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I Belong

Review: Havoc by Jeff Sampson

Title: Havoc

Author: Jeff Sampson

Genre: YA Paranormal

Series: Deviants (Book 2)

Publication Date: January 24, 2012

Format: Hardcover, 352 Pages

ISBN-10: 006199278X (Harper Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-0061992780 (Harper Teen)

Reviewed by: Emmy


Emily Webb thought life would return to normal after the death of the man who attacked her and her fellow “Deviants.” Or as normal as it could be, after discovering that she has nighttime superpowers . . . and she’s a werewolf. But when Emily awakes one night to find an otherworldy Shadowman watching her, she knows the danger has only just begun.

So Emily and her pack-mates set out to find the people who made them what they are, and why. But as they get closer to the truth, they realize they aren’t the only ones in town with special powers: The most popular girls in school might just have a secret of their own–and they might just have it out for Emily.

With shadowy beings stalking them, a mysterious company doing all it can to keep the truth hidden, and the secrecy of her new identity in jeopardy, life threatens to spiral out of control for Emily. Soon these dangers will come together in one terrifying confrontation that may force her to make the toughest choice of her life . . . so far.

Quick & Dirty: Our narrator’s three personalities really threw me out of the novel, but it’s packed with action scenes, hot guys, and more insight than Vesper managed to give us.

Opening Sentence: I stood in front of the bathroom mirror and studied the bags under my eyes, which were half-hidden behind my crooked glasses.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Havoc is the sequel to Vesper, which ends with quite a bang, and takes up almost immediately after. It helps that Havoc moves at a much faster pace too! The popular girls are alternately snubbing her and bullying her, but Emily doesn’t know why. (Actually, this subplot seemed kinda random, but I’m thinking it’ll come up in book three.) We get a lot of reports from the company BioZenith thrown in, which give some insight into why everything’s happening. The fact is, I can’t tell you much about the over-arching mystery of the plot without ruining Vesper, but this sequel is packed full of new things. Like the shadowmen, who are really creepy. Really.

Our narrator, Emily, is actually three narrators. Her Daytime, normal nerdy Emily, her werewolf superpowers Emily, and the Nighttime Emily that still had her superpowers, but is still human.  It drove me bananas. It wasn’t the three personalities—Sampson does a great job of making sure you know that Emily isn’t crazy, that Deviants are just like this — but the fact they talked to each other. I could not get past it. She has some solid character development in Havoc that wasn’t present in the first novel, especially as she comes to find out more about who and what she is.

There’s also something new going on with Emily’s pack — don’t forget, she’s a werewolf. Of course she has a pack! — that changes the dynamics of the group. I didn’t see this little twist coming, and like with the cheerleaders, I’m hoping more will get cleared up in book three. Her pack also has the whole three-personalities-problem, and it was interesting to see how everyone dealt with it. The romance between Emily and Spencer is a good subplot, but I’ve never really been connected to their romance. I know Spencer’s a good choice for Emily — supportive and hot and doesn’t look at her as a damsel — but I’ve never gotten invested. Maybe it’s because there’s been too much action since their story started, or maybe it’s just because Emily’s three personas made it impossible for me to get into her head.

Sampson’s writing is solid in Havoc, just as it was in Vesper. Fast paced and with a touch of mystery, he does a great job of setting the scene. Especially when it comes to the shadowmen, who are pretty much the nightmare of anyone who’s afraid of the dark. As anyone who read Vesper knows, the Deviants trilogy has a lot of supernatural and science, making it fall inbetween the paranormal and science fiction genres. It’s a refreshing change, but I almost wonder — given everything we comes across in this book — if I’d prefer the series to be straight science fiction.

Notable Scene:

“Whoa, what’s the deal? That was just the first round.”

“I’d kick him in the nuts and in the ribs and stomp on his neck.” Dalton was muttering now.

My stomach roiled, nauseous, as though the vehicular acrobatics were finally catching up to me. Suddenly, I wasn’t feeling quite so nonchalant. Everything looked gray. Suppressing a gag, I turned back to look at the road in front of us.

A dozen shadowmen were in the middle of the street, standing still in a staggered, random formation. They tilted their heads to the side, watching us barrel towards them.

Deviants Series:

1. Vesper

2. Havoc

3. Ravage

FTC Advisory: Balzer + Bray/Harper Collins provided me with a copy of Havoc. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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