Series: Pandora Jones #1
Published by Allen & Unwin on May 2014
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
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.