Series Review: Pandora Jones Admission & Deception by Barry Jonsberg

December 8, 2014 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 3 stars, Books, Reviews

Series Review: Pandora Jones Admission & Deception by Barry JonsbergAdmission by Barry Jonsberg
Series: Pandora Jones #1
Published by Allen & Unwin on May 2014
Source: Borrowed
Genres: Dystopian, Thriller, Young Adult
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Pandora Jones wakes in an infirmary - her body weak, her memory providing only flashes of horrific scenes of death. She soon discovers that her family has succumbed to a plague pandemic which almost wiped out humanity. Pan is one of the survivors who have been admitted to The School - a quarantined, heavily guarded survival-skills facility - to recover their strength, hone their skills and prepare for whatever comes next. Pandora's skill is intuition, but how useful will it be outside the secure walls of The School? And what if it leads her to question where the truth lies...

Plague. Pandemic. Intuition. Secrets. Truth. Courage. Action. Survival.

Where a deadly virus sweeps out the human race and teenagers who are immune are saved and trained for survival, Pandora Jones Admission sounds like your typical post-apocalyptic scenario. It’s actually much more than that, as a blend of post-apocalyptic, thriller and mystery.

Pandora was a bit hard to warm to at times as a fairly average teenager, with the power of intuition which helps her find lost objects and predict what people are doing. She has disjointed dreams and memories which she has to piece together herself, which does well to add to the mysterious aura of the book. Without this quirk though, she is a rather flat and weak character, who gets bullied easily. I expected more development of her character but it wasn’t present in Admission. 

I did enjoy the cast of characters and the very brief hint of romance, but what really intrigued me about Pandora Jones Admission is the mystery surrounding The School and how they all came to be there. As Pandora and her friends piece together different memories, sudden deaths and weird behaviours, you’ll be able to come to a slow realisation about what is really happening. I did find it a bit predictable, and wasn’t too pleased with the bunch of plot holes and cliffhanger. I don’t know why Pandora has powers, how she can see and do things, and I hope the sequel will answer that.


Pandora Jones Admission is an interesting blend of several subgenres, but unfortunately I felt like it tried to be too many things at once. I was invested in the mystery and Pandora’s powers of intuition, but was disappointed at the glaring plotholes. Although I had trouble connecting with the character, I’ll check out the sequel to hopefully find more answers.

Rating: 3 out of 5 


pandoradecPandora Jones Deception by Barry Jonsberg
Published by Allen & Unwin on
Genres: Dystopian, Thriller, Young Adult
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Book Depository

Pandora Jones Deception felt like a completely different story to Admission. In Admission, we received many different flashbacks, training and action for the students and Pan’s mysterious powers, but this one was pretty much an escape story.

There’s still a mysterious, sinister atmosphere in Deception, as Pan starts to put together things that are happening in the school. Unfortunately much of this didn’t really glean new information, until the very last pages. I did enjoy the psychological thriller aspects in the first book, but it felt like there was very little of that here. Instead, the focal point of the book is Pan and her previous bully Jen, forming an alliance, learning to trust each other and ultimately relying on each other to escape. I feel like the book skipped a beat, as Jen was a strong tormentor in the first book and I didn’t really understand why she would suddenly want to help Pan.

“When everything else is stripped away, I’m all right. I like myself and I’m not sure that I did in the past. Okay, I know many students at The School think I’m weird, maybe mad. But I don’t care what they think. For the first time in my life, I reckon I’m comfortable with who I am.”

The main thing that prevented me from really enjoying Deception however, is that Pan is still a weak character that needs help. She undergoes a fair amount of exercise and training to get stronger, but in the end Jen is the one that really pulls her through. A bully and a weak girl with strong intuition – they aren’t exactly riveting characters, and I found myself bored at times and craved more development or complexity. The book also doesn’t explain Pan’s powers of intuition at all, and I continued to be frustrated at the lack of answers and development.


Pandora Jones Deception focused mainly on figuring out the mystery as revealed in the first book and an escape from their captors. While the suspense is still here, I wanted more reveals and character development for Pan. It does have a pretty shocking ending though, so I’ll probably read the final book.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 


I received a review copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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26 responses to “Series Review: Pandora Jones Admission & Deception by Barry Jonsberg

  1. I'm actually surprised you went on to read book two Jeann after not having much luck with the first. It's the ending, it totally got me. I was the opposite actually and enjoyed book two more. it was Jen thought, I love a no bullshit type of character. Couldn't agree more, I wish there were some type of explanation for her ability, but I'm hoping there'll be a big reveal in the final book of the series. At least, I hope so.

    Brilliant review Jeann <3
    My recent post The Bookish Best Of… Dodgy Covers of 2014

    • Book 2 is the one I got for review, so I thought I would read the first one to give it a go and get it out of the way. I think a few people did enjoy the 2nd one better because it had more of a plot to it. I've heard the 3rd will tie things up though, so hopefully it does.

    • Yeah, a lot of the time these days if a book doesn\’t grab me by the 1st book, very rarely do I move onto the 2nd book. Too many amazing books to read!

  2. Pandora's situation and character seem intriguing to me, but I'm not sure if I'd love her as a main character tbh. Sorry you didn't get that much development for her. LOL! Plot holes are your worst enemy with non-contemporary novels. So they learn to fight side by side and turn into friends? That seems a little rushed, if you ask me. I'm sorry these didn't really wow you, but thanks for your honest thoughts, love!
    My recent post Blog Tour &amp; Giveaway: Amour Amour by Krista and Becca Ritchie

    • Yeah, I found her really difficult to connect to her because of how bland she is you know? I kind of felt like there were some gaping holes in some way. No problems Siiri, thanks for visiting! <3

  3. LilysBookBlog

    I hadn't heard of these two books before but they don't sound like they worked for you and i'm not completely convinced to give them a shot, myself. I don't completely love how Pandra wasn't all that great of a character and slow bits in books just never do it for me.

    • I know, it\’s unfortunate because I know others loved it because of the genre blend but I feel like it needs a bit MORe you know?

  4. Deadly virus, blah blah. *Sighs* I feel like I've lost the desire to read any end-of-the-world-plague-book-things because BLAH. They never live up to what I have in my head. Also, I kind of thing movies tend to do that topic a little better. *Runs away*

  5. Aww…shucks! Sorry this series is a bit mediocre for you Jeann! 😐 I hate when a book tries to be too many different things at once and ends up becoming a big jumbled mess, you know? I think I'd still keep this on my TBR list, just probably not at the top. 😉 Thanks for sharing Jeann, and fabulous reviews! <3
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  6. I enjoy it when an author blends multiple genres together because variety IS the spice of life after all, however it's important that they come together seamlessly otherwise it can be a little much. I'm sorry that this series went from bad to worse for you, but it's a good sign that you still plan on pushing through to the end. There's obviously some potential.
    My recent post Review: Stalking the Others by Jess Haines

    • I think we're seeing more genre blenders now seeing as a lot of the straight dystopians have been done before. Yeah, I still want to figure out what happens!

  7. I'm sorry you weren't so enthused with this series, Jeann. It does sound a little bland. I hope the final book makes up for all the meh. Lol.

  8. loonytuney

    We had pretty much the exact same feelings for these two 🙂 Although I liked the second one slightly more than the first, not less. But…yeah, it got a bit boring at points and Pandora wasn't the greatest character.

    Mind you I still want to know how it ends!
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    • Yeah, it was kind of meh all along but you know, still enough there to keep it interesting I guess. I'd like to know too actually!