time.  Some of this we may have learned in the first book, but honestly I don’t remember details so well since it’s been so long since I read it.

I loved Gunner!  Not only did I love the male POV, but he was a great character.  He was smart, but not stupid.  He was cautious when breaking rules, but brave when he needed to be.  He had a fantastic voice and I loved his personality.  Raine was also great but I felt like she was a bit secondary to Gunner.  I don’t feel like I know her as well.  But she’s incredibly brave as well and she has to take some big risks to save others.  She really has to stick her neck out and possibly could be caught by her father.

This is a dystopian story with strong sci-fi elements.  They have chips in their heads or something where they can communicate without talking.   But this moniters everything.  They seriously can’t do ANYTHING without the government knowing.  Luckily they have some tech people that help get around the monitering.  Another sci fi thing that I loved was that they have hover boards.  Isn’t that awesome?! Another great element is that there’s a bit of paranormal.  Or supernatural, or should we just say, super ability?  Some people have abilities like being able to manipulate tech, or use mind control, or even being able to see the future, just to name a few.  It’s pretty cool and adds a nice twist.

The story was fantastic.  It was very twisty, and while sometimes I could figure things out through foreshadowing, I never figured it out fully.  There’s always so much more to the story.  So any predictions I made were only slight guesses and I didn’t understand why, or how.  I thought it was great. 

This was a story I got fully invested in the characters and in the story itself.  I’m definitely dying to read the next one as it’s not over yet!  There’s a decent cliffhanger, but it wasn’t one that had me shrieking like I was for Possession.  I feel like we have more hope now, that things might work out, there’s just more to go yet.

I know a lot of people felt like Possession was kind of weird.  They weren’t a fan of the style of writing.  I really felt like this one was easier to understand and it all flowed well.  So even those who may not have loved the first may end up loving this one.  I suggest you give it a try, you may be surprised!

Disclosure: I received this book for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.

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  1. Thanks for the great review. I really liked Possession and like you wasn’t sure if I’d like the next companion book. I thought Surrender was brilliant. I loved Raine and Gunner and where Elana took the story.

  2. I’m really torn because although I was able to finish Possession, finding that the writing style carried me along to the end, I really didn’t like it. The mix of dystopia and paranormal was just too weird and the world was hard to understand. So what you’re saying is getting right at the points I found most frustrating with the first book. If I see this at the library, I might be tempted to pick it up and give it a try to see if it resolves my issues. Thanks for the insight!

  3. This sounds like it was a great read and a great series. I own these but haven’t been able to give them a try yet.
    I am really glad you enjoyed them so much. I look forward to reading them.

  4. I just finished Possession a few days ago and now I am kicking myself for not agreeing to read Surrender as part of the blog tour too! Most reviews I have read say that Surrender is the stronger of the two and really shows how Johnson’s writing has developed. I can’t wait to give it a read because I am dying to see what happens to Vi and Jag:) Great review, Candace. So glad to be a part of the upcoming tour:)

  5. While I thought Possession was choppy and not very well written I thought Surrender was outstanding. I thought the characters in Possession didn’t seem to stay true to character. But since you’re talking about Surrender, I’ll say, I’m with you. You definitely need to read these in order. I don’t think you’d understand anything otherwise. And it is definitely a series you don’t want to miss! I can’t wait for Abandon!!!


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