Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Review: Deviation by Christine Manzari

Book: Deviation by Christine Manzari
Series: The Sophisticates #1
Released: August 9, 2013
Pages:  430 (Paperback)
Stars: 4.25

**I received this book from the author in exchange for an open and honest review.**

Deviation (The Sophisticates, #1)

From Goodreads
Being a Sophisticate of the Program seems like it’d be a pretty sweet deal: a little genetic alteration and anyone can be smarter, faster, and stronger. It’s a dream come true. All you have to give up is your freedom.

Cleo is a Sophisticate and she has a bright future in the Program. But she has a secret. When she gets upset, bad things happen. Explosive things. Things she can’t control.

When her secret is discovered, she’s sent to the Academy to train in the military branch of the Program. She’s destined to be a human weapon in the war that’s been going on since Wormwood occurred nearly 30 years ago. She soon learns that although her ability is unique, there are others like her — other Sophisticates with lethal skills and odd code names like Archerfish and Mimic Octopus.

Immersed in a dangerous game of supernatural powers and dubious motives, Cleo doesn’t know who to trust. Ozzy, the annoyingly attractive cadet who has perfect aim in weapons class and deviant lips behind closed doors, begs her not to use her powers. He’s the golden boy of the Program, but can she trust him? Or will she find herself a target, caught in his crosshairs?

I quite enjoyed this book. It's an interesting take on the dystopian genre where there are a select few who develop super powers. There's also some fabulous code names (more on those in a minute), and I rather enjoyed the love interest (and the fact that there was not a love triangle to be found).
Clementine "Cleo" Dracone is a normal Sophisticate. At least until she makes her room explode. I liked Cleo. She's super smart, and capable of more than she gives herself credit for. She gets thrown into a situation that she wasn't prepared to handle (5 mile run every morning? No thanks). And due to her crazy intelligence, she's also a hacker, which I thought was a nice touch.

Cleo has some awesome friends. Her friend Cassie is the first one we're introduced to in the book. While she doesn't play a huge role in the first book, other than to help with some plot points, she's set up for a rather major role in book 2, and I look forward to learning more about her.

When Cleo arrives at her new school, she is immediately introduced to Sterling. My "love interest" radar started going off, and you'll just have to read the book to see if I'm right or not. ;) But Sterling is great. He's snarky, which is one of my favorite character traits. His snarkiness comes out even more when talking to Arabella. Arabella packs a lot of character in a tiny little package. She might be one of my favorite people in the entire book. She is FEISTY.

And then there's Ozzy. It was hard for me to get a read on Ozzy. I read such conflicting accounts of him from the other characters, which piqued my interest. And Cleo's too apparently.

Of course, not everyone is great in Cleo's world. Quinnie is rather evil. She has the power to electrocute people, and uses it to her advantage.
The Sophisticate Program was created approximately 30 years prior to the time period occurring in the book. The Sophisticates were created by the government to be faster, stronger, and smarter than the "normal" population. They receive special privileges and all the best jobs. The only downside? They're property of the government. They have very little freedom. The Sophisticates are divided in to two groups: the Vanguards a/k/a "the brains" and the Mandates a/k/a "the brawn."

The book starts off with Cleo and her best friend Cassie at University. Cleo gets super upset and incinerates her room. With no warning, no reason given, and much to Cleo's surprise, she is sent to St. Ignatius, which is the training school for Mandates. Cleo should have been a Mandate. She'd been training for it for most of her life, plus she's brilliant. It's here that Cleo learns the truth about herself, and that there's others like her. Namely, the Deviant Dozen (I love this name). The Deviant Dozen have totally awesome code names: a few are Archerfish, Hummingbird, Electric Eel, Tiger Moth, Horror Frog, and my personal favorite, Indonesian Mimic Octopus.

I really appreciated that there was no insta-love or even a love-triangle, even though it could have been very easy to go that direction. I really enjoyed Cleo's relationship with her guy (and no, I'm not telling you which one). They challenge each other and don't let the other one have the easy way out. The development of the relationship felt organic and real, never forced.

One of my favorite things in books is a strong friendship between the female MC and her best friend. We get to experience two such relationships in this book, with Cleo and Cassie, and the developing one between Cleo and Arabella. I'll be interested to see if there's a change in dynamic in the 2nd book.

I would recommend this book to anyone who liked paranormal books such as the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi and Pivot Point & Split Second by Kasie West. There are some similar aspects to each one, without being the exact same.
 I approve.

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