SNEAK (SWIPE 2) BY EVAN ANGLER
3 OUT OF 5 STARS
PUBLISHED BY THOMAS NELSON
***Please note this is book 2 in the Swipe series, this review may contain some spoilers about book one (Swipe)***
Sneak picks up a month after the end of Swipe, following his escape from his pledging ceremony, Logan has made it to New Chicago. At the end of Swipe Logan discovered that his sister Lily was alive and incarcerated in a facility named Acheron. All he knows is that Acheron is in Beacon and he has to get his sister out.
Sneak follows Logan’s journey, as well as the stories of Peck and the remaining Dust, Hailey and of course Erin. Erin betrayed Logan at the end of Swipe, and Sneak picks up with her facing her own troubles with DOME and her father.
All of these stories link together in the search for Logan, Lily and Acheron – as they go along they find more and more horrifying stories about Acheron and the truth is even worse than they can imagine.
Reading the reviews for Swipe, there was one comment that really resonated with me. The reviewer had highlighted the fact that the world in Swipe was something that is fairly rare in YA Dystopian stories these days – a genuine possibility of the future. Most books in the genre have a ‘big event’ or ‘big bad’ that caused all of the suffering (technology in Partials, EMP’s in ashes etc.), there’s really not anything to fight against in Swipe/Sneak other than human nature. Sure there are the marks but they have been implemented by humans, not by aliens or technology taking over. That’s what makes the Swipe world brilliantly compelling, it’s scarily realistic. The world is fascinating, Beacon is described beautifully and the complexity behind the river is riveting. There are the usual twists and turns, as there are two major revelations – one about Acheron and one about the marks, both of which are unexpected and throw the reader completely (in a good way!)
Now for the negatives (and the reason it only got 3 stars), the religious side to the book, yes I know it was published by Thomas Nelson, but that doesn’t mo mean it has to be pushed quiet so much. Part of me thinks there is a religious theme running through the story (ala Narnia), but I’m not religious and don’t know the stories well enough to confirm if that’s true. But there is a lot of religious suggestion in the book, the symbols on the river, the book Logan’s reading, the oppression of all religion and subsequent secret churches and Pecks sudden conversion to the faith (sorry – not a spoiler, it’s a minor part in the book, I suspect it was more scene setting for the next book). There’s nothing wrong with a religious undertone, but in places it felt too forced upon the reader. This alone was not enough to reduce the book to three stars, the character development was however. Whilst the story was fast paced and very in-depth, you are left with a feeling that more was put into the world than into the characters. Logan is wet, why anyone would feel compelled to help him I don’t know, there is nothing to him, no depth no personality, Peck is equally as uninspiring, I struggle to understand why anyone would follow him – he doesn’t lead the Dust, they simply limp along behind him. Some work was done to discuss the Dust member’s history but it was done in a page and merely skimmed the surface, providing the reader not caring about their fates. The only relatable character is Erin, even then her story is just surface level, and I can’t tell you much about her – just her actions in the book.
So in summary, a good – not great- read. Swipe was better, but Sneak is worth a read. The bones of the story are good, the twists are fantastic and the reader does not anticipate them at all (or at least I didn’t) but more character development is needed for the series to be a serious contender in the already crowded genre.
Arc/Egally kindly provided by Netgally