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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Book Review: Surrender by Elana Johnson

TITLE: Surrender 
SERIES: Possession, Book #2
AUTHOR: Elana Johnson 
PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse
FORMAT: Paperback, 469 pages
GENRE: Science Fiction/Dystopia, Young Adult
ISBN: 9781442445710
Forbidden love, intoxicating power, and the terror of control…

Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.

All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn. Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque....


I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own.

This series just keeps getting better and better!

Surrender is the second book in the Possession series. Until now, the novella, Regret, was my favourite in the series but that one just got bumped into second place! This latest installment in the series focuses on the city of Freedom, which is actually a misnomer – the residents don’t actually have any Freedom! Rather, Director Van Hightower makes all the choices for them. The two central characters to the story are Raine Hightower and Gunner Jameson.

Raine is Director Van Hightower’s 17 year-old daughter. She is Vi’s flatmate and is ordered to spy on Vi and send reports to Assistant Director Thane Myers. However, Raine is actually working both sides, much the way that Zenn is. In an effort to make her own choices, she joined the Insiders about a year ago. She always wears gloves because of her talent, which is the ability to “touch and see.” She can “drain” someone’s wants out of their mind and project them onto a screen, and she can also see what would be the result of someone getting their heart’s desire.

Raine’s match is Cannon, who is a Seer. When that prophetic part of him takes over, he has no recollection of what he says but he knows that what he says is important. Although they are best friends, Raine and Cannon do not have romantic feelings for each other.

Gunner is Number One on Director Hightower’s list, and he has a rare and powerful voice talent that he can use to coerce people to do what he says. The Association, naturally, wants Gunner to work for them and are eager to monopolize his talent but the Insiders want him on their side. When he joins the Insiders, he learns that his crush for the past year – Raine Hightower – is to be his main contact and trainer on the Inside. His flatmate, Zenn Bower, warns him to get and stay on Thane Myers’ good side.

The Insiders must rescue Jag and help him to escape from Freedom. The only problem is that Freedom is surrounded by towering walls that have an invisible tech-barrier extending above them that forms an arching dome over the city. It will take all four of them – Raine, Gunner, Vi, and Zenn – to complete this mission.

I loved Raine and Gunner! Great chemistry between those two!! Check out this excerpt:

"When his lips met mine, the oxygen in my lungs ignited. I expected dark images to form from the contact, and when they didn't, I relaxed into him even more.

By the time he pulled away, my whole body vibrated.

"I'm sorry, Hightower," he whispered out loud. "That wasn't right. Or fair."

I didn't know how to respond. I wanted to kiss him again, wrong, unfair, whatever. So I did. He let me for a few seconds, long enough to make me want to kiss him forever and short enough to make me miss his mouth when he moved away."

That scene is totally swoon-worthy!

I also loved the tender scenes between Raine and her match, Cannon. Although not in love with each other, they clearly do love each other and it was great to see a genuine platonic friendship.

In Possession, the first book in the series, I found the world-building a little confusing. I am really pleased to see that Johnson has provided a lot more depth to the characters and their inter-relations in Surrender. We learn more about both the Association and the Resistance, as well as Freedom. Johnson even provides some back-story on “The Great Episode,” which is the event that nearly destroyed Earth and how the Thinkers came to be in control. More parts of the puzzle are falling into place, and Johnson has really built up the intrigue and suspense for the next book in the series.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book which is my new favourite in the series! I am anticipating that the next book will be even better!!


  1. I agree with you. I loved Possession but loved Surrender even more. Raine and Gunner are such great characters and I loved where Elana took the plot. Thanks for the great review.

    1. Thank you, Natalie! I can't wait to see where Elana goes with the next one!


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